Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (Yokohama Shopping Log) Volume 12

December 20th, 2004

Reading a volume of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is like watching a breathtakingly beautiful sunset – gorgeous, and unsharable with anyone who wasn’t there.

I previously did an overview of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, aka Yokohama Shopping Log. In it, I sang paeans of praise about the breathless beauty and quiet pleasure of this series, and I hoped fervently that it might continue.

Well, it has.

Volume 12 takes place a few years after the first 11 volumes. Time has passed, Takahiro is grown and moved away to find work, and little Makki is now 15 or so. In this volume, as is all the others, nothing happens. We simply see snippets of life in Alpha’s corner of the world.

Oji-san talks with his old sempai, the doctor, and they sit in quiet companionship. (Although for those of us who like to pair people up might just see something happening betwqeen these two. They have a prolonged conversation about living alone and how it’s kind of nice to have someone else around.) I adore stories that have late-life relationships…so I kind of want them to get together. Plus, the doctor is really a cool old lady! ^_^

Makki asks Alpha if she can get a job at the shop, but Alpha has nothing for her to do. While watching Makki, Alpha finally feels exactly what the passage of time *means.* I think she gets a little more human, too, because of it. Although her appearance hasn’t changed, this is a different Alpha than we met at the beginning of the series. She is most definitely more mature. A flashback to when her owner left really heightens the change in our lovely protagonist.

Meanwhile, back in the big city, Kokone has also grown up a little. She’s made friends with a human and she has begun to develop her own quirks. We spend a chapter watching her watch a sea of grass from an abandoned building. (Again, sunset stuff – you have to see it to appreciate it.)

No friends are left out of this volume – Alpha meets Maruko (the third female android in the series,) suddenly, and learns – to Maruko’s mortifcation – that the artist is, by day, a waitress. Maruko and Alpha have a conversation about Kokone which makes it clear that Alpha knows perfectly well what Kokone feels for her…and Maruko knows too. (I like to think that Maruko gives up on Kokone right about this point. ^_^)

This volume definitely feels more mature, more stately, than the first 11. There’s even *more* of a twilight feel to the stories and a little of that beautiful melancholy that the Japanese treasure so much. It brought tears to my eyes several times, to be honest, and I think we can safely say that the series is winding down slowly. But I admit to harboring a secret desire that the artist never, ever stop writing this. It is the *best* series, bar none, ever made. For my money, YKK completely transcends the medium and is art at its purest.

While Alpha and Kokone never meet in this volume the conversation with Maruko, IMHO, places the period on their relationship. It is apparent to *everybody* that Kokone is in love with Alpha. And for her part, Alpha cares deeply for Kokone. I think that’s as far as we’ll ever see it go…but, you never know!. Anyway, it’s not our imagination. Either that, or Maruko is imagining it, too. ^_^

Art – 10
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri – 7

Overall – 10

If you’re not in love with Alpha, you’re not paying attention….

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