Kimi no Iru Machi chapter 11-20 – Highway to the FRIEND ZONE

Things get a bit more complicated with the introduction of Akari and her crush, and how Haruto has to try and balance helping her and managing his own life. Things get a bit predictable later on in this, but there is a sudden confession that lurches things forward between Haruto and Nanami. But more factors keep entering the equation, and the return of Haruto’s sister for a student teaching stint brings more complications.

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Summary of this week’s chapters: Akari is seen talking to her crush in the hallway, and before long Haruto and Eba are recruited to try and help her get closer to him. Akari’s crush, an upperclassman, is none other than Kanzaki Narumi, Nanami’s older brother. Haruto absolutely does not want to get into this with Eba along, since not only would it further the misunderstanding that he and Eba are a couple, it would provide a direct line for that misinformation to Nanami’s ears. But in the end, Haruto is too nice for his own good and reverses his stance, accepting the invite to a barbecue at a camping area. It takes a while, but eventually Akari and Narumi get some time to talk. But the real development is when Narumi and Haruto talk. Narumi says he’s not interested in Akari, but he jeeringly asks Haruto if it’d be ok if he asked Eba out, since they’re not dating. Later, Haruto and Nanami get to walk home together and share a nikuman while chatting, and Narumi tries to walk Eba home. Haruto gets some more confidence about Nanami, and when things get uncomfortable when the two discuss what to do about Akari, Haruto blurts out a confession. Eba overhears it from outside, but Nanami runs out of the room before any response is given. Things get awkward between them, but a school trip could have been a chance to clear things up. Instead, Haruto and Nanami dodge around the issue and act like normal, until finally Nanami answers that she just wants to be friends. Eba, oddly enough, is the one trying to cheer on Haruto to keep going after Nanami, and perhaps he still has a chance. Following this, Haruto’s sister Aoi moves back in temporarily to do some student teaching at her old school. She doesn’t seem to think much of Nanami and tells Haruto to give up on her, but she also serves the plot by uncovering something. While paging through old photo albums, she spots a girl standing next to Haruto when he was a little kid, a girl who looks just like Eba.

Commentary

I like Akari a lot, and I feel for her predicament. But the whole thing was a mess for Haruto. He made the right call at the beginning, trying to stay out of it and not further the rumors about him and Eba. But he felt bad for his childhood friend and then threw himself right into the fire. But he could have done things better at this juncture too. Why not ask Nanami to come along too? That way things stay nice and neutral. And/or invite Takashi. Instead he showed the observant Narumi that he does feel something for Eba (much as I hate to admit it, it’s pretty blatant) and then had Narumi call him on it by talking about dating Eba himself. I did feel that this was kinda predictable in terms of writing though. Narumi wasn’t even around all that long, he was just there to be the standard romance story straw man, the one that threatens the feelings a character doesn’t know they have by being a rival that doesn’t act serious. It’s pretty clear to me at this point that Eba is by far the author’s favorite, and thus the eventual victor. Narumi was just a plot device to make Haruto feel threatened.

I (momentarily) had such hope.

The confession was pretty bold of Haruto, and the one good thing to come out of the Akari entanglement. Unfortunately, Haruto hadn’t laid enough groundwork beforehand for this to work out. He only knows Nanami on a sort of surface level, not what makes her tick or what her motivations and circumstances are at the moment. Maybe she likes him but is afraid of a relationship, or feels like she has to concentrate on school, or who knows what. Haruto doesn’t know. And that’s the problem. They’ve had some nice moments together, but not enough that she’s really opened up to him. She seems to be a very guarded person generally, so this doesn’t seem the best way to confess to her. Which lead to this during the school trip…

Revvin up your ship

Listen to the fanboys’ howl…

Emotions under tension

But your relationship’s been touch and go…

Highway to the FRIEND ZONE!

Ride into the FRIEND ZONE!

Eba is the one that tries to rekindle things between Nanami and Haruto, but once again I suspect her motives. She’s playing the long game here, and it suits her objectives to try and push Haruto and Nanami closer while manipulating Haruto’s life so that it will fail. This nets her two things: Firstly, she’ll be able to swoop down on an emotionally distraught, and thus, vulnerable, Haruto in the aftermath. And second, this way she can ‘prove’ that things wouldn’t work out with Nanami. Haruto will be under the illusion that he tried going out with Nanami but in the end it just didn’t work. Which will just make Eba’s case seem stronger in the absence of a visible alternative. Again, I don’t approve of Eba’s actions, but I do admire their effectiveness. The way she shapes the battlefield and controls the flow of information to the other actors is masterful.

And I say this to the night. Let us not forget, there is hope.

But maybe there is hope. With how heavily the author favors Eba, it is perhaps a fool’s hope. But nonetheless, perhaps there’s some slim chance of things being patched up between Haruto and Nanami. At least he’s not giving in now. It still probably plays into Eba’s plans. I have no illusions about how this is all likely to end. If Nanami ends up winning out in this I’ll watch the second season of Strike Witches, that’s how sure I feel about this. But even if things are headed that way, I’m enjoying the ride and eagerly awaiting the kinds of situations and twists and turns the characters all go through.

Akari, so awesome.

And at least there’s Akari. She’s definitely my favorite so far. Even if her crush on Narumi didn’t work out, I think she might actually get a good ending to things. Narumi seems like a douche anyway. I don’t trust anyone with such a cavalier attitude towards relationships, even if he was just toying with Haruto. Actually, I’m shipping Akari with myself Takashi in the last 10 chapters. It’s in the background to the main characters’ stories, but the two of them seem to spend a lot of time next to each other on the school trip and at school. I’d ship her and Haruto, but despite them being childhood friends (and I do love my osananajimi ships), he doesn’t seem the type for her, while Takashi seems like the kind of guy that can roll with her sense of humor and maladroit way of expressing her feelings.

