This volume sort of turns us in the right direction, but it ultimately comes off as being sort of filler-ish.
It certainly opens on a creepy note – the first two chapters are devoted to Maho’s relationship with her boyfriend, a dentist more than ten years older than her. The book tries to play it off like it’s cute, that Maho fought hard to win his love, and her charm is what made the guy cave, but the entire time, I just wanted to call the police. Maybe it’s cultural differences, but I feel like there is a significant gap in life experience there. Even forgiving that, like… what do they even have to talk about?
The rest of the book focuses on a school trip to Kyoto, and it finally focuses on Yukino and Arima’s relationship again after what feels like an eternity. Unfortunately, there are no significant revelations in this volume compared to previous ones. Not even Arima’s mental issues take the stage here. It’s just a silly, lighthearted romp through an unfamiliar place for the cast.
There isn’t a whole lot to say about this volume, to be honest. Once you get past the creepiness of the opening, it’s pretty middle-of-the-road. It doesn’t hit the same lows as previous volumes, but it also isn’t as inspired as the series’ peaks. I’ll take it for now, but I’m hopeful that this series will get out of this rut.
Kare Kano was written and illustrated by Tsuda Masami. It was serialized in Hakusensha’s LaLa magazine from 1996 to 2005, and it was later collected in 21 bound volumes. The series was licensed for release in North America by Tokyopop, who released all 21 volumes between 2003 and 2007. This release is now out-of-print.