I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
The series continues to have a bit of an episodic feel, as each chapter has its own “story.” In this volume: Yoshida feels stressed and preoccupied because a cute girl has asked him out; Yoshida gets upset when he learns that Sato isn't a virgin (I had thought he and Sato had had sex already, but apparently not); a heat wave makes everyone feel gross and cranky; Nishida, an openly gay student, confesses his love to Yoshida; and readers get to see more of Torachin and Yamanaka now that they're a couple.
This series has grown on me, even though I still have some issues with it.
I'm glad that Sato seems to have mellowed out some. He's still a secret jerk, but he doesn't mess with Yoshida quite as often as he did in previous volumes, and there were some nice panels of Sato and Yoshida just hanging out and enjoying each other's company. I still wonder if Tanaka ever plans on digging a little deeper, bringing Sato's emotional issues out into the open, and really dealing with them.
One thing I did not like, however, was how Sato acted during the heat wave chapter. He was absolutely awful to Akimoto, Yoshida's overweight friend. He absolutely destroyed the guy in only two sentences. He claimed it was because Akimoto got between him and Yoshida, but I imagine that his own usually hidden feelings of self-hatred and fat phobia played a large part as well. He's gone from being the guy who was bullied when he was fat to the guy who spews hateful words at Akimoto when the heat causes his “nice guy” mask to slip.
I cheered when Yoshida immediately jumped to Akimoto's defense and demanded that Sato apologize. However, Yoshida seemed to forget how awful Sato had been to one of his best friends the instant he realized that Sato was probably just as stressed out by the heat as everyone else. Okay, yes, the heat was making everyone cranky, but only Sato reacted so viciously. I wish Yoshida had continued to be angry at Sato, or given him the cold shoulder.
I enjoyed most of the rest of the volume, though. Nishida, in particular, was a fun new character. He was ridiculously and hilariously kind, at one point simultaneously helping an old lady carry heavy things, catching a thief, saving a little kid's balloon, and saving a drowning puppy. Although Yoshida didn't seriously considering dumping Sato for him, Nishida's wonderfulness did highlight how much more awful of a person Sato tended to be. I'm still waiting for a satisfactory answer (beyond “Sato won't leave him alone”) for why Yoshida continues to go out with Sato.
I was thrilled to see more of Torachin and Yamanaka, although the end result wasn't quite as good as I had hoped. Torachin was perfect – the tough guy who's a secret softie. The problem was Yamanaka. Falling in love with Torachin did not cure of him of being a good-looking sleazeball. He and Torachin haven't had sex yet, and he wanted their first time to be good...so he asked Yoshida “Is it okay if I screw you once?” (142) Thankfully, Yoshida gave that proposal the response it deserved.
It sort of helps that both Yoshida and Torachin are aware that the guys they're going out with kind of suck...and yet it doesn't. I want better for both of them.
Oh, one thing I should mention: throughout the series so far, almost all the female characters have been boring rabid boy-chasers. Tsuyako, who made a brief appearance in the first volume and who was basically a female Sato, was one of the few exceptions. Happily, this volume provided readers with another. Inoue was one of the few girls who wasn't afraid of Torachin. She acted as a middleman, asking Torachin for help on behalf of a female classmate, but she also made it clear that he was basically being used and that she wouldn't blame him if he decided to refuse. I liked her attitude and her pragmatism, and I hope she becomes a recurring character.
This time around, the entire volume is devoted to His Favorite. There's a 4-page one-shot in which Nishida and Sato publicly fight over Yoshida (their classmates think they're practicing some kind of comedy skit). There's also a short postscript and one full-color illustration.
(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)