Writer/Artist: Kou Yaginuma
Translation/Adaptation: Hiroko Mizuno, Glen Isip, Tomoe Tsutsumi, Nicole Dochych, Jill Rittymanee
What They Say:
In a Tokyo in the not too distant future a young girl studies deligently with ambitions of soon attending space academy. If things work out just right, her future may very well be among the stars as well. And yet, everytime she looks up to the stars with tremendous hope for the future, there is a sense of melancholy in her heart. A sadness surrounds Asumi, as the very concept of space exploration has profoundly changed her life for as long as she can remember.
After a short dream of times past, Asumi awakes to a brand new day, signaling the start of her Junior year. Things refuse to start off quietly, though, as the gang is soon solicited by a reporter asking about Shu, who has recently become the only high school student left in the selection test. Meanwhile, Fuchiya manages to spot Marika of all people working part time at a coffee shop. When Kei hears a group of boys badmouthing Shu, things take a turn for the worse as she assaults them in her anger. Though she at first refuses to apologize on principle, a quick talk with Shu helps her put things in perspective and set things right.
Things continue to change as a new girl appears at the Seagull Dorm. This girl, known as Mikan Tokushima, is rather talkative and soon manages to depress Asumi a little with an offhanded remark about Marika’s maturity. Afterwards, Kei pushes herself to keep up with Shu even a little during training, and as a result feels she is able to become closer to him. From that point, Fuchiya gives Asumi a push that helps her make Marika feel more at home at her job, and Shu makes Mikan understand that Asumi wants to be seen as an upperclassman despite her size. Things really explode, however, when Dr. Sano returns to the campus only to punch out the chairman for trivializing the victims of the Lion. Fortunately, this action allows Sano to finally reconcile with Asumi’s dad and come to grips with his past and what he lost due to the Lion.
The rest of the volume takes a break from delving into the in our characters’ lives to instead have Asumi deal with the past. Kasane, the girl whose arm was scarred by the Lion crash that Asumi met long ago, begins appearing around the local park and even the Seagull Dorm. When Asumi finally manages to track her down, Kasane claims to be in Tokyo for exam courses, and she seems to have simply seen Asumi by chance and become curious. As Asumi becomes closer and closer to Kasane, though, it soon becomes clear that she actually ran away from home, and is living in the park. When Asumi confronts her, Kasane admits that she has been having trouble at school, and doesn’t have a single friend. Upon hearing this, Asumi responds by telling her that they will always, always be friends. This, along with a few more words of encouragement, allows Kasane to truly open up to those around her at school, and find a place that she belongs.
As the volume closes, a new training trip is announced, Asumi reflects on how things are changing, and a reporter continues to look closer into details about Marika.
With this volume, it becomes clear that things are changing for our heroes. As they continue down their respective paths, we see just how much each of them are growing in the pursuit of their dreams, which is simply a joy to watch. Additionally, this volume decides to go back and give some real closure to characters who haven’t appeared in quite a while and seemed unlikely to ever appear again. Though this is unexpected, it is certainly appreciated and shows that every character, big and small, have their own story to tell. While this volume may not have as many twists and turns as those before it, it still goes quite a way in allowing the characters to really blossom and grow.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A-
Package Rating: A-
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Vertical, Inc.
Release Date: September 6th, 2011