During summer vacation, the girls all head to a hot spring, accompanied by freshman Haru and, more notably, the teacher that Haru says is her sister’s lover. Fumi overstays her time in the outside onsen because she’s embarrassed and subsequently passes out. When she wakes in her room, the teacher comes in to see if she’s okay, and Fumi ends up asking her a question about liking another woman. This is not unconnected, as Fumi’s embarrassment is, in part, at catching herself looking at Akira’s naked body in the bath.
Later that night, Fumi also inadvertently says out loud that she’s in love with A-chan, and Akira says, also out loud, that she knows. There is a tension now between Fumi and Akira; but whether it’s anticipatory or not, they aren’t quite sure and neither are we.
Once home, Akira visits Fumi and asks if maybe they should just try dating and see how that works out. Body and mind exploding with fear/joy/freaking right out, Fumi has completely lost whatever cool she usually has. But, at some point, Fumi pulls herself together and, when they are out on their first date, she kisses Akira with no second thoughts.
Fumi is speaking with her friends, Pon-chan and Mugi, when Pon-chan asks if Fumi is “that way,” (and Mugi flips out at Pon-chan because you don’t *ask* that kind of thing!) we see that Fumi has once again adapted to her new, stronger self and replies quite calmly and honestly that yes, she is “that way,” then lets her friends work it out for themselves. Which they do, very quickly, because after all Fumi is their friend and they love her. (In a nutshell, the number one reason for coming out, IMHO.)
But, wait, there’s more! Fumi’s parents leave on a romantic trip over Christmas, leaving Fumi and Akira to stay home. They buy cake, crack open the bottle of champagne Fumi’s Dad had received and Fumi proceeds to get just tipsy enough to say things she wants to say to A-chan. And so she does. About how she wants to have physical intimacy with her friend. Knowing that the excuse of the alcohol is the best lead-in she’s ever going to get, Fumi drags Akira about three steps forward in the relationship, the same ways she has since the very beginning – by being honest.
Fumi ends by saying that it’s really probable that A-chan’s “like” and her “like” are different, but she really likes A-chan…who responds by embracing her.
And I smiled. I smiled through just about every single page of this book. My god what I would have given for Fumi to have existed when I was 15.
Art – 8
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri – 10
Service – 1
Overall – 10
If this book is ever translated into English, I will endeavor to make this story the light at the end of the tunnel for every gay teen in America. There are a lot of young women out there who need Fumi in their life.