Kotoko and her friends made it through the end of school, graduated, and even got accepted into college --- though it’s just the college connected to their high school. But if they were expecting college to be any different from high school, they were wrong. They’re still grouped together with other members of the not-so-bright Class F. Naoki is still a jerk. Kotoko is still in love with him, despite his being a jerk. And Kin-chan is still determined to marry Kotoko, despite the fact that he didn’t make it into college. Even with all these problems, Kotoko is determined to have a wonderful collegiate life. But when she ends up in a tennis club in an attempt to keep an eye on Naoki, she gets more than she bargained for. While she’s stuck in practices with their crazed club leader, Naoki is getting hit on by a beautiful genius girl who is in classes with him!
Kaoru Tada’s shojo classic series continues its silly antics, though readers may feel a little like Kotoko --- nothing much has changed here. Even though she’s in college, she’s facing the same problems as in volume one. The humorous situations, the unrequited love, both seem to have stalled slightly in this part of the story. But even though this feels more like a placeholder volume than a progression of Kotoko’s tale, readers who liked volume one will still find moments to savor here. Kotoko’s tennis coach is an appealing new character. He has depths --- and desperation --- to him, which readers will sympathize with. Naoki, on the other hand, offers hints of humanity, but not nearly enough to sustain the crush that Kotoko suffers from. Readers will have to use their own flawed feelings to help them identify with hers here. The returning characters, Kotoko included, are otherwise as charming and fun as they were in the first volume.
As this volume is more about the comedy than even the first volume was, Tada’s art is a touch more chaotic. But she always has a firm grasp on what she wants her drawings to convey, so they never get out of hand. The final image of the book is funny and effective, showing just how much Kotoko has lost control of her situation. By this volume, readers won’t even notice the slightly dated air of the art, which comes from this being an older title. They’ll be too caught up in Kotoko’s problems and/or too busy laughing to care. And at the end, they’ll be eager for volume three.
Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith on October 18, 2011
Itazura Na Kiss, Volume 2