In Volume 4, we left Ushio and Sumika not actually saying anything important to one another. Now, in Volume 5 of Sasamekikoto (ささめきこと), the walls between them are not getting any easier to get past.
In fact, it’s safe to say that this entire volume follows two young women who have something *incredibly* important to say to one another, who both find a myriad of ways to not say anything at all.
They smile at one another, and pretend that there’s nothing wrong, but they both hate it. They hate what it’s doing to them. Even more – they hate what it is doing to the other. They can *see* that the other one is suffering, but they are completely paralyzed and unable to say anything that needs to be said. They each hate the fake smiles and brave face the other wears. Most importantly, they each blame themselves for the other’s unhappiness.
Most fans will find this volume frustrating, but it serves two distinct purposes. The first, and most reality-based, is that it indicates that the series is in for a longer haul. No longer is this the goofy love-comedy of two girls in love but who can’t figure it out. Now it is a longer series, full of do-ra-ma, about two girls who are in love but can’t figure it out. Since we’ve made it to 5 volumes, I’d expect at least a few more tear-soaked volumes before it all gets settled.
The second purpose is that the story has, in effect, to be rewritten. The first three volumes were silly. They set up a bunch of untenable Yuri tropes that, one at a time, have been set aside for the more realistic, more dramatic “real” story line. In this volume “Akemi”s modeling career comes to an end, and all the characters but a few – including the actual lesbian couple, who can see the problem easily enough – seem to shift back slightly to allow room for the full-on misery of Ushio and Sumi simply not talking about what’s on their mind.
In the middle of throngs of people, even standing right next to one another, Ushio and Sumi are lonely. Right now they are struggling to find who they themselves are and if they can do that, then they might be able to find one another. Or, well, that’s what I’d do if I were writing this manga.
This series is becoming better on the one side, because it’s dealing with the real gap between knowing what you want and being able to accept that that is what you want, in a world that does not approve of such things. On the other, it’s really annoying because I hate mopey characters. ^_^;
However, I’m more than willing to give Ushio and Sumi some time to get over themselves. I eagerly look forward to the next volume in which I think a *terrible crisis* will rear it’s ugly head. ^_^
Art – 7
Characters – 8
Story – 8
Yuri – 7
Service – 1
Overall – 8
More volumes means more teenaged moping.