The new year continues on into spring and summer while Yuzuki and Haruto continue their long distance relationship. A temporary job introduces a new character, and an upcoming school trip to Tokyo gives Haruto some motivation to work and save his money. The trip itself and a request from Nanami bring complications to things, though the best characters, Akari and Takashi, help smooth things over. Meanwhile, another classmate has completely turned into a Seo-zombie in these exciting chapters of A Town Where You Live OF THE DEAD.
Summary of this week’s chapters: Haruto’s getting a bit stressed out at Yuzuki constantly sending inane texts to him as they continue their long distance relationship, especially when she’s goes on and on about her pet parakeet. He loses his temper once, but fortunately for him he’s got such a good friend as Akari, who intervenes and calls Yuzuki in front of Haruto to straighten things out. Back at school, it’s been decided that an upcoming school trip will be going to Tokyo, and the members of Haruto’s class start planning for what they want to do. This includes Himuro and Kotone, the latter of which isn’t even wearing glasses anymore, thus having reached the final, irreversible stage of becoming a Seo-zombie. Haruto wants to try and get away from the group and visit Yuzuki while he’s there, and begins planning with her to do so. He wants to give her a gift when he meets her there, and Akari, again being super helpful, needs a few people for a short temporary gig at a restaurant. She recruits Haruto and Takashi, and the three of them head to a restaurant along a popular tourist route to work for five days. The hours are long, but they’re allowed to stay in a guest house on-site while they work. Working in the kitchen, Haruto meets the de facto head chef, Amagi Shiho. She’s very strict and harsh to her coworkers, being an extreme perfectionist about her cooking. Because this is Kimi no Iru Machi, she develops a forced and unnatural liking of him, though it doesn’t go anywhere in the short time that they’re together. She does send him off with some encouragement about his long distance relationship though.
After the cooking and waiting job, the characters head out on the trip. Haruto plans to meet with Yuzuki that afternoon, but Nanami suddenly asks if he can pretend to be her boyfriend for a few hours. It seems she told an old friend of her’s in Tokyo that she has a boyfriend, as some sort of competition/pride thing, and Haruto agrees, though he doesn’t do a great job of it. Nanami’s friend sees through it, but in a last, desperate attempt to convince her, Nanami and Haruto hold hands as her train pulls away…with perfect timing for Yuzuki, on the other side of the tracks, to see them. Haruto scrambles to find Yuzuki and explain things to her, and that evening he enlists Akari, Takashi, and Nanami to help hide the fact that he’s gone from the teachers. Haruto gets all the way to Yuzuki’s house and then realizes that he left his phone behind. Fortunately, Rin is there, but Yuzuki went out. Walking back, and hoping on a slim chance that he’ll run into Yuzuki, the two meet at the local station. From there they walk for a bit until both have to get back home, and have a few nice moments together, sharing a kiss before they part. But despite things going well that night, Haruto finds that Yuzuki’s phone has blocked his number at the end of the last chapter for this week.
No one cares about your goddamn parakeet. Can’t really blame Haruto there.
So, Kotone has now completely succumbed to Seo-ification. She’s not wearing any glasses anymore, all the better to fit Seo’s personal tastes since APPARENTLY EVERY FEMALE CHARACTER MUST DO SO. What, Yuzuki isn’t enough for you? Why must you turn this manga into your own personal fantasy harem? And hell, if it’s a harem, why not have some variety at least? Are you that unimaginative? Shoot! Shoot! Do it! She’s not the girl you knew anymore, she’s a Seo-zombie!
