From the back cover:
Friendship and love are put to the test when Asaoka reveals to Yoh that he likes Haruna. To settle things once and for all, Yoh and Asaoka strike a deal—whoever loses the school sports meet will give up his feelings for her! Who will win the meet and Haruna’s heart?
Once again, the back cover blurb is wrong. I wouldn’t like Yoh at all if he’d participate in such a stupid wager! What actually happens is that Asaoka proposes that if Yoh performs better than he does at the sports festival, he won’t tell Haruna how he feels, which is something Yoh said would upset her to find out. That’s it. Yoh should sue the blurb for defamation of character.
Outspoken fan of the series that I am, it should surprise no one that I loved this volume to pieces. Uh-oh, I feel a list coming on. Brace yourselves.
1. How, during the sports festival, we get lots of low-dialogue pages featuring Yoh watching Asaoka watching Haruna or Asaoka watching Haruna watching Yoh.
2. Asaoka’s attempt to pass it all off as a joke on his part, which neither Yoh nor Mami buys. I particularly like his anguished eyes, when Haruna dismisses his impromptu confession as teasing, as he realizes that all of his jesting has cost him his credibility in serious matters.
3. The entire chapter where Yoh ends up hanging out at Haruna’s house, including but not limited to: the talk he has with her dad, her brother’s starry-eyed admiration, and the handful of freshly picked radishes he receives as a parting gift.
4. Even the less-good chapters involving a rude girl at Yoh’s prep school are still lots of fun.
In summation, in Kawahara’s hands, plots like sports festivals and romantic rivals are imbued with a special warmth that can both move and amuse. I really hope we get some of her other series here after High School Debut finishes serialization.
Review copy provided by the publisher.