Story and Art: Yui Hara
Translation: Amanda Haley
What They Say
The girls are back, and they’re as lively as ever! Alice and Shino are fighting over pudding, Aya has a secret diary filled with poems, and Kern’s challenged Youko to a duel! But with college entrance exams just around the corner… shouldn’t they be studying?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I continually forget about how weird Kiniro Mosaic can get, probably because it’s rarely allowed itself to become more than a “cute girls doing cute things” type of series. Whenever author Yui Hara allows the cast of girls to do anything outside of the kawaii and endearingly mundane, it’s fantastic but never lasts for more than a single gag or two. This time around, it’s becoming clear that Hara is becoming more comfortable with slipping into the goofier more nonsensical humor and it works to the benefit of the series.
The first half of volume 8 is an oddball mishmash of hit-or-miss jokes that are par for the course: Shino obsessing over blonde hair, Youko’s tomboyish behavior flustering the more straight-laced Aya, and of course Alice and Karen experiencing their slightly different flavors of being a foreigner in Japan. The humor itself isn’t bad, but it isn’t anything we haven’t seen in previous volumes already.
Where the volume really kicks in is in its second half. While the series never goes full Nichijou levels of nonsensical, there is a very noticeable laissez-faire attitude in some chapters. Kuzehashi and Kurasuma-sensei brings the girls along for some self-care in the form of a trip to a cat café (cosplay and all), Aya and Karen get locked in the school supply closet, the girls out new character Kana as a weeb… there’s a certain flavor of pep that re-energizes the series in a way that it hasn’t been before. Characters feel less like they’re being constrained because of their archetypes and more like they’re benefitting from those preexisting traits.
Small decisions like deciding to break up the main five into more manageable groups of two or three further breathe life back into the series and make for some fun combinations that we haven’t fully experienced. You never feel like the cast is acting out of character, because you’re legitimately invested in how strange setups resolve themselves. Even the more bland characters like Youko’s siblings benefit in this volume, as they’re treated less like practical jokers and more like actual siblings that interact with their sister rather than cardboard cutouts with jokebook punchlines written on them.
Perhaps it’s in defiance of the cast slowly approaching college age, or maybe it’s simply Hara herself getting tired of recycling the same gags under a different pretense. Whatever the case, this is the freshest the series has ever felt like and I look forward to the girls’ inevitable graduation just to see how that further shakes up the series.
Kiniro Mosaic volume 8 isn’t afraid to let loose and just have a good time. Yui Hara’s writing style has developed with time, and she’s clearly become comfortable enough with her cast to figure out what works, what doesn’t work, and the combinations of characters that maximize the most comedy per chapter.
Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: January 29, 2019