Amidst the never-ending college problems, there are some wonderful moments, some dull ones, and a one-shot that fills me with rage.
Writer/Artist: Aya Nakahara
Translation: JN Productions
Adaptation: Shaenon Garrity
What They Say
Risa Koizumi is the tallest girl in class, and the last thing she wants is the humiliation of standing next to Atsushi "tani, the shortest guy. Fate and the whole school have other ideas, and the two find themselves cast as the unwilling stars of a bizarre romantic comedy duo.
Risa and "tani's relationship finally seems to be going right, just in time for college woes to ruin their lives! Risa only has a few months to decide which tech school she wants to attend, but she can't even decide what she wants to study. What kind of degree can you get for playing video games and listening to Umib"zu all day?
The threat of the post-high school future is looming every closer for the group of friends, and Risa is still undecided as to her plans, while Otani is waiting on exam results. A casual suggestion from Nobu that she should consider being a stylist captures Risa’s attention. When on a date with Otani, she runs into Mimi, who is in the middle of a photo shoot. Although Risa’s impromptu participation doesn’t thrill her, she decides that she does like the styling aspect of it all. Otani’s encouragement to pursue whatever she wants to do convinces her to think about the idea some more, and decide if she loves it. However, whether Otani can do whatever he wants to depends entirely on the results of his exams. Risa is panicked about it, and crazy dreams about what might happen to Otani should he fail (in typical Love*Com style, it involves cucumbers, baby kangaroos, an Otani dressed as a kappa) don’t do much to calm her down. On the day that the results are posted, Haruka reports that he saw Otani sitting, dazed, on a bench in front of the train station. Risa has to bail on her job and go searching for her boyfriend when he doesn’t answer his phone, only to discover that he did pass and simply fell asleep on the aforementioned bench from relief and exhaustion.
Not everyone’s tests went so well, though, as Suzuki didn’t get into any college--while Chihiro did. They had expected to go to college together, and Suzuki fears that by not being able to support her at the same college, he has let Chihiro down. An over-muscled rival who did get into the college that the couple was supposed to attend together appears on the scene, requesting that Suzuki hand his girlfriend over. Much to Risa, Otani, and Chihiro’s shock, he doesn’t deny the request--he just says he’ll think about it.
This volume also contains a one-shot by Nakahara, called “I’ll Love You Even if I Become a Star,” which focuses on a the ghost of teenaged girl named Reina, her boyfriend Haruki, and the jealousy she faces when he shows signs of moving on.
So… when they solve my main problem with the recent volumes of Love*Com in the space of the first chapter, I should be over the moon for this volume. Granted, Risa hasn’t turned into the most dedicated or passionate individual when it comes to her job, but there has at least been movement towards it, and that’s enough for me at the moment. The chapter about the results of Otani’s test, though perhaps lacking the character development of the first chapter, still continues on the idea that things are moving forward for the characters. Plus, its opening pages are the “utterly random comedic scene” that I demand from each volume of Love*Com. Unfortunately, that chapter is where the fun stops. The last chapter included focuses on the issue of separation that arises between Chihiro and Suzuki. These two have been the least-interesting pair for me throughout the series, and this chapter doesn’t do anything to change that. Nobu and Nakao already covered this ground, and they did it much more effectively. Add in a one-shot that I really disliked--maybe even hated--taking up the last quarter of the book, and you have a very uneven volume.