Adachi and Shimamura, Vol. 5

By Hitoma Iruma and Non. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Molly Lee.

o/~ Come on baby now throw me a right to the chin
Just one sign that could show me that you give a shit
But you just smile politely
And I grow weaker… o/~

–Ben Folds Five, Selfless, Cold and Composed

For a little less than half of this volume of the series, it is a very typical Adachi and Shimamura. Adachi stresses out and worries about what Shimamura is doing/thinking and whether any of it involves her. Shimamura, in contrast, barely thinks of Adachi, instead living her normal life and occasionally attempting to have a real human emotion. Tarumi, her childhood friend with a crush that is obvious to everyone but Shimamura, asks to to a fireworks festival, which she agrees to, though of course her sister and Yashiro come along as well. Adachi is also at this festival, working at a booth for her restaurant, and spots Shimamura and some other girl she doesn’t know in the distance. Oh dear, the reader thinks. Now Adachi is going to stress and stress to herself and avoid Shimamura and do all the other little coping mechanisms that she’s perfected over the last four books. Well, reader, be relieved, that does not happen. Instead, we get what must be one of the most epic meltdowns in the history of light novels.

This happens when Adachi is on the phone with Shimamura, trying not-so-subtly to find out who was that lady Shimamura was with last night. When Shimamura is her usual oblivious self not really listening to anything she’s saying, Adachi proceeds to whine. For one paragraph that goes on for almost six pages. A massive block of text. Everything that she has kept suppressed from the start of the book comes out in one long rant, showing off exactly how obsessed with Shimamura she really is, and also how much she really does feel like a child. Every time you flip a page you think it is almost over, but no, Adachi keeps shouting over the phone, forever. Eventually she runs down into hysterically sobbing Shimamura’s name… and Shimamura’s response is our response as well. “So annoying.” (click).

So, as you can imagine, I was prepared for a second half of DRAMA. This is my own fault, as I forgot a) what series I was reading, and b) what Shimamura is like. Adachi, actually showing some gumption after realizing how much she has fucked up, asks Shimamura out, and Shimamura agrees readily, and seems to have completely forgotten about Adachi’s breakdown the previous day. Actually, this is MORE annoying to Adachi, who would like something a bit more than “indifference”, but well, she fell in love with Shimamura, so she has to take what that means. That said, Shimamura does get something out of this whole debacle: Adachi needs more friends that are not her, to broaden her social life. So she tries to rehabilitate Adachi, who goes along with it for a bit, and they invite Hino and Nagafuji for karaoke, but… meh. It’s not remotely fun for Adachi. Now what?

Adachi comes to a big realization at the end of this book, which she can now admit to herself out loud (at least while no one else she knows is around). Shimamura, on the other hand, while seemingly being the mature, responsible one (something brought up here multiple times by others) continues to make me want to scream until the universe finally ends and then keep screaming after that. I worry that even if Adachi does confess, Shimamura’s reaction will be “well, okay” or something like that. Basically, I suspect these two are going to be in a relationship soon, but neither of them should be. At all. What will Volume 6 bring? Dunno, but I’ll read it, if only to scream more.

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  1. I adored the anime of Adachi and Shimamura, which without granting any kind of formal closure, ended with a pretty strong suggestion that the two would probably ultimately wind up together. The dialogue and inner thinking of both Adachi and Shimamura were just spectacularly well done. First-rate both as a character study, and as a budding romance.

    So, should I pick up these light novels, or just let it go and be happy that the anime handled the relationship stuff so well?

    • Sean Gaffney says

      If you enjoyed the anime, I would definitely get the light novels – for all my frustration, they do continue the story very well. The anime softened things up a bit, but it’s still much the same story. If you want, you can start with this Vol. 5, which is the first the anime did not adapt.

  2. Erica Friedman says

    I empathize with your screaming.

    That said, I have to give *some* props to the author who, while clearly favoring characters who hold themselves at a remove from life, has managed to evolve as a writer enough to give us a Sayaka who didn’t make us scream.

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