Kare Kano 5 by Masami Tsuda: B+

From the back cover:
School’s out! But since Soichiro is going to be away competing in a kendo tournament all summer, he and Yukino are forced to spend their vacation apart. Will their romance be able to survive the separation? Yukino decides to spend her free time hanging out with her gal pals, but soon her friend Tsubasa announces she’s leaving home. Tsubasa’s upset about her father’s plans to get remarried, and freaks out even more when she meets her new brother-to-be. Yukino tries to be there for her friend while still nurturing her relationship with Soichiro from across the miles.

I liked this volume a bit more than the last one, even though Arima was hardly in it.

The first couple of chapters dealt primarily with Yukino’s new friends and really felt like an entirely different series as a result. Most aren’t completely likeable, but I suppose that makes them good matches for Yukino. Tsubasa’s story about her dad bored me at first, but I was surprised to find that I actually really liked Kazuma, her stepbrother, and enjoyed the chapter where they get to know one another a good deal.

There was also a lot of focus on Yukino’s family, which was cool. We really see her family a lot more than families are seen in the other manga I read. From learning about Tsubasa and Hideaki’s situations at home, she also began to realize that perhaps she hadn’t really understood what kind of a strain Arima’s family situation has put on him. At least the tribulations of the supporting characters actually had some kind of impact on the main couple.

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  1. Then you’re not going to like what’s coming next. I’m like you. That’s why I got really frustrated because it took her SOO long to run from all the supporting characters without ANY potential like Yukino and Arima and get back to Arima. But I stuck around and it was such an amazing ride, so I hope you do as well. But that’s a head’s up if you don’t want the commitment of more than 10 volumes to go before you get back into action. It’s such a slow-moving plot, but then for the last 5 volumes or so, it hits you with a big BANG! Like that. It’s worth the ride, but there’s a lot of patience needed. It’s not going to get any quicker, and definitely not on the main couple until the end….

    If you want to know the truth, the focus gets a little better on the couple in the next couple of volumes. Then from volume 10-13/14, I forget the number, you’re focused on Kazuma and the other characters. I love Kazuma, but Tsubasa’s such a brat I ended up hating that pairing.

    After that the Arima ark swings in. It’s really intense, and you can see definite character development, though I really think Arima’s the one that changed most. It’s a bit ridiculous how the characters ended up, but the ride towards Arima’s change is great. Her art significantly improves, and ends up very airy and unique.

    Kare Kano might be a bit longwinded but it’s still one of my favorite manga because of the loveliness of the first few volumes and the last few volumes. If only she focused on the main characters! That’s where the gold is…

  2. Thanks for an informative post! I’d heard some about the overall structure of the series, and figured I was in for at least a few more volumes about the supporting characters. I know Tsubaki gets a love interest at some point (this bit was in the anime.)

    I’ll definitely be reading the entire series, since I actually bought it all as it was being released. It’s good to know it returns to its roots (in a sense) towards the end. 🙂

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