In Volume 3 of Nakatani Nio’s Yagate Kimi ni Naru, (やがて君になる) some very good things happen and some very not good things happen.
I will begin with the not-good things, which is to say, the main plot continues to throw up some serious warning signs. In my reviews of Volume 1 and Volume 2, I have expressed very real concerns about this narrative. And generally, I’ve received a lot of flack for this opinion. To make my point I am going to review Volume 3, but I will pretend Touko is a guy. I will call him Tou-kun. It is very important that you play along with me, so you understand my point. Thank you.
Yuu is very happy with her relationship with Tou-kun. She is pleased to accompany him as a friend, to support him in Student Council endeavors and to cheer him on in the club relay. But, Tou-kun clearly wants more from Yuu than she is comfortable giving. He coerces her into kissing him from time to time, without her express consent. And, on the eve of the sports festival he insists that, if he wins his race, she will kiss him for real, taking the lead. She does not dislike kissing him, but she does not like it, either and really is made deeply uncomfortable by this request.
When the time comes, Tou-kun drags her to a quiet place and demands his ‘reward.’ Yuu just cannot bring herself to do it….
Hopefully, my point becomes plain in this scenario. If Touko was a guy, the lack of consent and coercion she is using on Yuu would be disturbing to most of you. It should be no less disturbing because she is a girl. Coercion is coercion and lack of consent is lack of consent.
That having been said, as it must, a side plot has become very interesting. The book begins with an extended look at Sayaka, Touko’s Vice President on the Student Council. It has been very obvious to me from the beginning that her feelings for Touko are much more than merely friendship and that while she understands those feelings will not be returned, she resents Yuu for being the target of Touko’s attention, when she herself longs for it.
In Volume 2, Sayaka learned, quite unexpectedly, that her homeroom teacher is going out with the owner of the cafe they had visited. In Volume 3, we see that the two women live together and are lovers. Sayaka’s nascent gaydar is activated and she goes back to the cafe to speak with the owner, who turns out to be a very decent person. Miyako admits that she figured Sayaka was gay, and confirms that, yes, she and the teacher (as we had ourselves seen in a lovely homelife scene) are lovers. Sayaka is thrilled to have an example of an adult woman in a stable relationship and I was likewise thrilled for her to have one as a person to get advice from and, as a role model. Miyako is very helpful and Sayaka feels much unburdened.
Art – 8
Story – 3 or 8, depending on whose story we’re talking about
Characters – 9
Yuri – 8
Service – 1
Overall – 8….
…the beginning of the volume gave me hope, but the end of the volume was very frustrating. At *least* Nakatani-sensei has given readers a not-dysfunctional relationship with Riko and Miyako and a smart, self aware young lesbian in Sayaka. Because what’s going on with Yuu and Touko is really not okay.
You can decide for yourself whether you consider this a problematic narrative or not, as Bloom Into You, Volume 1 is now available in English from Seven Seas.