Volume 1. Arikawa is the guy with good intentions, but is so wrapped up in going forward that he forgets to consider the things around him. Even though he dragged Misaki to the field and it seemed like Misaki was the one he who needed to stop and smell the roses, Arikawa just was going off his own assumptions and desires to control the situation. He’s not a bad guy, but if he keeps going on like that, just doing as he pleases and disregarding how his actions impact other people, he’s going to be in trouble.
On the other hand, Misaki seems to have a one-track mind, but he’s very observant and it is his observations (sometimes with no real confirmation) that bother him. I clutched my heart when he said that he wanted to be Arikawa’s friend and didn’t want to fall in love. His related feelings about this is something that gets me again in the 2nd volume (which is coming out when? let’s not talk about it).
Volume 2. So we go back to a younger Misaki and learn that he is alone. His parents and grandparents have passed and he is without kin. We also meet Misaki’s grandfather’s former student who is an arrogant s.o.b. The volume ends before giving us a full picture of his stalker/obsessive habits, so the effect he’s having on Misaki in the present feels a bit exaggerated. If volume 3 doesn’t address a particular incident beyond the fact that he has questioned Misaki’s whereabouts, I’ll feel disappointed, but I’ll let it slide. The last thing we really saw was Misaki running away from him, but how did their connection resume after that? How did he upgrade from confused and restrained to arrogant and psychologically abusive?
I like that both Misaki and Arikawa are agonizing over their situation; it shows how much they both care.
Again, we encounter Misaki’s conflicted feelings about his attraction to a man. This always gets me because there’s very little that troubles me more deeply than people feeling like they can’t live in their own skin. Even worse, when they feel like there isn’t anything they can do beyond denial to change their circumstances and they end up meditating on all the wrong things. The s.o.b. isn’t helping either and his incessant denial is actually worse than Misaki’s; and since he can’t come to terms with his desires, he won’t let Misaki either.
Fortunately, Misaki finds courage and Arikawa gains some clarity, so the story starts looking up.
I reread part of the series and continued writing my thoughts on it after I bought DMG’s V01 thinking I’ll be able to finally get them out of my drafts, but no. It’s been nearly 3 years and there’s still no 2nd or 3rd licensed volume. This long wait without any updates is one of the main reasons I don’t like buying ongoing English licensed series. It’s digital, so I don’t have to see the lonely volume on my ongoing shelf, but it still sucks to know that the series remains incomplete. I’m in the process of cleaning out my drafts, so you can expect volume 3 to follow.
Volume 3. Right from the door we get hit with cuteness. I like that Arikawa has somehow awakened to the concept of consideration; I guess he’s the kind of guy that needs to REALLY care about something in order for him to truly take note of it. I also like that he was forward enough to kick off the physical aspect of their relationship, but considerate and observant enough to put the continuation in Misaki’s hands. And not as some kind of test. He’s all for it, but knows Misaki has a complicated past with that sort of thing. And rather than pushing him and murmuring reassurances about how “it’s going to be alright” and how he’ll “feel good soon,” he takes a step back. Although, poor Misaki is shy about such things and would have preferred Arikawa to ride out the wave, but it’s good that he’s put in a position where he has to take responsibility for the things that are happening to him.
Misaki is definitely not a pushover, but his unsettled mind and heart regarding his sexuality made him hesitant to react at times and made him feel lost when it came to defining some of his relationships.
I was happy to see that Misaki didn’t ensconce himself in Arikawa’s embrace and just ignore the things that previously held him back. I was also glad to see that, although Arikawa would have gladly “handled” the problem (and I’m sure Misaki knew that somewhere in his heart), Misaki addressed it on his own. But it would have been nice if he at least told Arikawa before hand and saved the poor guy a heart attack.
I’m pretty pleased with this series. Now, if I could just complete my English-licensed collection.
Takarai was never really high on my list of anything, but after having read this yet again, I’m reminded of my past intention to pay more attention to her.
This title is followed by Hana no Migoro ni and Hana no Miyako de (technically a prequel). Hana no Migoro ni is a two-part continuation that doesn’t just add to the story, it closes it out perfectly. Since it’s not included in the main volume, it won’t see an official English release, and that’s a shame.
After reading the series again and reading over my initial thoughts, I’m surprised to see that my opinion hasn’t changed much. Most of the thoughts I wrote about this series are more than two years old. Outside of this and the prequel, I can’t recall what else I’ve read by her. There’s Seven Days, but it’s not her story and thankfully, because I don’t want to hold it against her.