Rakka Ryuusui, Volume 2 is much like its predecessor, Rakka Ryuusui, Volume 1. The school year progresses in a series of 4-panel gag comics – and the very occasional semi-serious comic. The four protagonists go to a pool for summer vacation, they go to karaoke and the like. Once in a blue moon they actually practice archery, which is kind of crucial as they *are* the archery club. Almost never do we see them in class.
The beginning of the book starts off with one of the most realistic, and yet odd, perspectives on the school year I’ve ever seen. Where other series discuss school starting and flower viewing, this book has the characters largely obsessed with their pollen allergies. I mean, for pages and pages. It was pretty funny. As a person whose school life was, in fact, characterized by what allergies I was suffering that season, it felt strangely nostalgic in a way that most schoolgirl stories don’t for me. ^_^ (Although thinking about it, my school life was about as typical as absolutely possible. Clubs, sports teams, band, culture festivals, sports day, falling in love with my sempai. what a cliche…. ^_^)
I had a little concern that Akiho’s crush for Minatsu had been set aside, but just after the allergy thing, we get a few glimpses into the fact that the crush has now developed into a raging lust. So, no worries there.
And there’s also a little character development, as well. Akiho worries that she is not improving at Kyuudo, but Minatsu-sempai explains that she’s been doing it since she was a small child – and that she really doesn’t like it at all. In fact, she resents having been made to practice. She no longer competes, and was all ready to quit and dissolve the club, when Akiho and Haruka joined. Now, she’s having so much fun again because of them and she wants to keep on doing the sport. Yay!
The biggest problem of this – and other 4-koma series – is that the humor is wacky and often language based, like puns, or just silly misunderstandings and the like. Lots of sweatdrop humor. Like Dilbert or Ziggy or any number of American comic strips, it’s not necessarily laugh out loud humor – or even obvious what’s going on at all – just lots of talking heads talking. So even if you can read Japanese, it’s not always “funny” so much as “amusing.”
But never underestimate the power of an amusing comic about cute girls in the archery club after a hard day of work. ^_^
Art – 6
Story – 7
Characters – 6
Yuri – 6
Service – 4 (some nudity and breast gags and the obligatory bathing suit stuff)
Overall – 6
Again, like Tori Koro, Rakka Ryuusui is also a fun and a painless way to push your Japanese kanji skills up a notch or two.