Summer vacation is over, meaning Tomozaki is back at school to continue his education and life training with Hinami. The return to school brings with it the school sports festival, which sounds fun enough, except Tomozaki’s given the momentous task of getting the apathetic class queen, Erika Konno, excited for the sports festival.
The Psychological Profile:
In order to convince Konno the sports festival is the greatest thing since dark chocolate, Tomozaki has to find out what makes her tick by scouting out people’s opinions of her. Konno’s had precisely one role in precisely one volume before now, but in gaining a psychological understanding of her persona, we learn more about her than we do of other characters who’ve had more appearances.
The Connecting Pieces:
Probably the strongest point of this particular volume is how many of its elements click together like puzzle pieces. Things and characters which just waved as they drove by before bring a solution of some sort to Tomozaki’s task but which is something of a double-edged sword. While these strengthen the quality of this volume, their unapparent relevance weighs down the prior volumes they show up in.
The Leveled-up Protagonist:
I mentioned last time how Tomozaki is complete cringe to watch but that it was expected. This time, there’re clear signs of his growth. It’s a bit on the nose with his growth at times, but it’s apparent as blue from green that he’s changing as a character. Though with how much more tolerable he is to watch, it feels less like he leveled up once after grinding on some enemies and more like he gained five levels after taking a nap à la Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
The Flat Action Curve:
The only criticism I have to levy is that from a pacing standpoint it reads like volume 2, where there’s hardly an uptick in the excitement, even during the third act. It doesn’t mean the narrative doesn’t wrap up satisfyingly, but Tomozaki’s outburst from the first volume got me spoiled for what this series is capable of.
Dare I say this is the best volume thus far? I do daresay. It does a splendid job at connecting its dots, subverts expectations for the consequences of the actions of Tomozaki and the supporting cast, and develops a character who before could’ve only been described using the words stuck-up bitch. And if one fleshed out character wasn’t enough, it makes one of the main girls a serious contender for best girl with just a single line outta her.