Then there was this, right at the end of the last chapter for the week. Greeeat. I can see where this is going. They made some sort of promise that Haruto’s forgotten, didn’t they? And eventually he’ll figure it out and Eba will cry about it, won’t she? And then he’ll remember how important their time back then was, won’t he? *Sigh* Yeah, I’ve seen this one before.

This week’s Rage Condition

For your reference: A guide to Rage Conditions (RAGECON)

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23 Comments

  1. Posted April 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Akari is for sure one of my favorite characters in the whole manga, probably 2nd only after a yet to be introduced character…

    • Posted April 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      She’s definitely my favorite so far, though I feel that there really hasn’t been enough character development or insight into Nanami’s character yet. We barely know anything about her at this stage.

  2. lelangir
    Posted April 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    fuck kanzaki. akari is ok….i mean she’s just the obligatory third wheel kinda thing. there are rage-inducing details associated with her but they come waaaay later, like chapter 100 or something.

    still, i thought this part of the manga was pretty enjoyable

    • Posted April 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Definitely more enjoyable than rage-inducing right now. I’d love to learn more about Akari and what she thinks of things, so hopefully that will be elaborated on later.

  3. Peix
    Posted April 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Oh wow, I forgot this used to be an innocent love story.

    • Posted April 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Haha, from what I hear, this must be quite the flashback for people that have been following it for a long time.

  4. Nosaj
    Posted April 19, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    I love these posts the inserts are hilarious, unfortunately they also serve to rekindle the rage and raise it to the next level, I never realized just how devious Eba has been since the very beginning, she is like the romance female version of Izaya!

    • Posted April 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Great comparison. Eba hides it more, but she knows exactly what she’s doing. Everything seems to just be a cog in her great machine for catching Haruto.

  5. eternia
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    I really like those non-manga images such as that “WTF IS THIS SHIT”
    Too bad there is only a few of them now.
    The first post have more.
    :-P
    BTW, RAGECON 5 is the weakest level, right?
    This is just the beginning of your journey.
    Fu fu fu.

    • Posted April 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Same amount as last time, iirc. But I do like to use them when I can, so expect more.

      Yep, RAGECON 5 is the lowest level of alert (refer to the chart linked in the text under the RAGECON banner, hehe.)

  6. Posted April 20, 2012 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    (much as I hate to admit it, it’s pretty blatant)

    This line made me squiggle ahaha.

    Ahahah.

    Hahah.

    Hah.

    What a great manga.

    • Posted April 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      It’s crystal clear who the author’s favorite is, and as such, of course Haruto will fall for her. But it’s the journey, not the destination. Or at least that’s what I say once I know my ship won’t work.

  7. semtex
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    What is the maximum ragecon scale here? Is 5 high?

    • ectholion
      Posted April 20, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      now 5ive is low it counts down to rage explosion

    • Posted April 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      5 is the lowest, in both RAGECON and the actual DEFCON.

  8. arcanes
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    And your ride (of hell) continues…
    As mentioned, I love the non related rage pictures, and I hope you’ve prepared a shit load of them. they will be used. a lot :)

    • Posted April 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      I’ve got a bunch of gifs and reaction images I’ve wanted to put to use, and now I have my chance. Can’t wait to see what this series will bring.

  9. ectholion
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    yea i think ive lost interest already for the following reason, predictable story, unrealistically big breasted bimbos, Haruto (my god i hate his character), fanservice, and the personalities of almost all the female characters. The possible childhood friend thing plus the lame ass love rival thing has killed the little interest i had. Since, Bokura ga Ita has been translated from complete beginning to end, im gonna read that instead since im sure it will give me equal if not more to be pissed off about. Also the story is really damn good, so i tip my hat to you comrade fair thee well on this journey into ragedom. I shall pray that the rage caused by this story does not scar you.

    • Posted April 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I’m a glutton for anime/manga punishment, so I’m actually looking forward to the rage, haha. I can see why you might not be interested in it though. If the manga didn’t have such a reputation and following, I might not be continuing to read it. A lot of it in these chapters felt pretty predictable, though I don’t know if I see your point about the breast sizes or fanservice. The characters are on the busty side, but they’re not as bad as say the character designs in Nyan Koi or Asobi ni Iku Yo, both of which I enjoyed despite the bustiness of the characters. And on fanservice, I haven’t really seen a lot of that, just 3 or 4 panels so far.

      • ectholion
        Posted April 25, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        The over play childhood promise friend angle has left me bitter so now even marginal amounts of fanservice is way too much for me to bear in this series. Im a josei fan more often then not i find myself vastly disappointed with anything with Harem or Ecchi in it.

  10. Tzu
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Yo should totally do 8 chapters a week so you could sync with the volume releases. I just read your RAGECON chart, nice to know true tears sets the bar. I guess I would give school days RAGECON 1 as well, and maybe guilty crown (or we could make a WTFCON and lump it with mirai nikki).

    • Posted April 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Nah, if anything I should try to see if I can fit in more chapters per week given how many are already released. Though maybe if I start getting close to caught up I’ll slow the pace (not that that will happen any time soon, heh.)

  11. Shuffler in the Dark
    Posted June 12, 2012 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    You know, I don’t really fault Haruto for going on that group date with Akari. It might have run the risk of further knackering his chances with Nanami, but Akari was obviously feeling pretty hopeless, so it comes across more as him willing to make a sacrifice for the sake of a longtime friend.
    Having read most of this manga, I’m not particularly sympathetic towards Haruto but this was one decision I could understand.

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