It’s been a while since I scored something near-perfect. It’s always troublesome because I feel obligated to talk about it and for one reason or another, I’m not always able to. I really just want ramble on incoherently about it, but I think I owe it to the story to do more than sit here with tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat, and words in my head that just refuse to reach my tongue.
About the tears. From the middle of the third chapter on, my eyes were teary and I’d find myself wiping at them and my cheeks and sniffling. Up to that point the story was good, but Ichikawa does this thing where she tells the story twice—once in plain dialogue and then again in triggered recall where you sort of connect the dots that you hadn’t notice until this one panel. It’s not like you’re solving a mystery, though, it’s about getting a deeper understanding of the character’s actions, motives, and feelings. And it’s the second telling that kept the tears—sad, happy, and otherwise—flowing.
Honestly, this is so hard right now. I love just about everything this story has to offer. I love Tomoki and Shou. I love Asami. I love how non-generic Asami’s clothes were—how they expressed her style. I love the interactions between Asami and Ryou and the boys and rather than just being side characters drawn to fill out the stage, their presence and contribution was actually significant. I love that Tomoki’s reflection could have gone the way Sumiyoshi’s did in Masao Sangatsu’s Nozomu Beku mo Nai where he concluded that it was some fault with him that needed to be corrected, but it didn’t. I love that Shou’s apology was very specific and wasn’t just some blanket nonsense about trust and insecurity. I love that Tomoki was hurt and kind of desperate, but didn’t hound Shou or try to coerce him. And I love that during their last big confrontation, Shou had this unmistakable conviction about him—like the doubt really did just melt away—and when compared to Tomoki who was not exactly bursting with confidence, but he was very sure about how he felt and what he wanted, Shou just seemed even more so.
I really love this story. And I really love Ichikawa Kei. It was love at first read when I read Slow Starter and since then I have yet to be disappointed. All I ask for is more.