Crimson Hero 5 by Mitsuba Takanashi: B

From the back cover:
Out walking in the rain, Nobara and Yushin are mistaken for a couple by passersby. Nobara wants to tell Yushin that she is in love with him, but he already has a girlfriend—Satomi. Yushin, worried that Satomi might get the wrong idea about his relationship with Nobara, leaves Nobara behind to walk home by himself—and comes across Satomi kissing another boy in the street.

My first reaction upon reading the back cover blurb is, “Well, that’s convenient.” It actually plays out better than I thought it would, though. It’s not a simple decision for Yushin to switch to Nobara now that Satomi is out of the way, since he feels he’s partly in the wrong for not spending enough time with her.

And, yeah, the romance stuff isn’t bad, but it has really taken over all of a sudden. There is some volleyball action—a new member joins the team and the girls also get to attend a ritzy training camp along with the boys’ team—but nearly everything works its way back to Nobara and her feelings for Yushin by the end. As much as I like them together, I like either of them being sporty and determined more than awkward and red-faced.

There are a few things to like, though, about how it’s handled. One is that Nobara makes a promise to herself that she won’t let her feelings for Yushin enter her mind when she’s on the court, and the second that she tells him it’s fine if he wants to focus all his energy on volleyball, because she intends to do the same. Just because she likes him doesn’t mean she’s going to become clingy. And even the Haibuki situation is interesting. He, at first, seemed like a likable enough, if quiet, guy, but has recently proven himself to be short-tempered and creepy.

So, no, not my favorite volume, but there are tournaments coming up, so hopefully the series will soon return to what it does best.

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