In Volume 3 of Kuzushiro’s Ani no Yome to Kurashiteimasu. (兄の嫁と暮らしています。), Shino and Nozomi are starting to “see” each other as fully realized individuals, beyond their previous relationship as sisters-in-law.
This volume focuses on Nozomi, particularly. And this is critical, because Shino does not yet think of Nozomi as a whole individual, as most people don’t with relatives. We think of them in relationship to ourselves, rather than as their own selves. But in this volume, we learn about Nozomi’s relationship with her late husband and her perception of Shino. While Shino learns about Nozomi’s family life…and has the unpleasant experience of having to deal with Nozomi’s mother’s scolding, as she stands at her brother’s graveside. It’s a grating experience, but Shino’s completely able to manage it with only slight frustration. We’re reminded that Shino is a very decent person, when she doesn’t tell Nozomi’s mom to shut up.
But later, as she waits for a very late Nozomi at home, Shino has a quiet little melt-down. Nozomi makes it home at nearly midnight to find Shino curled up in front of the door, desperately trying to not fall asleep.
Up until now, I’ve felt very much that Shino didn’t see Nozomic learly as a person, but as the object of a crush she decided she has. At this point, the playing board has been cleared for them, I think and if they do develop a romantic relationship of their own, it won’t feel forced.
Art – 7 This is Kuzushiro-sensei at her mainstream-est in terms of art.
Story – 7 Overwrought and tense, but not unreadably so
Characters – 7 Completely likable on their own
Yuri – 3 Mild, mostly service as of yet. But I expect it will get there
Service – 5 Bathing and sleeping together, neck rubs and hugs. Mild for a Square Enix/YG Comic.
Overall – 7
I find myself much less uncomfortable with this story as compared to a similarish relationship in tMnR’s Tatoeto Dokonu Itoda Toshitemo (たとえとどかぬ糸だとしても ), primarily because the brother is dead in this one and alive in that one. It’s amazing how a single detail changes everything.