The time has come for Tomozaki to achieve his first major milestone in living the normie life: getting a girlfriend. Once upon a time, that would’ve been impossible, but now he’s accrued so much social capital that one girl even confessed her feelings to him. Seems like he’s got this goal in the bag, but he’s still trying to piece together his feelings, all the while helping out with the upcoming school festival, where hidden emotions are buried in the performances being put together.
The pièce de résistance of this volume, Tomozaki and his female associate Fuka Kikuchi team up to write a play for the festival, and a surprising amount of thought goes into its drafting. It’s not just a story within a story, but a story within a story within a story, for its characters represent the people in Kikuchi’s life. It’s that same fixation on psychology that the series has enraptured me with thus far, but wearing a fancy coat now. It is long-winded compared to the usual methods, and it doesn’t serve as the breathtaking climax I was expecting, but it does put an interesting spin on the formula the series has grown adept at.
Tomozaki and Kikuchi, in order to better write Hinami’s character for their play, launch an investigation on Hinami herself. Dig into her past to learn who she is and where she came from. They do undercover the most intriguing inconsistency during their interviews, stirring the mystery pot, but unfortunately, they don’t act on this information, and none of the limited info they pull is put into the script. Given the main plot, it’s understandable that it would be tabled for a later volume, but still, it’s quite the tease. Like interviewing an author on their latest release only to find out that they drink children’s blood.
Kikuchi isn’t the only girl Tomozaki pairs up with. Mimimi wants to do a comedy skit, and not just any skit, but a couple’s skit, which complicates matters, since Mimimi is crushing on Tomozaki. Their banter makes for some of the book’s most amusing moments, but their creative endeavor is subplot to the play. By the end, we know much of the play’s plot, but we only get snippets of their routine, so I felt underfed on their teamwork.
A good read overall. It’s lacking proper dramatic flair, but none of its faults are that major, and any criticisms I do have are just me banging my fists on the table and demanding more sustenance.