Monday, August 5, 2019

Missed it Monday - Waiting for Spring volume 1 ends with a tease (Manga Review)

Missed It Monday is a feature where I review manga or anime I didn't get to when they first came out. It's my attempt to see what quality might be out there that I missed.

Waiting for Spring vol.1 - 6.5/10

Waiting for Spring volume 1 (Kodansha Comics) was first published in English in 2017. I've had it on my list to check out since then, but I just didn't know if it would be any good and I wasn't hearing about it anywhere. This week, I finally bought a copy and, you know what, it wasn't bad. It was slightly different, and then...and THEN...I either have trans stuff on the brain or there was definitely a trans-baiting cliff hanger at the end of this volume. But more on that to come.

Waiting for Spring starts to look like it might almost be a reverse harem shoujo story. Mitsuki ends up befriending the four most popular boys in school. They are all on the basketball team and they are every girl's fantasy, apparently. From the beginning though, it appears that it is Asakura who will win Mitsuki's heart.

One day, they find that she's working in a little cafe but she begs them to be discrete because it would cause trouble for her if the other girls found out that she had become friends with the four. As they get to know each other, she realizes that they aren't the stuck-up pretty boys she assumed, and a friendship between them all forms.

Unfortunately, one of the girls in her class does find out. Finally Mitsuki tells her about the friendship and assures this girl, Reina, that she isn't dating any of them. At first, Reina looks relieved and is emphatic that no one can date them. Now we're thinking there will be the ultimate "if one girl can't have them, none can have them" sort of dynamic, turns out Reina is actually into yaoi and loves "shipping" the various boys on the basketball team with each other, so she doesn't want them dating because then it would be harder to ship them. Her fantasizing is ultimately played for humor in a number of situations and Reina and Mitsuki become close friends.

The boys have a big basketball game, and Mitsuki and Reina go to cheer them on. There is a huge crowd of all girls, but they aren't cheering, they're just taking pictures. And the team is losing. So Mitsuki starts cheering only to be sneered at by the other girls. However, the crowd gets into it when the boys rally around her cheering, and win the game.

Afterwards, Mitsuki and Asakura are talking, and Mitsuki is realizing that they might have mutual feelings for each other when a stranger from her past shows up. Mitsuki doesn't recognize this person at first. She had mentioned her older mentor Aya-chan at the beginning, but this couldn't possibly be Aya-chan in front of her now, could it? As Mitsuki says: "My Aya-chan was really strong and the coolest GIRL I know." This internal monologue is juxtaposed against a picture of this stranger looking slightly androgynous. Plus the emphasis on the word "girl" leads me to think there is some gender thing that Mitsuki is picking up on that isn't super clear from the art. Is Aya trans? Are they gender non-conforming? Or is Mitsuki saying this person looks too grown up and looks like a "woman" now rather than a "girl?" I just can't tell. But, I hope it's a true trans character! How cool and unexpected that would be!

Needless to say, although the rest of the story was pleasant enough to have me consider reading another volume, I MUST read the next one now just to find out about Aya. I think I'll give this volume a 6.5/10 because it was fine, but nothing special. We don't really know who Mitsuki is or why we should identify with her, but Asukura seems like a decent guy and there's always room to watch a cute couple treat each other well. But boy howdy, if there's real trans representation here, then I'm in. Stay tuned for a review of volume 2 when I get to it.

Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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