The Name of the Flower Volume 2
Chouko’s feeling lonely because Kei has locked himself away, writing. So she joins up with an odd little college reading club in The Name of the Flower volume 2 by Ken Saito.
They’re all astounded by how pretty she is, so they instantly go out drinking, and various club members tend to grab at her to keep her from leaving. The behaviors in this volume, unlike the first, reinforced for me that this story took place in a different country with different expectations. I was vaguely reminded of Genshiken, but the characters aren’t as distinctive.
More strange to me is Chouko’s insecure behavior. She’s figured out she has feelings for her housemate, so she’s turned into Dropsy Girl around him, spilling things nervously and running away to avoid feeling lonely. He’s also running away, going on a hot springs trip with his editor, who remains the most normal character in the book. “Mr. Frowny Face” (as the book’s editor calls Kei), by contrast, is ever more remote (and thus oddly attractive, under the idea of wanting what you can’t have).
For a story of young love and discovering one’s heart, this book should be more emotional, but instead, it’s oddly quiet and remote. That’s also what I like about its characters, they they don’t react the way you expect them to. They don’t wear their emotions on their sleeves, but deep inside.