The Kyosuke arch-arc comes to and end, and in a way that I wasn’t sure the manga would have the guts to pull off. But now the floodgates are open for drama the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Well, that I haven’t seen before.
Summary of this week’s chapters: Well, apologies for the delays. Work, the Steam Summer Sale, and the new anime season have conspired to delay my reading as of late. Anyway, on to the manga. Haruto and Kyosuke’s feud over Yuzuki sank to a new low when Haruto confronted him about it, with neither side coming out looking especially good. Kyosuke more or less guilt tripped Yuzuki into being his girlfriend when he told her that he knew he could fight his condition if she were by his side. And then it went to some delightful misogyny with the two guys acting like they could just take Yuzuki from the other, as if she weren’t a person with her own volition. Later, things improve a bit after Haruto meet Asakura Kiyomi, Kyosuke’s childhood friend who’s hates Yuzuki with the fire of a thousand suns because she believes Kyosuke is delaying the operation that has a chance to save him just so he can be with her. She also has it in for Yuzuki because of Yuzuki’s failure to encourage Kyosuke to undergo the operation. Though this comes not just from her long friendship with Kyosuke, but also because she’s in love with him. Eventually the two have it out and Kiyomi slaps Yuzuki. After that, she proposes that Haruto join forces with her, since they have a common goal to break up Kyosuke and Yuzuki. This doesn’t really bear fruit because Kiyomi can’t control her temper around Yuzuki, and eventually Kiyomi has enough when the whole group gathers for a meal. She admits her feelings to Kyosuke in front of everyone and also directly tells Yuzuki how much she hates her. When everyone is leaving, Kyosuke tells Haruto that he’s going to have the operation so he can compete with Haruto on a level playing field afterwards, and he also asks Haruto to go out with Kiyomi once he ‘wins’ and stays with Yuzuki. Though this is all for naught, because complications arise during the operation. Kyosuke dies, and at the funeral he leaves his last message to Haruto: he reserved the front sponsorship spot of his racing helmet to fit an ad for the restaurant he hoped Haruto would open one day.
Scumbag Kyosuke: can’t get girl on his own. Guilts her into being his girlfriend because he’s sick. Yeah, my respect for that guy dropped pretty low during these chapters. First there was this, and then after a fight with Haruto and Yuzuki he said something about women who talk to much. Ughh. No wonder he couldn’t get her to go out with him before he got sick.
For once, Haruto has a point.
Aaaaand now I’m back to hating Yuzuki, but for fresh new reasons! So not only is this whole mess screwed up enough, but now Yuzuki even wants to keep things secret from Kyosuke instead of just being honest about it. So, Kyosuke sucks because he guilted her into going out with him, and she sucks because she’s just going to pretend to like him and lie to him while he’s dying. You know things have gotten bad when Haruto kinda looks like the decent one among the bunch.
A moment of clarity: Then, in the wake of all this, Asuka tries grabbing some attention back from Yuzuki. And it was at this point that I had a revelation. The world stopped, and suddenly I was blinded by the overpowering light of the truth that had sat right in front of my eyes for years. It was a profound moment, the kind of realization that can only come from suffering through a series like this. From the depths of my self-mortification had come enlightenment. And the revelation was this: the reason why the worst girl so often gets the guy in these stories is because all harem manga and anime are trolls! The entire point of the story is to have the main male character (or in reverse harems, the opposite I’m sure is true) turn down all the girls that most readers/viewers would chose if they were in the same situation. That is why all the other girls in harem stories are better than the main girl. The official canon ship is intentionally the worst one because the point is to frustrate the audience! That’s why Akari, Mina, Nanami, Asuka, and so many other characters in this manga are so much better than Yuzuki. This is why Hayate no Gotoku still comes back to Nagi rather than the much more interesting Hinagiku or Maria. It’s why Martian Successor Nadesico ended with Akito X Yurika instead of pairing him with Ryoko or Inez or any of the other, better characters. And harem writers know this keeps readers hooked. You keep watching or reading hoping that maybe your ship can win, and you gnash your teeth and sigh when the main male character chooses the lamest girl, but you keep coming back. That’s the key, that’s why there are so many harem stories every year. The disappointment and anger is addicting, even as it hurts. It also lets fans of the better girls construct their own ‘head canon’ that imagines what might have been. And because this personal canon is made up by each reader’s mind based on a fairly minimal amount of information, it’s always ‘better’ by that person’s standards than anything the author could possible write. It outsources the writing to the reader/viewer’s mind, and we only cling harder to our own imagined stories in the face of the author writing plotlines that contradict us. It’s such an ingenious trap! I struggle with this knowledge, because it is possibly something that mankind is not meant to comprehend. There is madness in this knowledge more terrifying than anything in the unknowable gods of Lovecraft.
