From the back cover:
Risa’s life should be perfect. After all, she’s finally dating the guy she loves. But Ôtani’s never actually said that he loves her, and they don’t even act like boyfriend and girlfriend. Wasn’t dating supposed to fix all that? To make matters worse, graduation is looming and Risa’s not sure she likes the way her future with Ôtani looks. Could this be the end of her love and their friendship?
Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve read this series. I kind of forgot how good it is.
Risa and Ôtani are getting a little more comfortable together as a couple, but Risa still isn’t sure how Ôtani feels about her, since he keeps saying mean things to her. The tendency of both characters to speak insultingly to each other is the one thing I really don’t like about this series, so I was happy to see it actually addressed in the plot, even though it doesn’t seem like it really gets any better afterwards. Essentially, Risa just realizes that Ôtani doesn’t mean what he says and that he actually does love her.
Random observation: Risa’s friend Chiharu is the Tina Hakim Baba of the series. When Risa complains about Ôtani calling her stupid, Chiharu attests, “I think that’s just his way of saying he loves you!” Totally Tina. If you don’t catch that reference, you’re probably lucky.
Moving on, there’s a brief chapter on the school festival then it seems like we kind of branch into a new arc. Everyone except for Risa knows what they want to do after graduation. Even Ôtani has begun to study to try to get admitted into college. Risa initially tries to dissuade him, since his grades are so bad, but it turns out that when he buckles down, he can actually do pretty well. This just makes Risa feel more alone and abandoned than ever, though.
Even though I’ve seen variations on this plot before, I still think it’s interesting and well-handled and look forward to where it’s headed. I’m especially pleased that the characters are graduating now, when the series is only half over, since it seems we might be following them at least a little while into young adulthood. Risa also ends up taking a part-time job in this volume, bringing with it an injection of new characters, too.
One final random observation: Has Risa always begun 80% (approx.) of her sentences with “Well,”? I was seeing it all over the place in this volume and it was really distracting.