Monday, September 23, 2019

Missed it Monday - Waiting for Spring Volume 2 (Manga Review)

Boy on cover giving the peace sign in school uniform
Missed it Monday is the ongoing series where I review manga and anime that I missed when they first came out.

Waiting for Spring vol. 2 - 6/10

At the end of the first volume, there was a strong tease about what plot volume 2 of Waiting for Spring (Kodansha Comics) would introduce into the series. In volume 1, we meet Mitsuki, your average girl heroine who struggles to make friends, and the group of male basketball players she can't get away from. Leaving from watching their game, Mitsuki runs into an old friend, the girl she looked up to in elementary school, except "she's" a "he" (gasp) and the star of the best highschool basketball team in the area (double gasp)!

So my hope, I'm sure because I'm trans, is that this person, Aya, was a transgender man and actually transitioned from girl to boy. But alas, no. Volume 2 makes clear that Aya was always a boy and that Mitsuki just misunderstood the whole time they were in young (they met on the playground). Darn. The creator didn't do anything wrong with this version of the twist, but I was hopeful we'd get some real trans rep. Nope, just a mistaken identity.

What this sets up, of course, is that Aya is going to want Mitsuki, but Mitsuki has already fallen for the aloof Towa, and Towa might actually know his feelings but is sort of leading Mitsuki on by being non-committal due to the no-dating clause of his team (while still giving her way too many false hopes).

What we've got brewing after two volumes is ultimately a very typical shoujo romance manga. "Average" girl, who is actually "special" because she's so normal and sincere (gag me - girls can have all sorts of personalities and still be awesome - they don't have to be door mats to be desirable - trope must die!), has two guys who will chase after her, but only in confusing ways that don't really give her any firm sense of their real intentions (because apparently all guys in manga are infants and can't express themselves clearly - this does a disservice to the many emotionally competent boys and men out there IRL - not that there aren't emotionally immature men too. But jeez already manga boy, just tell the girl you like her. It isn't that hard).

Anyway. It's all BORING. And, like my gripes about some other series recently, we don't get any actual insight into any part of Mitsuki's personhood other than her thoughts about boys and her own inferiority complex. I'm sorry, but people do have hobbies, and friends, and thoughts on other things, even in high-school. These are all more or less stock characters in stock scenes and I want more.

The writing is fine, the art is fine, there isn't anything overly problematic, there isn't any service. But it's just so been-there-done-that. There isn't anything interesting about a single person in the whole thing. Not Mitsuki, not Towa, not Aya, and not any of the other basketball players. So Waiting for Spring volume 2 gets a passable 6/10, but I'm going to probably deprioritize this series for now. It's just not exciting writing.

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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