In these chapters we get introduced to Kiyomi, who I took a pretty quick liking too because of how straightforward she is. And her hatred of Yuzuki doesn’t hurt either. Though she is wrong in her appraisal of Yuzuki. This time. While Yuzuki is a master manipulator, this time she seems off-balance and acts like she’s just being dragged along by events without acting much on her own. I like her character design too, except for the ubiquitous Seo huge breasts.
So, it was probably a bit much, and Kiyomi should have blamed Kyosuke for things, but I’m okay with Yuzuki getting slapped just for the drama it could cause. It’s the kind of drama trainwreck that I’m expecting from this show, and hopefully will be a sign of things to come. And on a more serious note, while I definitely think Kiyomi acted rashly and should have slapped Kyosuke, she is a sympathetic character. She really loves the guy and since she believes Yuzuki is the one preventing him from getting the surgery, it’s natural that she would overreact to her.
Although it produced nothing, I was briefly excited to see Kiyomi team up with Haruto to try and break up Yuzuki and Kyosuke for their mutual benefit. Kiyomi was a lot more willing to fight dirty than Haruto, but unfortunately her skill did not match her enthusiasm. Still, it did end up helping to change Kyosuke’s mind about the operation when she abandoned subtlety and just admitted her feelings for him and against Yuzuki. Which was also another reason why I like her and feel that she’s a sympathetic character. She couldn’t take Kyosuke being all happy with Yuzuki right in front of her and just opened up in front of everyone. Kyosuke was the typical dense guy, not realizing her feelings for him, which kind of makes things tragic in the end for both of them.
Speaking of characters I like, Mina had a few choice moments, even if she wasn’t featured much in these chapters. She mostly provided some comic relief when Haruto was down about the ongoing drama by of course assuming he was feeling down because of her. She’s so aware of all the typical romance manga ploys and thinks she can pull them off, which is awesome. She’s like a kindred shipping spirit.
This was the troll before the storm, though it was good to see Akari again. Chapter 100 started out with a supposed contest for fan favorite girl, complete with a page in color again. But this was just part of the setup. Asuka came to Haruto’s door like usual, they argued about the usual things, and then went off as if to school, talking about Kyosuke. But instead they were going to his funeral. I have to admit, that was a good setup. As it was then, I didn’t expect him to die like that. I expected either he would live, or that he would die later, with the characters there with him.
So, not so many gifs and reaction images this week, since the story actually went kinda serious for almost all of these 10 chapters. But there’s going to be a lot that will have to play out in the wake of Kyosuke’s death. What, if anything, will happen with his request for Haruto to go out with Kiyomi. She was the most visibly grief-stricken person at the funeral. With the history this manga has of characters going along with relationships for the reasons of others, are they going to get together, sideline Yuzuki for a bit, only to explode in a drama bomb when Haruto inevitably runs back to Yuzuki? Or does Yuzuki get so shaken up that she avoids Haruto and he ends up going out with someone like Asuka for a time, and then the rest of the previous scenario plays out. Guess I’ll see next time.