By Hiromu and raemz. Released in Japan as “Chitose-kun wa Ramune Bin no Naka” by Gagaga Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Evie Lund.
This has spoilers for the entire volume, sorry. They’ll be after the cover art.
We have been slowly working our way through the main female characters of this series. The second volume focused on Yuzuki, the third one Asuka, and the fourth one Haru. The cover of the first volume was Yuuko, but that volume was more an introduction to the entire cast, and the “heroine” of the volume was actually Kenta, the otaku “saved” by Chitose. So we haven’t really had a volume about Yuuko till now. The group seems to revolve around her and Chitose, and much of the time when she suggests something everyone automatically agrees to it. As we learn here, that’s been the case pretty much her entire life. She’s a spoiled princess, but unlike a lot of these characters remains kind and likeable. That said, she really wants people to treat her normally, and when someone does (Chitose), she falls for him hard. How’s that work out this book? Let me put it this way: she AND Chitose both think “I wish these happy days could last forever”.
It’s summer vacation, and there’s a lot of fun things Chitose could choose to do. He could go on a “we’ve agreed not to date but are still clearly hung up on each other” date with Asuka. He could play catch with Haru some more, who confessed to him last time if you recall. He could go see the fireworks with everyone, and have Yuzuki steal him away for a moment all to herself. He could meet Yuuko’s mom, who’s one of those “gosh, she’s so young-looking she looks like an older sister” types. Heck, he can even stay at home and have delicious food cooked for him by his not-wife Yua. But the back half of the book is dedicated to the cast going on a study camp, a 3-day outing where students and pick teacher’s brains while studying in a beachfront hotel. Studying does get done, I promise. That said, of course there’s beach time as well. In the midst of all this, Yuuko, who is very aware that she has not had a “plot” with Chitose to herself by now, takes drastic measures.
This book is written like a tragedy, with the wait for the other shoe to drop being excruciating. I kept waiting for Yuuko to tell everyone she’s moving to America or that she’s dying. But no, she’s just in love, very aware that all her other best friends are in love, and it’s killing her inside. The most devastating scene in the book has her asking Yuzuki, Haru and Yua if there are any guys they like, because they’re at a study camp getting ready to sleep, and that’s when you talk about boys. But the others girls, knowing Yuuko is in love with Chitose and “has dibs” because she’s the obvious choice – first girl we meet, got the first cover, etc. – all say they’re not in love with anyone. And that kills it. That makes her decide to knock it all over. So she confesses, knowing Chitose, who is absolutely not ready for this, will reject her. Which he does.
The book ends with Yuuko, surrounded by everyone else in the group, sobbing, and Chitose, also sobbing, surrounded by just Yua, who plays the saxophone to try to cover up his incoherent grief at the loss of his static but wonderful high school days. I bet she gets the next book, she’s the only one left. This is a great series, but the romcom aspect is definitely romdram this time.