As Volume 5 of Kanojo to Camera to Kanojo no Kisetsu (彼女とカメラと彼女の季節）opens, we’re facing a terrible moment. Yuki, who has never before been obviously malicious, is showing Akari a picture of Rintarou, half-naked in bed. Akari refuses to be cowed and asks Yuki about the picture, at which Yuki crumbles. It turns out that she’s always desired Rin, but he sees her more like a sister. In the guise of a photo session, she stripped him down and tried to seduce him. Rin’s reaction was much like Akari’s when he tried to seduce her. He throws Yuki off and they have a honest talk, in which she is forever rejected as a woman by him.
Akari’s reaction to this revelation is to set the timer on her camera and film herself and Yuki making love. This Yuki, Akari thinks, is perfect.
They go their separate ways, Yuki in Tokyo, Akari and Rin in town, working towards their exams. They meet up by accident after exams, and it’s clear that the ties between them have unraveled. Friends, obviously, but no more. Even when they finally graduate, and Rin offers them both a button from his jacket, they laugh at his presumption. Everything between them is gone…until an underclassman asks for Yuki’s tie. All of a sudden, Akari realizes nothing at all is resolved and drags Yuki away from the crowd to finally make her feelings clear to both herself and Yuki, once and for all.
Seven years pass. Rin is a salaryman, Akari teaches at a pre-school. Rin and Akari stay in touch, but neither have heard from Yuki in seven years. When an exhibit of Yuki’s photography comes to town, Akari hurries over to see it, but just as she starts to feel sad, because what she had really hoped was to see Yuki herself, Yuki appears behind her. They embrace as the narration asks if we want to go take some pictures.
This was a surprisingly cathartic volume, for a series that has been building tension without release for 5 volumes. And in many ways, that was what I liked best about the series. Yuki’s desire to take photos, she says right away, is to see people in their realest moments, and we’ve been doing nothing but seeing those moments, with hardly a break. So when finally Yuki’s cool mask shatters, the tension releases utterly in a way it could not have when Rin had his moment of pain or Akari hit her wall.
I’m fascinated also, that for a series so enraptured by photography, that the art itself makes no attempt at photorealism, but does a fantastic job of capturing facial expression and body language.
The ending was unexpectedly pleasant, which is always a nice bonus. ^_^
Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 6
Service – 4
Overall – 8
If you’re a reader that likes seriously intense, Dear Brother-levels of emotion, you might well enjoy Kanojo to Camera to Kanojo no Kisetsu. I know I did.