Kakeru is a bubbly, none-too-bright high school boy who can’t figure out why his classmates are wary of his quiet and handsome childhood friend Yamato (oh damn, I see what you did there). Yamato, for his part, can’t figure out how to ‘fess up to Kakeru that he wants to kiss him, although he comes quite close to telling him straight-out in the first ten pages of this volume… which makes all that follows feel like wheels being spun out for little reason. After an excruciating group date and some awkward mutual video gaming, maybe Kakeru’s starting to pick up on the fact that Yamato doesn’t want to be included in group antics if the point is to find him a girlfriend.
Here we are, a new song with similar verse to Sasaki and Miyano, although much worse, so much so that I actually feel a little badly for having been as negative as I was about that one. This was just so, so aggressively bland, and it comes across so frustratingly as a case of an author wanting to write a story about two people struggling to get together without having any idea of doing that believably. I described the group date as “excruciating” above, and I’ll emphasize that that is even more true for the reader than it is for the cast – its all the rote beats you’d expect, from karaoke to crane games, and it doesn’t even give us any insight we couldn’t already glean. Kakeru is worried that Yamato’s ticked at him! Of course, we already know that’s not what’s going on.
Not helping matters, neither Kakeru nor Yamato are particularly compelling as characters, adhering relatively closely to the types so loudly communicated by their hair colors. The only wrinkle in the mix, really, is that Yamato’s sister also has a crush on Kakeru (here I reflect that it’s always characters who seem least-worthy who tend to draw lots of attention), although she seems at best conflicted on whether she ever wants to do anything about it or not. (Truthfully, she makes for the best character in the thing because she’s both jealous over seeing her brother with her crush while being unwilling to genuinely meddle or interfere. One gets the sense she’s quite strenuously fighting off her worse instincts.)
By the way, as I had mentioned hair color and character types, I feel bound to note that, despite the cover emphasizing his smallness compared to Yamato, blonde Kakeru does not hail from the cutesy, cutesy school of short blonde BL boys. No, Kakeru hails from the school of stupid, loser blonde boys. I know the former is an intensely popular character type, so would prefer to warn folks.
No, I will not be reading more. If you do opt to, second volume’s out in June.