Say I Love You Volume 4
Following on from the previous book, Yamato is modeling, and quite successful at it, which makes Mei worry. She’s jealous, not of another girl, but of his time, that he’s spending less of it with her, since he’s got photo shoots
In volume 4, she makes the mistake of not answering honestly when he asks her opinion about the work. She doesn’t want to control him, so she wants to allow him to make her own decisions, but if she doesn’t tell him the truth, he can’t know what she’s thinking. Unlike other manga, though, this series by Kanae Haruki doesn’t feel like she’s doing it just so the author can play with the plot longer. It feels emotionally honest, as though she doesn’t want to be the bad guy by denying Yamato something she thinks he enjoys.
Of course, that’s more a reflection of her desires. She’s never been popular or praised, so she thinks an activity that brings lots of fan mail would be a good thing. Yamato doesn’t seem to be as involved in it, though. He’s a lot more easy-going, and I suspect he doesn’t want to put up with Megumi’s pouting if he didn’t go along.
Megumi is the aspiring model who dragged him into posing with her. She wants him, and she complicates events by being devious about it, as when she asks him over for dinner just because she “totally messed up and made enough curry for ten.” Yamato, as a nice guy, thinks little of the invitation. He’s not very self-reflective, so it takes friends to point out to him how this might appear.
Over this volume, the confusion plays out, with Mei struggling with feelings she hasn’t had before. I love it when she says, finally talking with Yamato, “I don’t like feeling anxious, either. To be honest, these emotions I’m feeling are such a pain in the neck.” That blunt authenticity is what makes her someone I want to keep reading about.
There’s also a new character introduced, a boy who was previously bullied and wants revenge, which allows author Haruki to contrast his attitude with Mei’s. Haruki also provides an afterword about her own experience with bullying.