Say, I Love You Vol. #09 Manga Review

Say, I Love You Vol. #09 Manga Review A wonderful change of pace

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Kanae Hazuki
Translation: Alethea and Athena Nibley

What They Say
Megumi has beaten Mei in the School Idol Contest. And to the victor go the spoils: a date with Yamato. Mei says she’s fine with it, but she’s never been good at hiding her feelings, and her friends can tell she’s concerned. But when Mei pays a visit to Yamato’s older brother at his salon, she hears about the feelings he’s been carrying all this time… and learns something new about love.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
As the volume starts, Yamato and Megumi go on their date. Frustrated about this, Mei decides to go visit Yamato’s brother, Daichi, at his work place and thank him for his help. Obviously, the “date” ends up being Yamato thinking of Mei the whole time, though it does at least seem to give Megumi some sort of closure, so it’s not a complete waste of time. And fortunately it doesn’t result in any pointless, silly drama, which is a definite plus.

With all that out of the way, though, we hit the meat of the volume, which turns out to be centered around Daichi and his assistant, Kyoko. This of course takes us away from the school and into the more adult world of the barber shop, which is definitely a nice change of pace. Though Kyoko quickly learned what a strong and passionate person Daichi was, she’s never been able to get him to cut her hair. Kyoko then passes this worry onto Mei, who in turn asks Yamato, at least giving the main characters a little part in this arc. It’s then that Yamato tells Mei about Daichi’s past in love with a girl named Suzu. It’s a really powerful little story, watching them awkwardly get closer to one another and open up, with Suzu having to deal with her image problems along the way. And though the reader is told from the start the tragic way that it comes to close, it still hits quite hard when it finally happens.

Following that, we jump back to the present. It’s here that we get to see Kyoko and Daichi trying to figure out how to treat one another. It’s yet another strong story with a twist, forcing the characters to deal with the raw issue of Daichi’s past. Will Daichi and Kyoko be able to overcome that and find their place with one another, or is their relationship doomed to stay as it is?

In Summary
Though the last volume really dropped the ball, this one picks it up and runs with it. The first chapter is a little bland, dealing with the fallout of the last volume, but it’s not the worst thing ever and at least doesn’t linger as long as it could. Once it’s over, though, the book really takes off, shooting us into a surprising and refreshing new setting and sort of story. It really does feel like a breath of fresh air, and it doesn’t hurt that the tale is one of the absolute best the series has had so far, proving to be quite the emotional rollercoaster by the time it’s done. The prior book may have had me worried for the future of the series, but this volume proves that the potential is absolutely still there. Even if the last volume turned you off, this one makes for a fantastic read that’s sure to please romance fans and fans of the series in the past, so definitely give it a look.

Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: August 25th, 2015
MSRP: $10.99