by Kaho Miyasaka; adaptation by Kelly Sue DeConnick
published by Viz; $9.99 US
The key question of teenage romance rears its head in this installment. Karin and Kiriya have been going out for a while, and they’re about to take a trip together (with some friends). Meanwhile, their goodnight kisses have been getting deeper and longer.
So, it’s time to deal with the issue of sex. Will Karin and Kiriya do it? Does he feel the same way about her that she does about him? Is his jealousy a good sign? Why hasn’t he told her things his friends know about him? Does love mean more pain, as you worry about your loved one?
Aside from those eternal questions, it’s also a question of how sexual Karin wants to be, as her friend is encouraging her to buy a bikini. That same friend, thankfully, also tells her that she doesn’t have to do anything she isn’t comfortable with.
Karin and Kiriya lust after each other, but it’s far from all they experience together. It’s a relatively minor (yet realistic) part of their relationship. The dialogue is true to the characters, bringing back my own memories of that age.
It wouldn’t be manga without the situation being complicated by a mysterious rival and a family death having continuing effect on the new generation. This is overheated teen romance with plenty of dramatic internal monologue. Classic questions are played out with likeable characters.
It’s become a guilty pleasure. Great bathtub reading!