Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Waiting For Spring Volume Three: Review

Mitsuki now has to struggle with a newly-minted love triangle between her Towa and her childhood friend Aya-Chan who was revealed to be all man and all about Mitsuki while Towa is his sleepy and disarmingly charming self. While Mitsuki also tries to grow socially and gains a new friend in girl's basketball team member the thuggishly faced Sudo-San. All while Mitsuki tries to figure out what would make Towa happy and Mitsuki finds herself falling harder and harder for the spacey basketball player. Mitsuki feels like a joy to watch if volume two hinted at her attempts to grow this volume shows that the growth is very much one step forward two steps back for our girl. Mitsuki shows some real guts when Aya challenges Towa to a one on one Basketball game for the "rights" to date Mitsuki. Mitsuki intervenes at the last minute agreeing to go on a group date with both of the boys. It's a big step for a girl who so often wants to simply please people often to her own detriment. Yet ultimately Mitsuki's adorably naive even her romantic dream involving Towa at the beginning of the volume is a chaste hug. Only to have that tension broken by Towa walking smack into a door with the pain feeling palpable partially due to the onomatopoeia of the sound effect. Still, this volume is more than affairs of the heart as winsomely crafted as those are some of the best parts of the volume are simply Mitsuki struggling to put her self out there and be involved with Towa and the other boys on the Basketball team. Giving Mitsuki the feel of someone perpetually on the outside looking in socially speaking. Intentionally or unintentionally Anashin-Sensei has written a rather accurate portrayal of a socially anxious person with some introverted tendencies who can end up feeling like their very presence and existence is an inconvenience even to those they love. This is only more impressive because it is told visually when the boys are having a meeting at the Cafe and Mitsuki holds off on in her mind "interfering" hiding in the back of the cafe and even leaving at one point content to sullenly text message her well wishes to Towa. It's painful to see but it feels honest and true to life in a way that can often get lost in the more wish-fulfillment heavy aspects of Shojo Manga. Not to say there are not some internal squeeing moments of romance be it Towa letting Mitsuki lean on him when they're in a crowded train. Or pretty much any moment Aya is alone with Mitsuki Aya having a determination and a frankness that is refreshing partially due to his bluntness but also because while he is interested it never crosses over into possessive or stalker-like behavior. Also, this does not devolve into some kind of "Mary Sue" self-insert fantasy either as Mitsuki gets a good amount of emotional growth throughout the volume and is shown to have different facets to her personality. Making a girl that can be equal parts admirable and relatable but not in the sense of her being an empty husk that the audience can impose their own will on. As relatability can sadly become only a synonym for a self-insert protagonist. Equal parts bitter and sweet with a sweetly chaste heroine who I want to see not only find love but gain more friends as other than the obvious romantic tension parts which have a well-honed understanding of Mitsuki's characterization contrasted with Towa and Aya. It's the friendship scenes be it Mitsuki gaining a new friend in Sudo-San or Mitsuki having a temporary falling out with Reina. These moments had me silently cheering on Mitsuki as she forged new friendships and strengthen the bonds that seemed frayed with Reina. Heartwarming is a cliche but that is what this series is a heartwarming cup of something hot on a cold day. Anashin continues to show a Yuu Watase like knowledge of character psychology as an aside I think Yuu Watase-Sensei has written some of the most nuanced female leads in modern-day Shojo so this is high praise from me but I digress. Waiting for Spring makes the social hardships of High School friendships and burgeoning romance spellbinding cheering each small victory and encouraging and motivating for each small setback Mitsuki is involved in. Big-hearted, kind, and realistic while also modest and grounded. A lovely little idyle of a series.

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