By Hitoma Iruma and raemz. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Molly Lee.
Finally, after two volumes with illustrations ranging from minimal to none, we have a new artist. I had speculated last time that Non, the old artist, had left the title as they were ill, but I’ve since found out that it’s more “they are shifting their career goals”, i.e. they’re only drawing BL now. Which is fine. Replacing them is raemz, who is best known over here for the gorgeous illustrations for Chitose Is in the Ramune Bottle. So things are back to normal with this series… for the most part. This volume, following up on the 8th book, spends far more time in the future with Adachi and Shimamura moving in with each other after graduating and getting jobs. Iruma has never really been all that fond of linear storytelling, so I’m not too surprised, but it does also remind you that the series is winding down. Indeed, the author states in the afterword that the 8th book was the “final” one, and the four to follow are afterwords. And Dengeki confirmed 12 will be the last.
As noted, the book is divided into ‘present’ and ‘future’ sections, with the former narrated by Shimamura and the latter mostly by Adachi. In the present, now that Adachi and Shimamura are dating, and given that the author is not really going to do anything with Hino and Nagafuji here after they got a major spotlight last time, there’s really only one plot thread to wrap up. Or rather, to cut. Tarumi is still around, still has a major unstated crush on Shimamura, and still wants to hang out with her. And credit to Shimamura, here we see what all this interaction with Adachi and Yashiro has wrought, as she decides to deal with the issue head on telling Tarumi that she’s dating Adachi now. The scene is meant to be heartbreaking, but sadly, most of Shimamura’s narration still puts a layer of gauze over everything, so I think it’s merely bittersweet.
There’s quite a bit of Yashiro in this book, as she spends most of it dressed up in onesies of various kinds of animals. I’ve joked before about how I’m the only fan of the series who likes Yashiro, but I do think that her role in the story is very important. First of all, she deserves just as much credit as Adachi for getting Shimamura out of her passive daze and forcing her to take a good long look at herself. Adachi does this directly by being a vibrating ball of gay, but Yashiro always does it indirectly, so it’s harder to spot. She also gives Adachi and Shimamura a gravitas that they would not otherwise have. The idea from prior books that there are many alternate universes, and that all of them have Adachi finding Shimamura in them, is a nice one that distracts you from the fact that these books can be very, very dull if you let them. Future Shimamura also seems to realize that even after they’ve moved to a different city, Yashiro is gonna show up anyway. She’s the spice.
Adachi and Shimamura 11 just came out in Japan last month, so it will no doubt be a while before we see it here. Till then, enjoy the present, as Shimamura cuts ties with an old friend, and the future, as Adachi and Shimamura move in together and share a bed but are quite asexual about it all.