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Kawai Toko: Just Around the Corner

Have you ever known a love that drowned with both hands folded?

{Kawai Toko} Just Around the Corner [4.5]That introductory line paints a perfect picture of this story. When you think of drowning, struggling automatically comes to mind. But if someone is sinking with both hands folded, then you have to believe that they’ve either resigned themselves to their fate or they are going willingly.

Kawai can’t be anything but awesome. I am rarely impressed by or even interested in a student & teacher pairings, but this is an exceptional example of how it can work. And just like a drowning person, I struggled, but when I realized that I was descending into a real love story, I ceased my protests and let myself go under.

I loved the relational dynamics written into this story. I can actually say this of all her work. I’m so glad she avoided making Yuuya into a pushy brat. I’ll never understand why that type of character is endearing. He’s a teenager and he acts like one, but I think his outlook may be more developed than his friends’ due to the manner of discipline and level of responsibility required for studying music. Also, he’s caring and sensitive; I can see Kiriya-san, having been through a few heartbreaks, being attracted to that kind of presence.

Every story has a third wheel; be they humans or hang ups. Just Around the Corner’s extra is Hayama-san, another teacher at Yuuya’s high school. He seems to represent an obstacle for Yuuya, but Kawai-sensei allows him to be a chaperon instead of a hindrance. It’s refreshing.

If you’re like me and have trouble taking the student & teacher pairings seriously or you just want a change of scenery from the usual overbearing student and spineless teacher, your answer is Just Around the Corner. And if you find that you like it, I suggest giving Gotoh Shinobu & Takaku Shoko’s Passion and Takaido Akemi’s Prince Charming a try.

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