by Miki Aihara; adaptation by Shaenon Garrity
published by Viz; $8.99 US
The series concludes in this volume with a distinct lack of resolution or satisfaction. The family drama from Book 4 is solved with a little conversation, not a bad message, but the way Mom’s attitudes turn on a dime make her seem a bit… unhinged, at best.
Creepy brief bit of dialogue between Mimori’s parents:
Dad: Leave them alone. They’re only going to talk.
Mom: No! I won’t allow her to see that delinquent!
Dad: Stop it, Mama! We’re adults! We shouldn’t judge kids by their looks!
Oh…s-sorry… I’m not angry or anything…
Mom: Hmph… I’ll overlook it. It’s been a while… since you bothered to get mad at me.
Again, the point that communication is better than assumption and silence is a good one, but this is only a few steps away from “He Hit Me And It Felt Like a Kiss“. Not that Mimori learns the lesson about talking. She runs away from her boyfriend twice instead of telling him how she feels just so they can have a last-minute reunion at the airport. He’s the one who finally breaks their silence, in order to promise that he’ll be waiting for her back in Tokyo.
There’s also a clichéd teen pregnancy scare inserted apparently to justify Mimori’s shyness and unwillingness to have sex with the boyfriend she’s unsure of. That the two are constantly misunderstanding each other, or even that she’s just not ready, apparently aren’t good enough reasons. (Mimori’s inability to talk doesn’t apply here, by the way; she’s ready enough to blurt out other people’s secrets when she thinks it’s necessary.)
By the end, best friend Nana has apparently gotten Martha Stewart’s brain transplant. Her love triangle isn’t resolved. The busybody guy who keeps interfering in Mimori’s relationship doesn’t learn anything or change in any way. Overall, it’s darn near incoherent, definitely a letdown from Book 1.
The author explains, at the end, “for me, the characters continue to live their lives as usual in their world. Sorry, but I didn’t want it to end, so I finished the story in an open way. I don’t know what will happen next.” I do — I’ll think twice about picking up another of her works. What’s Japanese for “cop out”?