Adachi and Shimamura, Vol. 6

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

(I try not to spoil much, but honestly, if you read this you’ll guess what happens in it. Be warned.)

I’ve spent five volumes talking about Shimamura and her tendency to try not to feel too hard about things, which contrasts nicely with Adachi’s feeling very, very hard about everything… well, everything to do with Shimamura, that is. And if there’s any change that’s going to be happening, it’s going to have to be from Shimamura herself. Honestly, Adachi is expending all her energy not simply exploding in a giant cloud of gay. That said, good news: this is a big breakthrough volume for Shimamura, and probably the one that deals with her and her emotional reserve best. I don’t know that it works as well as it should – the author really relies on the reader connecting a lot of dots, and sometimes I don’t think they connect – but by the end of the book Shimamura is far more willing to reach out and deal with everything, including Adachi. Especially Adachi. Shimamura may not have worked out how she feels about Adachi just yet, but she’s definitely stopped ignoring the fact that Adachi is madly in love with her.

Sadly for Adachi, the first half of the book has Shimamura going to her grandparent’s place out in the country, so she’s going to have to suffer for a while on her own. Going back there, a place she’s spent many summers, fills Shimamura with memories, especially since the puppy which she played with when she was a little girl is now old and having trouble moving around like they used to. This causes Shimamura to think hard about her life, in particular the way that she’s chosen to close herself off from caring too much recently. When she returns (the return is the highlight of the book, for reasons I won’t spoil), she’s quick to phone Adachi, and they then agree to go out to another festival (I mean, it’s summer in Japan, there is always a festival somewhere). Oh yes, and before that they bathed together, which was… weird, but also led to Adachi confessing when she overheated. Will Shimamura finally face this fact and give Adachi a response? And will the response be something other than “well, OK, whatever”?

First off, I am spoiling one thing that does NOT happen in the book – the entire front of the book is setting the reader up for the dog to die. Hell, every time Shimamura sees the dog she herself is thinking that it’s going to be dead. But Adachi and Shimamura did not win the Newbery Medal, and therefore the dog does not die. I was relieved. As for Adachi and Shimamura, well, this is a turning point, certainly. I’m not sure it’s necessarily a good move all around – Adachi is worse than ever this volume, and I think if they ever animate it she’s going to have to simply be vibrating in place by the end. Shimamura has made great strides, and I was actually impressed with her through most of the book, but her response to Adachi still is more “sure, we’ll try that” rather than a big emotional investment. Which makes sense – honestly, even getting a small emotional investment is a victory.

So how will things progress from here? Will it be cute and teen romancey, or will it get realistic and have everything fly apart because these two are far too emotionally scattered to really connect right now? Still, Shimamura trying is infinitely better than the Shimamura we’ve had until now, so I’m in favor overall.

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