Because Kimi Nakare went a couple of months without a new chapter, I kind of lost track of it. Turns out a new one came out in February! Apologies for the lateness, but I’m hoping to see this series get back into the swing of things.
As an aside, because the title of this manga has “xxxru” in it, I seem to get quite a few hits from people searching for Russian adult videos. My apologies to you visitors as well; you’re not going to see any of that here.
Hayato’s serious about his confession to Nobuko—he even says he’ll quit being an idol if it’s to be with her! The class reacts in shock, while Nobuko runs away again to the nurse’s office. However, the nurse understands right away that love is at the heart of the matter, and the reason Nobuko hesitates is because she has feelings for him as well.
As previously announced, WARP has their final handshake event, and their most loyal fans show up. Surprisingly, despite the revelation that Jirou has a girlfriend (now fiancee), he hasn’t received any backlash. This is attributed to the fact that Jirou’s fans are mostly older, more mature women.
As for Shingo, he meets a girl holding a memorial photo of her older sister, the hospitalized girl who inspired him to keep working as an idol. Shingo finds out that the older sister had told the story of their encounter many times, but assumed that Shingo, busy celebrity that he is, wouldn’t have remembered. In the end, Shingo asks the other members of WARP if they can keep the group together after all.
The Paparazzi Rant
At one point in this chapter, a newly introduced character goes on a tirade about the evils of tabloids and how they turn fans against the idols. “It’s not the fault of the idols for having relationships, it’s the fault of the tabloids for reporting this information in the first place!” The reason this stands out is that it feels to me like this character is a mouthpiece for the author, but I can’t say one or way or another. Moreover, I’m not sure how much I should delve into breaking down this statement. On the one hand, it sounds a lot like “it’s okay if the idols do whatever, as long as the fans don’t know,” which seems ignorant. On the other hand, my ideal picture of idol fandom is akin to pro wrestling, where the fans know that the stars are putting on an act. Taken this way, it’s more a criticism of tabloids trying to arm the pitchforks of the fans, that the tabloids are less about journalism and more about exploitation.
I mentioned in the last review that each chapter always feels like it’s going to be the last, and this one was no exception. We only learned about that hospitalized girl a chapter ago in a flashback, and now she’s dead! That definitely felt like a climactic moment, but to have it come into play in the very next story makes Kimi Nakare feel like it’s barreling towards its conclusion yet again.
Still, I was moved by the interaction between Shingo and the younger sister. Okachimachi’s art does an excellent job of showing Shingo’s conflicted emotions.
“Nobuko-chan, Suteki Desuwa”
Another heart-tugging moment comes at the beginning, after Hayato’s open confession. Natsumi, seeing Nobuko’s paralyzed state in the face of that big ol’ “I love you!”, tries to help Nobuko calm down, despite being in love with Hayato as well. I get a strong Daidouji Tomoyo from Cardcaptor Sakura vibe from Natsumi, and it makes me feel for her every time she tries to nudge the two of them closer together. Fortunately for her, Hayato and Nobuko aren’t nearly as dense as Shaoran and Sakura, but that prioritization of her friends over herself makes me hope that she can find happiness in her own right.
By declaring his love in front of their classmates, I wonder if Hayato is setting up Nobuko to get bullied. I feel like Nobuko being less beautiful probably marked her as a “safe entity” in the eyes of any Hayato fans in school, a defense that has been further bolstered by Nobuko’s onscreen comical behavior with Hayato as his goofy, obsessed pursuer. Now that it’s the open, however, is Nobuko in trouble? Is Kimi Nakare even that kind of manga? I’d like to find out.
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