My Love Story!! Volume 12 by Kazune Karahawa and Aruko
I enjoy the volumes of My Love Story!! that focus on the central relationship between Takeo and Yamato, but manga chapters that focus more on Suna are a little bit more rare in this series, so I look on them as a pleasant refresher. Here, a new transfer student named Tanaka has fixated on Suna as a new friend, and while Suna goes along with it to some degree as soon as Tanaka starts badmouthing Takeo, the friendship is over as far as Suna is concerned.
While Takeo is initially very worried about Tanaka using Suna’s photogenic qualities for more Instagram likes, he begins to realize that the transfer student is genuinely lonely and trying to keep up the appearances of having friends. Suna is fiercely protective of Takeo, when Tanaka starts talking about how odd the giant highschooler is, Tanaka is dead to Suna. It takes Takeo’s unusual emotional intelligence to bring everyone together, as he pronounces that dudes just need to hang out and get snacks together to repair friendships. This is true, although hanging out then tends to involve massive feats of strength and physical exertion. Takeo’s simplistic but genuine approach ends up smoothing over the situation with Tanaka, and things seem to be evened out for a little bit.
Since this series is nearing the end, there’s a late breaking complication for Takeo and Yamato’s relationship that I’m sure will be resolved wonderfully in the last volume. It says a lot about the quality of My Love Story!! that I’m genuinely looking forward to some very conventional shoujo plot twists, because everything is just so well-executed and heartwarming.