Sasamekikoto (ささめきこと) Volume 4 is the story of a misunderstanding. In fact, it is the anatomy of a misunderstanding, built up from the bare bones of misapprehension, attached by ligaments and tendons of high-school drama, and filled in with the muscle of self-doubt, covered in the thin skin of self-awareness.
(I’m not sure if the above paragraph is accurate, but it is impressively disgusting, isn’t it? ^_^)
The days immediately following Ushio’s and Sumi’s confrontation in Volume 3 are awkward and increasingly painful for both of them. We learn that Ushio was seen to have kissed Sumi, but she vehemently denies this, claiming that Sumi is – obviously – a “normal” girl, as opposed to her own publicly, repeatedly, stated perversion.
Sumi is, of course, not “normal” at all, but beset by fear and indecision, she makes no attempt to breach the gap between her, Ushio and their true feelings for each other.
The book them takes a look back once again, continuing the story of Ushio’s arrival in middle school and the fallout after her proclamation that she likes cute girls. It comes as no surprise that the girls around her mock her, call her “Lez-ko” and are generally unkind. Sumi makes an awesome Prince, standing by Ushio, befriending her and eventually making it possible for Ushio to become part of the crowd once again.
It is on a class ski trip that Sumi is suddenly faced with the disturbing fact that her feelings for Ushio are not merely friendship.
Back in “real” time, Ushio and Sumi are >this< close to saying something, to touching, to breaking through the wall, but when the book comes to an end, nothing has been said or done. The volume begins more lightly, with a side story about the president of the Joshibu, Tomoe, who turns out to be from an extremely wealthy family. Her lover, Miyako, is seen as an affront to the family dignity as much because she is the daughter of the chauffeur as because they are both girls. But Tomoe doesn’t care – she lives openly and happily – the complete opposite to the veil of lies that have trapped both Ushio and Sumi. Volume 4 is more serious than the previous three, but that is not a bad thing. The overall impression I had is that we’re now allowed to take Ushio and Sumi a little more seriously, and the accept that this is not “just a phase” or a whim or a crush.
Art – 7
Characters – 8
Story – 8
Yuri – 7
Service – 4
Overall – 8
Will it turn out okay in the end? I don’t know, but I feel a few more plot complications coming on before we find out.