Will someone please explain to me why I like Sakura no Kiwa? It has none of the things I enjoy in manga (a short list) and many of the things that enrage and annoy me (a much, much longer list.) So what the heck is it with this series that I don’t hate it!?
Anyway, Sakura no Kiwa, Volume 3 starts off with a lot of kisses. To recap Volume 1 and Volume 2, Sasa Sakura is living with her crazy cat lady aunt Takako, two neighboring girls, Ichiko and Futako, and Takako’s 14 cats. Over the last two volumes, Futako has rearranged Sakura’s boundaries so that she sleeps with Sakura, gets her to help her in the bath, and gets kisses for just about everything. As a classmate comments, Sakura’s looking an awful lot like a wife these days. In addition, Sakura gets to cook for the entire clan, be responsible for feeding the cats and generally be mommy.
The first chapters cover the fact that Futa-chan gets kisses from Sakura for just about everything, something Takako thinks is a little weird. Sakura insists that it’s nothing, its not like they are in love and they don’t do it outside the house. Okay. At the same time, the many, many cherry trees are blossoming beautifully, surrounding Takako’s house (which is just below a shrine on a hill) with sakura blossoms. When a classmate suggests a flower-viewing, they’re all up for it. The classmate, Morita, shows up, and they are eventually joined by another classmate Mitsukuni-kun, who is positively obssessed with Takako’s 14 cats. When Futako comes home from school she greets Sakura with, of course, a kiss. Sakura is at that moment be-aproned, making tamagoyaki for the gang. Morita naturally comments that they look like a married couple. Belatedly, Sakura is mortified for kissing Futako in front of everyone. At school the next day she keeps waiting for the rumors and whispers, but there aren’t any. When she asks Mori-chan about it, she’s told that everyone’s known about them kissing for months and months. She turns to some random schoolmate passing by and says, “Sakura and Futako kiss. Did you know?” and the classmate’s like “Yeah, I know. Everyone knows.” and keeps walking. ^_^
Sakura’s had it with Takako’s giant, unstable piles of books everywhere. She demands that her aunt clean up. Along with being a crazy cat lady, we know learn that Takako’s got an OCD, as well, because she can’t throw *anything* out. Sakura spends the week tying up and tossing books. In the end she gets muscles in her arms and a backache for her efforts. You just know Takako will buy more books a second later.
Futako becomes obsessed with the idea of eating a stray piece of rice off Sakura’s face, and spends a chapter staring intently at Sakura eats her meals. Sakura insists that this is where she crosses the line, darn it! She will NOT have that. By the time Futako gets a chance to do it, her boundaries have been pushed back one more step….Mori-chan’s like, “So, I guess your heart is prepared for it now, huh?” I sometimes wonder if Morita thinks that Sakura is an idiot….
Next up – the household is consumed by the mystery of how the cats are getting up onto the roof! There is a turret on the house, but no one knows how to get into it except, apparently, the cats. After the great turret hunt, it turns out that there’s stairs up to the top in Takako’s closet that she’s partially blocked off with books. The turret has a window pane missing, hence, cats in and out.
Summer is the time to make great memories – unless you’re Sakura, taking care of a household full of lazy jerks. No sea or mountains for her. She cooks meals, then lays around. We have a short sidetrack into Ichiko’s plans for the future – her family is too poor for a private school, so the national exam is where’s she’s headed. They bust her about not studying, although she insists she does. We also learn that the division of labor isn’t *entirely* uneven – Ichiko and Futako do the housekeeping and laundry, while Sakura does the cooking. Takako does nothing except whine and make a mess, but it is her house they’ve all invaded, so…. Several times during this volume she’s asked what she did before Sakura came over -the answer is, she relied a lot on Ichiko and Futako’s mother. They all go to the shrine festival, so Takemoto can draw them in yukata, and we get a one-page pool visit for the required bathing suit picture. (But with low service level – it’s more for fun than service.)
It’s school trip time. Most of the class is headed for Hokkaido, the remainder to Hokuriku. Sakura and Futako are in a group with one of the Student Council members, Enomoto, who is interested to see if the rumors about Sakura spoiling Futako are true (they are, of course, and she’s mightily impressed. In the end, she joins in and uses Sakura’s lap as a pillow. Predictably, Sakura doesn’t stop her.) And, bizarrely, they are also joined by cat-crazy Mitsukuni-kun, who isn’t sharing a room with them, at least. That leaves a four-person room for the three girls. Sadly for both groups, two typhoons bring a week of rain, soaking them at every turn.
Before they left for the trip, Sakura told Ichiko and Takako to take care of themselves and the cats properly. Ichiko protests that she doesn’t know how to cook, Futako always did that, and Takako says she doesn’t because her older sister, Sakura’s mother, always did that. Sakura and Futako leave, but they’re worried about the two women – and the cats. Ichiko thinks about going home, but her mother says no way – Takako lets you live there free, so stay there and take care of her, darnit!
The last chapter is from Ichiko and Takako’s perspective and, indeed, they are both incompetent at cleaning and cooking. Many instant noodles are consumed. Ichiko’s mom reluctantly feeds them, ragging that as two grown women they should be able to take care of themseleves. Grrr. After a few days, they develop a schedule – Ichiko studying in the morning and then going to school, Takako sleeping in, then waking up and doing her work at night, when Ichiko’s asleep. After a few days, they attempt to sort of straighten up, but as expected, when Sakura and Futako come home, the place is a pit and everyone’s starving.
Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 7
Service – 1
Crazy Cat Ladies – 10
Overall – 7
So…can someone tell me why I like this series? Cats, passive-aggressive lesbians, and OCDs. Seriously…