One of my favorite manga’s returns this week and I have to admit I was still a bit nervous going into this volume. On the last volume I noted that the tone and translation of the series had better fit the first volume compared to the second volume. As much as I enjoy this series, the translation for the second volume was pretty bad. It begged the question, which volume will number four take after. Thankfully, it’s very similar to the third volume which made for a great read. There’s a great overlap in this issue from the cliffhanger in the last. Kirino and gang have bumped in to her friend Ayase. The catch of course is that Ayase doesn’t know about Kirino’s Otaku lifestyle or about her friends. She shoots Kyousuke a look to help her out of the situation, but he fails at saving her. The results of the scene are that her new friends pretend not to know her and are subsequently mad at her, and her relationship with Ayase is damaged due to her lies and hobby.
The rest of the issue is spent with Kyousuke trying to help repair Kirino and Ayase’s relationship. While it’s interesting and fun to read, there isn’t much else to say about it. It’s more interesting to discover what Kyousuke comes up with to get them back together than anything else.
The story is fine and while you’re reading it, it doesn’t drag or feel daunting to read. The thing is I doubt I would re-read the volume again. It doesn’t have any cutesy moments or over the top comedy that would be worth experiencing a second time. It basically spends most of the story revealing and clarifying some people’s stance on Otakus. It’s interesting in that regard, but not so much that I would want to read Ayase’s lopsided view-point again. Her character is at least interesting as she won’t except Kirino’s hobby and has a better reason than just, “it’s weird” or “I don’t get it.”
The translation as I said in the beginning is more in line with the third/first volume of the series. There is swearing, but it doesn’t hit you over the head with it like the second volume. We’re three for four so unless the next volume changes it up again I doubt I’ll need to mention this again. I felt it was worth pointing out since there really was some doubt in my mind about how it would turn out this time around.
The art continues to be fantastic. I really love the style of this series and the over the top cute nature of the female characters. The range of emotions for the characters in this volume is wide. There is something just wonderful about the art style. Sure most manga are structure the same way and I could even compare the structure of this series to that of Blood+C which is a completely different genre. The thing is that the style and format have been locked down to the point of perfection and you really can’t argue with that.
I dug this volume and I hope that Dark Horse locks down the rights for future volumes and that they continue to roll them out whenever they’re ready. Obviously the burden of the project is on the Japanese creators, but I think with the popularity of this series the future looks pretty bright. Since I don’t have another volume to read I guess I’ll just have to go watch the second series of the anime.
Story: Tsukasa Fushimi Artist: Sakura Ikeda Translation: Michael Gombos Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $10.99