Only the Ring Finger Knows (novel) Vol. #03 -

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Mania Grade: C

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  • Art Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 8.95
  • Pages: 290
  • ISBN: 1569708843
  • Size: Shisho
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Only the Ring Finger Knows (novel) Vol. #03

By Julie Rosato     March 23, 2007
Release Date: October 25, 2006

Only the Ring Finger Knows (novel) Vol.#03
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Writer: Satoru Kannagi / Artist: Hotaru Odagiri
Translated by:Duane Johnson
Adapted by:

What They Say
After all the studying he did for his exams, sacrificing time with his boyfriend Yuichi, Wataru gets a measly C average on his summer prep test. Yuichi's college classmate Asaka offers to tutor him, and he eagerly accepts. Wataru finds Asaka's cool beauty and attitude strikingly similar to that of Yuichi's, and subconsciously becomes vulnerable to his advances. For the first time in their relationship, Yuichi becomes enraged. "Get him off your mind!" Will they be able to overcome this new obstacle?!

The Review
I think I miss the manga.

The packaging for this book is pretty much the same as the previous volume, however, at nearly 300 pages, the rigid coverstock and stiff binding become an endurance test for the hands before too long. DMP uses the original cover art featuring Wataru and Yuichi, this time in white and green hues, and inside a double-sided color plate and several black and white illustrations are included. A long afterword from the author follows the story.

There seems to have been a discussion on how to use a spell-checker since the last book, but all earlier complaints still stand to some degree. Typos, while fewer, are still present, point of view and scene changes often occur with no warning or distinction, and the adaptation is still full of incomprehensible sentences that require active thought to decipher. If DMP is considering more of these kinds of novels, they really need to put an effort into making them more readable. And I don't want to repeat myself, but really, thoughts in Italics, please?

Contents:(please note the following may contain spoilers)
Now an exam student, Wataru's got precious little time to spend with Yuichi. He makes do though, visiting on the weekends or at Yuichi's new job at a local cafe. They seem pretty secure for spending so much time apart, but that doesn't stop them from finding stuff to worry about. Asaka's still hanging around, scheming or suffering depending on whom you talk to. And because he's not enough, Shohei's back stirring things up by the end, too. Yuichi and Wataru aren't about to let either of them call the shots though.

Despite uneasiness on Yuichi's part, Asaka's got some usefulness as a tutor to Wataru, having once applied to the same university that he's set his sights on. For Wataru's part, he's drawn to Asaka for all that he reminds him of Yuichi and earnestly wants to be friends. Unfortunately, though Wataru would never love anyone else, he soon finds himself the object of Asaka's desire. A sentimental hug and a stolen kiss have Wataru in a tizzy of guilt, but at least it finally makes him examine his own naivete, forcing him to grow up a little. Yuichi, too.

As if all too apparent that the conflict with Asaka wasn't plausible enough, the focus shifts to something more realistic " Yuichi and Wataru being found out at school. Wataru's class decides to hold an auction for their school festival, and naturally the personal affects of popular students (and grads) are highly coveted. The jealousy route doesn't really pan out (part of a master scheme by Shohei), so uncovering Yuichi's "secret relationship" becomes the hot ticket when he refuses to give up his ring as a prize.

Yuichi and Wataru actually handle these problems forthrightly this time around, forgoing the usual pattern of pettiness and jealousy, which is something their relationship sorely needed. While they will eventually have to face a reality outside the safe bounds of "youthful indiscretion," Yuichi makes clear to all that he doesn't intend to give up his relationship. Quite a man he's become, no? So, what's left? Wataru's grades (and morale) have improved as he continues on the road to his college entrance exams, and Yuichi's decided to embrace his interest in architecture. Joining the college circle, he's prepared to face off against the Asaka, the world, and his brother. Probably in that order, too.

Readers who've enjoyed the previous two installments will find more of the same to like here, but I won't lie, this book put me to sleep - twice - before even finishing the first chapter. On one hand, it is extremely fulfilling to witness how Yuichi and Wataru have become much more secure in their feelings, but on the other, it makes machinations like Asaka's pursuit of Wataru all the more pointless and boring. I think Kannagi even knows this because the conflict is half-hearted at best. And worse are the terrific moments of independence, honesty and maturity that are all but lost in excess exposition and the attempt to contain this growing, maturing relationship in such a childish setting (exam-student woes, amorous tutors, bullying at school, etc).

I think the only hope this series has for redemption is to transcend the setting (if not leave the world of school behind altogether) and embrace the sort of evolution Yuichi and Wataru have proven themselves capable of. According to the afterword, future focus will shift a bit away from student life, thankfully, but I hope Kannagi realizes that as these two become more adult, their problems are going to have to mature as well.


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