“If you want a vision of my ideal future, imagine a female hand slapping a man in the face – forever.” -
George Orwell Seo Kouji
Will every new female character just form the next link in a long congo line stretching to the twisted depths of Seo Kouji’s masochism? It seems we’re doomed to having new girls introduced for a short period of time and falling for Haruto, only to disappear or become a Seo-zombie shortly thereafter. The author played it gradual with Kotone, giving me false hope for having a good new character. This time he just charged forth with his desire for punishment raised high like a feudal banner. At least she has something of a reason for it. Shiho runs a tight ship at the popular restaurant, and while her way of doing things isn’t a shining example in leadership, I suppose it works for whipping into shape the short-timers like Haruto who seem like they may be a staple part of the workforce during tourist season. It seems like an inefficient way to run a workplace, relying on new workers coming and going all the time, having to learn the ropes and then depart a week later, but it’s not like Japanese companies are known for their efficiency when it comes to recruiting and personnel management these days. Shiho could have perhaps been interesting, but her time in the manga was so brief that she only had time to leave a brief impression (and provide a little fanservice in a chapter opening page) before the story moved on.
Akari, the one bright light of this manga. Your presence radiates into the dark depths of this manga like your namesake, the heavenly moon, illuminates the pitch black of night. I almost don’t want to like this character so much. Reading Kimi no Iru Machi is like a brutal war. You don’t want to get too close to anyone around you because they could be killed at any moment. Better to keep an emotional distance before the inevitable happens. After seeing the character-death of Kotone, I don’t want to care too much about anyone. The manga is still ongoing, you never know when, or if, any of us are getting out of here. Seo’s out there, man! And you never know when he could come for us! Even so, I enjoy the brief moments with Akari in them. She’s better to Haruto than he deserves, offering words or taking action when he needs a hand. She’s cheerful, kind, playful but not mean, and caring and supportive of her friends all while wearing that upbeat smile. How could you not like her? And aside from her physical proportions, she seems to be a rare deviation from the author making every girl the same in the end. I just hope that she’ll make it out of this alive.
Nanami had Haruto pretend to be her boyfriend, which came out of nowhere since last we saw her she was hating on Haruto pretty hard (as she should.) I’m not against cliches overall. They can be implemented well in either a classic or subverted way as long as they’re set up appropriately. But come on, this was out of nowhere and felt like the author just threw a dart at a wall with a ‘romance cliche situations’ chart on it and went with whatever came up. Nanami’s friend isn’t even significant to things, and unless she shows up once Haruto inevitably moves to Tokyo then she was kind of a waste of a chapter. Nanami then, again predictably, seems to show that she likes Haruto again now while on their pretend date. And to complete the cliche hat trick, Yuzuki sees them holding hands just as the fake date ends. Though for all of that, at least we got to see Haruto feel really awkward and uneasy when he brought up his first trip to Tokyo, the day he stood Nanami up to chase Yuzuki for no goddamn reason.
Don’t you make me like Yuzuki! Not even a little bit! Ok, so maybe she was being genuinely nice and empathetic here. Perhaps she now thinks her hooks are sufficiently deep in Haruto that she can drop that incredibly annoying ditzy ‘I need to be protected’ act and actually act like a mature human being for once. After the thing with Nanami and the two of them missing each other because of timing and a forgotten cell phone, it really was a sweet gesture on her part to just tell Haruto to chill out and enjoy their chance to see each other. That or the hypnotic secret text inserted into the manga by Seo and the Nihon Hikkikomori Kyoukai is starting to take effect. Next thing you know I’ll start saying that Hiromi from True Tears is not the devil incarnate.
Man, this week the manga has me all kinda not hating it and shit. Speaking from experience, I know those feels, and the very last part of this week’s chapters really brought back those memories. Not quite the same circumstances, but if you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship then you know really know that feeling that the airport or train station brings up. For all the great times you may have together when you get to visit, the knowledge of how much you’re apart always comes back to hit you hard when you’re walking to the airline gate or to the train station platform. To their credit, this was more of Haruto and Yuzuki actually acting like reasonable, fairly likable people. It was an unexpectedly sincere moment to (nearly) end things on. The very last thing in these chapters was Haruto’s number being blocked, but given his brief encounter with Rin when trying to find Yuzuki, I suspect her or her mother to have done this.