The mood’s pretty rotten in Tomozaki’s class. Konno’s crush has hooked up with one of the main heroines, and she’s taking her anger out on the petite but mighty Hanabi Natsubayashi, or Tama, whose take-no-prisoners attitude isn’t winning her supporters, despite Konno’s daily bullying. She expresses a desire to change herself for the better, similar to Tomozaki’s own vow, so it’s up to him to figure out how she can improve to end Konno’s harassment once and for all.
The Psychological Profile:
This was a strong point in volume 4, and it’s just as strong in volume 5. The usual go-to method for explaining a character’s motives is the backstory, which is fine, but this series is able to capture the same degree of motivation by simply stating a character’s state of mind, similar to what My Youth Rom-Com does for its two leads. It doesn’t make for a wide breadth of knowledge for a character, but it’s just as deep when you learn that a person’s a social outcast because they don’t take an interest in others.
The Exercise in Mastery:
The exciting climax returns, and it’s a real whopper. Few things are as thrilling in a story as the mentor stepping up to open up a can of whoop-ass, which is exactly what Hinami does. She shows off a deftness in social manipulation that’s almost scary to watch. What’s more, her exploits pull double-duty by giving us a peek at a side of her hitherto locked up and chained in a box. The rest of the book goes at its own middling pace, and there’s hardly any lead-up to the climax, but when the climax hits, it hits like a tornado-tossed cow.
The Not-Terrible Afterword:
I’ve said my piece on this series’s afterwords before, so I was anticipating my good cheer from the climax to be stamped on and drowned in a bog by the afterword, but no. Like a gift which keeps on giving, the afterword wasn’t a pedophilic pervert for once. It was still on about clothing, but it commented on how it reflected the characters’ personalities. I’d love to think that this series has undergone growth as well, but I won’t be surprised when it reverts back to talking about how arousing socks are without blatantly saying, “I’m hard as a rock right now.”
I made the bold claim that the previous volume was the best yet, and now I’m repeating that claim for this volume to usurp that title. This volume does so much right that I’d have to crawl over it with a microscope to find some flaw to nitpick. It’s also an intriguing twist on the bullying formula, where instead of confronting the bully, you get them to back off by changing yourself. Don’t know how else to close this off. It’s a great read all around.