The school sports meet is over, but Saijo wants to keep seeing her “coach,” Takeo. Yamato is no longer worried about seeing Saijo as competition, convinced the other girl only likes Takeo “as a person.” However, after spending the day with Takeo, Yamato, and Suna at a university’s festival, her true feelings become more obvious. At least to the ever-observant Suna, who questions Saijo’s perception of her friendship with Takeo. As usual, Suna quickly gets to the heart of things, forcing Saijo to come to terms with her feelings. She ends up confessing, even knowing the outcome, and Takeo politely turns her down. As a side effect, Takeo realizes that he needs to reassure Yamato he loves her, and only her, so she doesn’t need to worry about him being taken by another girl. The story shifts to Christmas, and it’s time for one of Takeo’s friends to fall in love with one of Yamato’s. Yamato organizes a Christmas party for their friends, and she and Takeo try to help Kurihara and Nanako confess to each other. Love is never easy, though, and sometimes it requires a pep talk from your gigantic friend to get things moving. New Year’s follows Christmas, which means Takeo’s birthday, and Yamato wants it to be unforgettable. Unfortunately, the most memorable part goes completely missed by the oblivious Takeo.
I love it. I love it so much. This series is perfection. It’s cute, sweet, innocent, adorable, perfectly drawn, perfectly written, and hilarious. I laughed for a solid minute when Takeo mistook Yamato’s kiss for a bug. There’s just so much to love in this series. One of the best parts of this particular volume? Although Takeo obviously can’t date Saijo, they don’t let that end their friendship. They still remain friends even though they won’t be dating each other. This says a lot about both Takeo and Saijo. There’s no bullshit “friend zoning” here. They’re mature enough to stay friends, and they’re both content with the outcome. I’m not saying it’s not hard for someone to be friends with someone they like and can’t have; clearly it is, and Saijo cries pretty hard for a couple of pages. But even if her feelings aren’t returned, she likes Takeo as a person, not just as a romantic interest. Then there’s Suna, and I’ve sung his praises before. Usually lurking in the background of panels, with very little dialog throughout the volumes, when he does speak it’s generally profound, or at the very least the sort of honesty a person needs to hear to move forward. He’s unquestionably friends with Takeo because the young man’s heart is almost as big as his massive size, and his (usually unintentional) hilarity makes Suna smile and laugh. He’s extremely observant, and although he doesn’t speak much, artist Aruko makes sure he’s emoting frequently. I will recommend this manga all day long. Please check it out – it’ll make you smile, laugh, and give you the warm fuzzies. Also, shout out to Ysabet MacFarlane for her excellent English adaptation which makes the series an easy, pleasant read.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.