by Kaho Miyasaka; adapted by Kelly Sue DeConnick
published by Viz; $9.99 US
The previous three books in this series came out in the spring and summer, much better seasons for this classically styled teen romance. Then, a light, predictable story is a pleasant diversion, a mental trifle, and the reader may be more forgiving of formula entries in a series. This chapter, in contrast, disappointed me. It feels like marking time, revisiting plotlines to fill a volume.
Karin and Kiriya are assisting on a photo shoot. The weather traps them overnight in a country location, and since the photographer’s both jealous of Kiriya (due to his deceased brother’s talent with a camera) and hitting on Karin, it hasn’t been a pleasant trip.
The two spend most of the book not talking to each other for various reasons. The photographer is blackmailing Karin over the loss of an earring Kiriya gave her in order to get more time with her. Karin’s parents warn Kiriya that they only support the two’s relationship so long as they don’t sleep together. Karin’s once again confused about how far she wants to go physically.
If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll realize that these are the same kinds of conflicts the two have previously faced and at the time, overcome. A lot of this book felt like a retread to me. Revisiting emotionally charged topics may be realistic for a young romance — settling a question doesn’t mean it won’t come up again when circumstances raise the issue — but it’s not always interesting to read about.
I also didn’t believe some of the events in the photographer’s pursuit of Karin. He takes her picture surreptitiously and turns it into a popular public image as promotion for a band. Since the book series started with Karin as a shy geek whom no one but Kiriya looked twice at, I found it a bit of a stretch that she now might become a young model. Once (Kiriya’s discovery of her beauty, informed by his knowledge of her emotional life) could be love, driven by fate; twice seems lazy. His vision of her doesn’t need to be confirmed by an outside source.
On the plus side, Kelly Sue DeConnick is quickly becoming someone whose adaptation work I look for in manga. She’s got a great grasp of language, adding realistic dialogue to even the most mundane, basic situations. Her phrases were a high point of the book for me.
The next volume is due out in February or March; with the new year, I once again hope to enjoy this series, after this entry misfired for me.