From the back cover:
After kissing Kiri accidentally, Narumi struggles to keep his composure during the All-Japan Beauty Tournament. With everything on the line, can the Scissors Project even make it through the preliminaries?
Sometimes the overall feel of a volume is so cute that I can’t help but like it, even though it also contains myriad things at which I roll my eyes.
We start with the continuation of the All-Japan Beauty Tournament. At the end of volume eight, Narumi and Kiri accidentally bumped lips when they were tripped by a scheming competitor. We resume with both of them sitting, dazed, and realizing just in time that they should get a move on if they don’t want to be eliminated in the first round. Round two involves taming a brat of a kid, which Kiri awesomely does by giving him the haircut of his favorite TV hero, though why she waits 45 minutes into the 60-minute round to actually talk to the kid, I couldn’t say.
The competition adjourns for a week, leaving time for romance drama to ensue! I like that Kiri is pretty nonchalant about the accidental smooch, saying, “I didn’t hate it,” while Narumi is the one who flees and freaks out. When Kiri’s dad is conveniently whisked off to America, extracting a promise from Narumi to look after Kiri, the two spend some time alone wherein Kiri acts clingy because she’s afraid of cockroaches and Narumi valiantly vanquishes one on her behalf. By various means, Ochiai finds out about that, Narumi finds out about Ochiai’s feelings, Ochiai declares that he won’t hold back any longer, and it’s a whole big tangle of cute drama, pretty much.
Now that the focus is on Kiri and the two boys who like her, the annoying side characters are left far in the background and I don’t miss them at all. Arai’s art, delicate and perfect for drawing hair, also excels at more romantic scenes, and there are many panels in which Ochiai’s and Narumi’s softened expressions really catch the eye. Too, I like the gradual way Arai has built up the possibility that Narumi and Kiri could actually feel something for one another; it certainly didn’t seem possible earlier in the series.