Writer/Artist: Toshihiko Kobayashi
Translated by: David Ury
Adapted by: David Ury
What They Say
When Mugi's dad is called away to work, he leaves behind his new fiancee, a cute young hottie named Mako-chan. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for Mugi to get to know his new mom. The only thing is, Mako-chan seems a little bit too affectionate - and it's driving Mugi's crush, Yuu-chan, crazy with jealousy!
Ah Mako, Mako, Mako, perhaps my favorite auxiliary character to come along in a long, long time. She’s beautiful, mischievous, full of life, and pretty much a walking fanservice advertisement. With all those things comes a surprisingly well-crafted character. Despite Mako’s constant flirting with Mugi, weighing of her breasts, and overall attempt to make Yuu jealous, Mako is a rather tragic person after her layers are peeled away. A perfect example of this is the day she follows Mugi to school. It doesn’t take long before Mako has the male student body losing at strip rock-paper-scissors. Then she locks the swim coach in his office and proceeds to treat Mugi’s swim class to nosebleeds after she shows them her breaststroke. All of this seems like classic Mako, but the depth of her character comes out when Yuu and Mugi find her alone on the roof. Strangely subdued, Mako shares a story of her high school lover who died before they could marry. Really quite touching, and impressive for a romantic comedy to take that path.
Mako’s jokes and actions might be even funnier than Tsukasa’s antics. Combine that with Mako’s revelations of her past and this is probably the best volume of this series. In addition, I can’t forget to mention how funny it is to see Yuu’s jealousy play out. The story gets even better when the whole gang goes to the beach to work for Kazuki’s aunt. This is the site of both Mugi and Yuu’s initial meeting and later reunion. With that much history, there certainly has to be some important event on the horizon. Will Mugi finally summon the courage to ask Yuu to be his girlfriend? Maybe Yuu will just get tired of the whole situation and ask Mugi out herself.
The last forty or so pages of this volume is another short story the author wrote while working on Pastel. The theme is one seen in plenty of romantic stories, however, I enjoyed the characters and the pace. Essentially the story is about a high school kid that meets a mysterious girl that asks him out on a date. The guy is skeptical of the girls motives at first, but she is so much fun that he can’t help but fall in love with her. Who is she and what reason could she have to refuse to meet him again? Will he ever find her again, or figure out why she ended their date by giving him a lollipop?
I read a fair amount of romantic comedies, of which the vast majority is just okay with good volumes here and there. Pastel has really proven itself as a good series with a large array of characters, some of which have been deftly crafted into believable people. The pacing of this series may be too slow for many readers, but I can honestly say that I really enjoy it.