Friday, March 17, 2023

Adachi and Shimamura Volume 4 (Manga Review)

Two high school firls walking past a stairwell in a school, one tugs on the others sleeve
    I know I'm going to take flak for this, but I just continue to not really like "Adachi and Shimamura" and even after re-reading Volume 4 several times, it's just not doing anything for me. Of course, your tastes might be different, what connects with you will be different than what connects with me, and I recognize that the light novels are much beloved. So take my thoughts with a grain of salt if you're a fan of the light novels.
    Volume 4 centers around Adachi becoming jealous/insecure that Shimamura is talking to other students in their new class, Shimamura reconnecting with a slightly strange old friend, and Adachi begging her way into a sleepover at Shimamura's house. 
    Where I continue to struggle with this series is with Shimamura's character. Is she asexual? Is she aromantic? Is she just not a good friend? Is she not really interested in other people at all (maybe a form of narcissism?). Between her interactions with the new friends, her old friend, and Adachi, she just comes off as cold and disinterested and almost that she's using other people. Not necessarily in an intentionally mean way, but just in an aloof/oblivious/dismissive way. And I'm not sure I buy it as a realistically written character, at least not without more background on perhaps where this personality comes from.
    A commenter on another post of mine, mentioned similarities between "Bloom into You" and another manga, and I think comparing "Adachi and Shimamura" to "Bloom into You" offers an interesting perspective. Where Yuu, from "Bloom Into You," is a strong, thoroughly thought through and realized asexual/aromantic character (or somewhere in those spectrums), Shimamura in "Adachi and Shimamura" comes off as dense, disinterested, and unintentionally hurtful/oblivious - not as a fully realized representation of part of the LGBQT spectrum. Long story short, I don't find her character likable nor particularly believable.
    I hear that in the end of the story (SPOILER) they end up together as a couple (END SPOILER - someone spoiled it for me), I'm not sure the journey to get there is worth the inelegant writing, character depictions, and plot. I just don't buy it as being in the least realistic as a depiction of a real person (Shimamura, that is). I'm okay with not liking a character as long as that character feels honestly written. She just doesn't to me. 
    I'm also not feeling any good slow burn vibes. It's just frustrating to read in every moment. It's uncomfortable in the character interactions, even when we're supposed to be getting sweet moments. I probably will stop reading after this volume. Sorry again if you love this story. I'm totally curious why you do and what I'm missing, so comments (kindly written even when you disagree with me) are always welcome. 


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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