It’s summer break, and Mizuki and her female band mates have decided to go on their traditional trip to a beach resort. To their surprise, Akira, Ran, Rui, and Banbi are also there. Mizuki is beside herself. On one hand, she’s happy to see Akira, on the other, she doesn’t want to upset her friends and ruin their trip together. The other girls talk some sense into her, and encourage her to enjoy Akira’s presence. The trip kicks off with quite a bit of fun as both groups of friends join together for a barbecue and games, and Akira manages to get Mizuki to be honest with her feelings for him. The next day brings some goofy fun, as Ran tricks Akira into wearing a girl’s bikini, Mizuki’s bikini causes certain reactions in Akira, and Akira invites Mizuki to a nearby hotel for a special night together. Unfortunately for Akira, that night brings heavy rains, and while out searching for her missing necklace, both Mizuki and Ran get trapped on the other side of some dangerous flood waters. Ran jumps at the opportunity to seduce Mizuki and make her his by taking her to the nearby hotel and asking for a single room. Believing that Ran would never betray his best friend, Mizuki is pretty fearless in his presence, leaving Ran rather baffled. He’s also taught a surprising lesson in friendship…though it doesn’t stop him from getting at least a tiny bit of what he wants. Akira, meanwhile, has been frantic with worry, but finds himself even more head over heels when he learns the reason Mizuki headed out into the storm (the necklace was the one he gave her for Christmas). With summer vacation over, the story shifts gears. The band in back in action, but Akira starts shifting his thoughts toward the future. He’s approached by a talent agency (or maybe it’s a modeling agency, I’m not sure), and he strikes a deal with them to help make Blaue Rosen a hit. At the same time, Kaoru returns from America for a visit, which may throw a wrench in Akira’s plans.
Ug, another volume of this? It’s no secret that I don’t like this series. I’ve reviewed all but one volume so far, so I’m not going to repeat all the things about this series that rub me the wrong way. Basically everything does, but you can go back to my other reviews for the specifics. So let’s try and focus on the positive, and forget what a sleaze Akira is, and what a complete dirtbag Ran is, and how obsessed with proving commitment through sex these high school kids are. There are some strong themes of friendship in this volume. A very awkward Mizuki tries not to trample on her friends’ feelings when Akira intrudes on their vacation time together. They see Akira as fully one of them through his membership in the band, though that leaves the question of how they would feel if he were an outsider. Maybe they would resent the relationship then? There’s also the friendship between the boys, which has always been strange given Ran and Rui’s sexual fantasies. And now Ran wants his friend’s girl. Well, that’s not new, actually; that’s come up a couple times now, and this is not the first time he’s tried to sway her. It doesn’t look like it will be the last time, either. Mizuki’s faith in him is probably misplaced, although I don’t have faith in any of these characters myself. If you thought things were getting a bit too complacent within the story, Shinjo injects some new conflict near the end with Kaoru’s return, though it isn’t clear how long she’ll be around to make a difference. Basically, will she be around long enough to take back her place as Blaue Rosen’s lead singer, or otherwise disrupt Akira’s hold on the position. Especially now that Akira’s made a move to change the band’s future without consulting any of the band members; that always ends well. It’s really just more of the same in this volume (awkward Mizuki, Akira dressing like a girl, Ran and Rui being pervs), so if you’ve been enjoying it, you’ll continue to.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.