Al is now living with Detective Ellis since there's a killer on the loose and he's most likely going to come after Al next. The detective continues to search for clues while Al dives a bit more into his past. The politics of the police station also play a huge role in this volume as Ellis has to navigate the suspicions of another investigator who is certain Al is the prime suspect. Al also tries to go about his life as normal in going to his job, but the two aren't sure about how he's going to resume going to classes with the new semester starts.
Ryō has to deal with the fallout of having a popular YouTuber out him as transgender. At first, many people at school are supportive, but that quickly diminishes as classmates start asking inappropriate questions about Ryō’s body and sexual attraction. Ryō skips school for a couple of days to do some soul searching while Jin and Itsuka plead with Tsubasa to take down the video. Ryō returns to school and announces to his whole class who he is and apologizes for his silence. No one is more hurt than Chika, Ryō’s crush, who admits she thought they were closer friends. Meanwhile, Tsubasa has an intimate night with a woman, and she posts a photo online that goes viral. This causes Tsubasa's fans to question Tsubasa and criticize them for potentially lying to garner views and profits. The "Boys" create a new shirt supporting Tsubasa and their right to some privacy.
Nasa and Tsukasa attend a summer festival, and Nasa can’t handle how cute she looks in a yukata! On recommendation from Kaname, Nasa starts reading Shōjo manga to brush up on being romantic with Tsukasa, and his efforts are not in vain. Tsukasa enjoys the uptick in attention and romantic gestures she receives from nasa. Later, Kaname inspires the two to bathe together in the same room at the bath house, but they weren’t actually alone after all, leading to a mildly awkward interaction with a stranger.
In volume 2, Yatora attends a summer prep academy to help hone his skills for the TUA (Tokyo University of the Arts). The classes focus on oil paintings, which is one part of the lengthy admissions process to get into the university. The instructor, Ooba-sensei, doesn’t pull any punches when letting Yatora know that his art is lacking in composition, originality, and expression. She urges him to study composition, and to look at art to figure out what he likes. Yatora goes to a couple of museums with some classmates and finds a few pieces he likes. He also practices with tons of different art pieces and enrages his classmates with his lack of understanding of composition, but by the end of the volume, he's done a lot of hard work and improved moderately in these important aspects of creating art.
College student Al decides to stay in London for the winter holidays to work as many shifts and save money for the next term, but when London’s mayor is found dead in the same subway Al was on, he gets tangled up in a clandestine investigation with Ellis, a detective seeking redemption. Al's flatmate also gets intertwined with a disastrous outcome, so nothing is looking too good for Al. The search for leads forces Al to seek out his birth mother and confront a past he had been content to keep buried.
Haruhi attends the prestigious Ouran High School on a scholarship. Most students at this school are from well-to-do families. One day, while trying to find a quiet place to study, Haruhi enters a music room and finds a Host Club, a group of male students who provide companionship, conversation, and flirtation to bored female students. Haruhi accidentally knocks over an $80,000 vase and is forced to work for the Host Club to pay off the debt. The hosts make-over Haruhi and provide an actual school uniform suit, since Haruhi has to get 100 customer referrals in order to pay back the debt. Club "king", Tamaki, takes special interest in Haruhi and delights in piling on the torture and teasing. At some point, Tamaki finds Haruhi's ID, and realizes Haruhi is biologically female, but the Host Club assumed Haruhi was male. Haruhi doesn't care for the gender binary, but is rather more worried about working off the debt and maintaining good grades to keep the scholarship.
Mutta just got fired from his automobile design firm, but this might be the motivation he needs to finally revisit his childhood dream. His younger brother, Hibito, has already achieved the dream and is a NASA astronaut, but Mutta is the older brother and should have paved the way for his younger brother. He applies and makes it past the initial interview, but finds the training and physical tests to be pretty difficult. Mutta becomes part of a competitive group of hopefuls, and has to overcome the label of "Hibito's brother" and the misconception that he's getting special treatment or inside information because of his familial ties.
Nasa and Tsukasa go on a sort of honeymoon to a hot springs with a private bath in their room, but both are too shy at the beginning to bathe in front of each other. By the end of the trip, they are able to get into the same bath but only at night with the lights off. We also finally meet someone claiming to be Tsukasa's guardian, and she chides Tsukasa for not bringing Nasa around for her approval, but gives it by the end of the conversation. When they get home, they decide to get an air conditioner for their small apartment and they find relief from the hot summer days, but they can’t agree on a temperature at night, vacillating between too hot or too cold with just a few degrees adjustment.
Jin makes a bold move to try and get the Boys shirts in a trendy store, but it fails miserably. This means the young entrepreneurs have to get part-time jobs to support their supply budgets. This is especially daunting for Ryo who is looking for a place to fit in within a very binary Japanese society, a society that wants him to wear girls’ uniforms to work or perform tasks around the workplace that girls are “better” suited for. After several hurtful job interviews, Ryo decides to go into the next one as a girl, but he finds a workplace where every employee dresses the same, and everyone is expected to do the same basic workload. His co-workers seem to accept him for who he really is, or they at least don’t ask questions or box him into the wrong gender. That is until they decide to go out together for a Welcome celebration, and one of the male workers hits on Ryo. While still recovering and figuring out who he’s attracted to, a popular YouTuber gets involved in the Boys line and wants to promote their brand online. With a new and improved website design, the stage is set, but the video may turn out to do more harm than good for Ryo.
Mogumo just wishes they could have some friends to truly understand them. When Tetsu seems this wish from his classmate, he invites Mogumo to work at his family’s cafe. The workers there are otokonoko - they are boys who dress as girls, maids on this instance. After some initial consternation about introducing themselves as an otokonoko, the staff conclude that everyone can identify how they wish, and Mogumo doesn't have to offer up any gender in their introduction. Tetsu and the rest of Mogumo's coworkers work towards understanding Mogumo's feelings about gender, and this prompts a few others to start exploring their own identities -- maybe it's not just as simple as dressing up in clothes of the opposite gender ... maybe there's a bit more to the feeling they get from wearing these outfits.
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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