I wish I had a pile of these volumes to read all in a row. It's too easy to forget details. I may have to break down and start buying this series. Goodness knows where I'll keep the volumes.
If I remember right, the previous volume ended with what looked like a tragic memory loss on Phos's part - Phos gained new arms but appeared to have forgotten who Cinnabar was. This volume begins by telling readers this was a fake-out. Phos merely had a momentary memory glitch.
But that doesn't mean Phos is the same. Whereas Phos was previously childish, weak, and too fearful to engage the Lunarians in battle, they're now strangely competent and useful, to the point that Bort offers to pair up with them. It's an awkward offer. On the one hand, Phos could use Bort's strength and experience, especially since Kongo-sensei has just fallen asleep for who knows how long. On the other hand, Phos knows that there's a rift between Bort and Dia and that accepting Bort's offer may widen it.
Not a whole lot happens in this volume, but there are still some interesting developments. There's Phos's new abilities (highly reshapeable arms, an increased ability to note details during battle with the Lunarians), as well as what appears to be occasional hallucinations (?) on Phos's part. Phos keeps seeing Antarcticite, although all but a small portion Antarc has been captured by the Lunarians. I enjoyed seeing a little more of Bort and Dia and hope that they get to talk things over more (on-page!) soon. And the
This volume also adds another piece to the mystery that's been brewing for a few volumes now: what's Kongo-sensei's connection to the Lunarians? Phos has a plan for finding out more, and I'm worried about how it's going to turn out, since Phos's "plans" tend to boil down to "I'll do this thing and hope everything turns out okay." It's not like Phos has many more pieces of themselves left to lose.
All in all, I continue to be intrigued by this series and plan on reading more. This volume was a bit weak, more setup for whatever Ichikawa has planned than anything, but I'm willing to stick around and see what happens. (Here's hoping Ichikawa really does have a plan...) I do wish that the artwork were clearer during the action scenes. I had no idea, at times, what was going on during the big fight with the new Lunarian. I've now watched enough of the anime to be able to say that, yes, it's much better in that regard. And it seems like there were a few scenes even the poor animators couldn't figure out - if I remember right they didn't even try to animate whatever happened just before the Amethyst twins were attacked (events from the previous volume).
A page of translation notes and two pages of four-panel comics. I particularly liked Alexi's efforts to explain how to predict what their reaction to viewing a Lunarian will be.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
(This panel reads from right to left.)
This is from volume 2 of Wotakoi, which I have yet to read, although I just finished the anime. Kou/Ko is the character I'm most like. I have a little more confidence than she does, thank goodness, but the second-guessing that goes into many of the "casual" in-person interactions I have with other people is exhausting.
My near-future manga reading plans include a volume of Land of the Lustrous which is due TODAY (oops), and then the two volumes of Wotakoi I own, because the anime was incredibly good and now the volumes are screaming at me to read them.
(I'm pretty sure there's a typo in the black box section of this panel. Either that, or the phrasing is awkward. Here's hoping this doesn't happen often in the volumes, or it'll drive me crazy.)
Onise's words at the end of the previous volume cause Nao to wonder whether her feelings for Sou really are romantic. As she puzzles through the concept of romantic feelings and how to recognize them, Onise suddenly brings things to a head. He
kisses her while she's dozing and she wakes up and catches him at it. He's utterly horrified with himself and sure that this will be the end of their friendship, while she experiences an epiphany after the kiss: the one she has romantic feelings for is Onise. She wants to tell him, but how?
The volume ends with the introduction of a new character, Ayaha Futami, a classmate of Onise's who takes an interest in him.
I still think the entire "Nao has a crush on her uncle, who has been raising her since she was six" thing was weird and off-putting. And while I appreciated the way she started questioning how to recognize whether her feelings are romantic or not, I thought she figured things out awfully fast considering she'd spent years interpreting her love for her own uncle as romantic love.
I also didn't like the way Nao's epiphany happened.
What Onise did could be considered sexual assault. He kissed her while she was sleeping. From his perspective, Nao thought of him as a friend - no romantic feelings whatsoever. He knew he didn't have her consent for what he'd done, and it was part of why he was so utterly horrified when she woke up, caught him at it, and made him realize the line he'd crossed. I don't consider Onise to be a bad guy, but I wouldn't have blamed Nao if she'd been uncomfortable around him from that point on and kept him at arm's length.
If this had all happened in real life, that's probably what would have happened. However, this is a romance manga, so instead the kiss helped Nao figure out her true feelings. Again, I wish Meguro had figured out some other way to give Nao her epiphany.
Meguro included some moments showcasing Nao and Onise's budding friendships with Yashiro and Misaki, although they always referenced Nao and Onise's romance. The moments were cute, but I found myself thinking about the friendship storyline early on in Kimi ni Todoke that explicitly focused on Sawako, Chizuru, and Ayane, with no reference to Sawako's budding romance with Kazehaya. Yashiro supported Nao while she wondered what to do about Onise, and Misaki supported Onise as he decided to pursue Nao more actively. I thought the relationship between Onise and Misaki was slightly better done. It felt like they had a firmer foundation, in large part because Volume 1 had already done some of the work of breaking down Misaki's defenses on-page. Yashiro was a bit friendlier in this volume, but it came more out of the blue than Misaki's transformation.
Once Nao and Onise officially became a couple, I tended to like Meguro's efforts at "sweet" moments more. Onise turns out to be the sort of guy who moves both fast and slow, originally asking Na out "with marriage in mind," but worrying that by holding hands they're moving too fast. And Sou doing the "dad" thing, telling Onise that he'd better appreciate the cookies Nao put so much time into, was nice. I kind of hope Sou gets a romantic storyline at some point (with an adult! You have no idea how much I hate that I have to specify these things).
I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. I hope Futami is the good guy he appears to be and that Onise figures out a way to hang out with this new friend of his without making Nao feel like she's constantly being left out. But I worry that Meguro actually plans to make Futami a secret villain. I suppose I'll find out.
I'm still iffy about this series. Although the art style is cute and there are lots of cute moments, there are lots of aspects that I'm not wild about. I'm hoping the next volume is better.
Author sidebars and a few extra AU (alternate universe) comics in which Meguro depicts Sou as a teacher and all of the series' other characters as small children.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)