by Kaho Miyasaka; adaptation by Kelly Sue DeConnick
published by Viz; $9.99 US
When I reviewed the previous book, I was disappointed in it, finding it repetitive and feeling like it was marking time. This new volume gets past that hump with significant developments in the young couple’s relationship. Spoilers follow.
As this volume opens, Karin and Kiriya have made up after having a fight. They’re out together at night, and neither one of them wants to separate, but they’re constrained by others’ expectations. Since they’re young, they have few choices for appropriate places to go. They only want to be with each other, but they don’t want to make a choice that’s too obvious about their desires, since Karin, at least, may not be ready to follow through on what that means. They’re killing time just to spend more of it in each other’s presence, and they’re searching from distractions for fear of having to discuss the underlying causes behind their fight.
Not a lot happens in every chapter of this book, but its portrayal of the emotions of teenage love is faithful, especially Karin’s internal monologues. The images of the couple’s desperate embraces demonstrate their passion in the way they cling to each other. Then comes the development I mentioned earlier, as the two sleep together for the first time. Instead of making the event traumatic for the girl, the author chooses instead to focus on more realistic questions and concerns stemming from the event: amusing oneself until one’s partner wakes up the morning after, embarassment over what one was wearing (since the event wasn’t planned for), cooking breakfast together.
Everything isn’t sunshine and roses, though. The two lovers don’t exist in a vacuum — Karin has her family and Kiriya a past relationship to negotiate. Karin’s been approached to continue modeling, and a former girlfriend of Kiriya’s is an assistant at the shoot. She’s still bitter over their breakup and taking jabs at Karin as a result. Karin and Kiriya are learning to talk about more of the things that they worry about, sharing more of their concerns to avoid problems and secrets, but they don’t yet tell each other everything. That provides the soap opera that keeps the reader involved.