A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow Vol. 4

Konatsu’s moving past being “the new kid” even as Koyuki struggles to connect with others.

The school’s culture festival is finally upon the cast, and Konatsu is ready to show off all her hard work for an audience with the amberjack show – but, unfortunately, Koyuki’s come down with a cold. Her attempt to sneak out anyway is foiled, but luckily her father streams the show so she can watch it on her phone from home. The show goes off perfectly, although Konatsu wonders if its okay that she’s enjoying herself with classmates while Koyuki’s stuck by herself. The visit she pays to the other girl post-festival serves to send poor Koyuki into a tizzy, one which still hasn’t managed to quite lift as the second year students are off to Tokyo on their class trip. Now it’s time for Koyuki to be the one feeling a bit guilty, although she doesn’t seem to be having all that much fun around classmates who pretty clearly don’t get her.

I’d already suspected as much, but this volume confirms that the shyness and lack of confidence we’ve seen out of Konatsu to date has been more to do with her being the new kid in town than it being that Konatsu’s a wallflower. As much as she worries over having fun when Koyuki’s sick, she’s connecting with peers in a way which the latter clearly can’t pull off, and she seems better able to handle herself in social situations. Even the moments where Koyuki would like to in this volume, she can’t quite bring herself to speak up.

Having commented on Koyuki’s struggles socially, I do wonder if something specifically happened that’s led her to be like this. The school has an open house late in the volume during which she shouts in joy when she and Konatsu are able to get a shark to perform a trick, and she’s so immediately overwhelmed with mortification that she rushes from the room. It’s something that speaks to there being something bigger going on than simply pressure to be the model student, and given what we’ve seen of her home life, it doesn’t seem like there’s something actively occurring in her family that’s causing it. I’ve thought in prior volumes that her father (a teacher at the school) comes across as a bit helicopter-ish, but now I think that might itself be indicative that he’s concerned for his daughter’s happiness and well-being because something did happen previously to her. Then again, there’s really been nothing to indicate that Koyuki is harboring some memories of a bad past experience, so I might be completely wrong.

As has been case with prior volumes, this is a very well-handled series. The deftness of the translation feels especially vital given how fraught even the briefest interactions can end up being.

Volume 5 is out in a few weeks, so anyone wondering what happens next won’t have long to wait. Volume 7, meanwhile, came out last summer in Japan; based on its publication pattern, volume 8’s probably going to come out sometime this winter. I bring this up as it likely means the Viz release will continue its pretty decent clip for a bit longer, which at least for me makes a nice change of pace from most of the series I’m currently reading. The pace frustrates me a bit, but I largely am enjoying this series at this point, and I even will grudgingly admit that, given Koyuki’s issues, it’d be irksome if it was moving more rapidly.

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