Arisa Volume 3
The four chapters here move the underlying investigation along while providing character insight. Tsubasa (pretending to be twin sister Arisa) and Akira are attempting to find out who the King is. This mysterious friend promises to grant the wishes of five specially selected classmates. A game that was intended to make them happy — to remove the worries of the students — has turned poisonous, as the kids viciously turn on each other to be one of the few deemed “special”.
As the class attends a planetarium (making for crazy settings and backgrounds), we learn more about Arisa’s best friend Mariko and her fears of becoming invisible. She’s jealous of Arisa for having a boyfriend to spend time with. Her drive to be noticed has festered, making her crazed with power when she’s selected to have a wish granted.
We also learn more about Midori, Arisa’s boyfriend, another one selected. He doesn’t want to play along, though, which aggravates the others. I’m left surprised at how quickly Natsumi Ando is burning through her cast. There aren’t very many options left for the King, although we do meet a new transfer student, a tall half-Japanese with a suicide wish. I suspect there will be some other new characters in the next book, just to find out who else could be a suspect.
I also missed Takeru’s presence. His role as Tsubasa’s old friend, the one who knows her real personality and comments amusingly on events, seems to have been taken over by Akira, Arisa’s rescue project, but Akira is much grumpier than Takeru was. Maybe his absence is explained by how relatively little we see of Arisa in this installment. She’s listening to other people share their feelings and make decisions instead of doing much on her own. That’s another thing I’d like to see pumped up in the next book, due in September.