Summer vacation is coming to an end, and it's the first time Komi has felt sad about that. In previous years, Summer vacation just meant a lot of boredom, but now she has friends to hang out with. Once school starts again, it's time for the Sports Festival! Everyone wants Komi to be on their team for events like the relay. The ever-competitive Yodano desperately wants to beat Komi in at least one event, but can't. During Komi's portion of the relay, she slips in the mud, and everyone is so concerned and happy she's ok that they celebrate her finish more so than the victors. We also meet Nokoko, a transfer student from a country school, who is likewise enamored by Komi.
Tadano's sister serves as this volume's reminder that Najimi is nonbinary by making comments about the before time when Najimi was a boy. Najimi dismisses the comments and assures her that this is who they are now. This volume had a few short chapters at the beginning and the end, bookending some longer chapters in the middle on the Sports Festival. I appreciated the break-up in the short-chapter format that has been the staple for the last two volumes. Unlike volume three, this book also broke away from the four-panels-per-page layout, which I also appreciate. The jury is still out on Nokoko, our new "friend" for this volume. Nokoko would probably be speaking in a Japanese dialect that signified she was from outside Tokyo, but when it's translated into English, we get the Southern drawl to indicate she is a "country bumpkin". As someone from a rural area of California, not all farm working folk have Southern accents. Oda-san is leaning on the stereotype that country-bumpkins are simple and easily impressed. As this is only the first chapter with Nokoko, I'm hoping we will get some depth in later volumes.
Sara's Rating: 7/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Reviews of previous volumes in this series: vol 1, vol 2, vol 3
Tags: Rating: 7/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Realistic Fiction, Friendship
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