I keep waiting for the plot to progress beyond what I skimmed in the Wikipedia’s entry for the anime, and it’s really not rushing to get there.
Mostly, this is becoming a romance.
Tsukimi and Shuu (with the help of the smooth-operator chauffeur, Hanamori,) go out on a bunch of dates which culminate in an awkward proposal. They end up on a rooftop restaurant during a blustery evening and their hands touch while both reaching for a falling candelabra:
She says ‘yes,’ but, of course, she’s not sure how to deal with all this romance being a geek girl. I do like that for the majority of their ‘dates,’ Tsukimi dresses like her authentic self, glasses and all. I have no particular ship in this armada, and I like Shuu well enough. I was fairly charmed when he decided he needed to buy ‘cute’ stationary upon which to write his letter of marriage proposal.
Kuranosuke is trying his best not to feel sidelined. Instead, he focuses on the fashion plot, in so much as there is one. A lot of the ‘plot’ in this installment involves how expensive it is to launch a fashion line, how much money they’ve already lost, and thinking up ways to circumvent this problem. ….Something involving a casual line? Knock-offs? I’m really not invested enough to follow that closely. The thing that’s interesting about that for me is how Kuranosuke is desperately trying to find out how to give the Amars a fashion that they would actually enjoy, since what he really wants to to spread the love of his fandom (being stylish) to the rest of the world (like any fan.)
I also thought the self-talk Kuranosuke gives himself about how, in this story, he’s the wizard and the wizards never get to run off with the princesses and he should comfort himself that at least he has his fashion magic was clever… if….
Which is to say sort of settle-y and depressing.
Meanwhile, the eviction plot also moves at a snail’s pace. The land-shark lady (Inari) continues to woo the kimono nerd’s (Chieko) mom who owns the place into selling. There is a rather hilarious protest that the Amars stage that involves cosplay. I kind of adore that all of the resident nerds have “always wanted to protest.” This was me, in the 1980s. (Now, it is my life.)
For whatever reason, the humorous asides worked a bit better for me in this volume (maybe I’m getting used to Higashimura-sensei’s stye… or it’s Stockholm Syndrome.) The playboy chauffeur, Hanamori, is fast becoming my favorite.
The romance is really the only plot moving at speeds. It jumps leaps and bounds in these chapters and it seems to be heading in a very straight line, one without any unexpected curveballs. The only surprise is that, so far, Kuranosuke isn’t deciding to fight for the princess, too. Given that there are a lot more chapters to go, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t eventually make a play and possibly win her hand, but I don’t know. Josei, being what it is, could be heading for just what it looks like: Kuranosuke sidelined and okay with it.
Honestly? I would actually be quite happy if that were the outcome. There’s nothing wrong with the Shuu/Tsukimi romance. If they just followed along the usual path and got married, that’d be fine with me. There seems to be mutual, genuine affection between them, even if Tsukimi’s side is filled with princess fairytale fantasies. *shrugs* I mean it’s alien to me, but common enough a trope.
I _do_ love that when the Amars finally tell the resident recluse mangaka about the romance, she writes back a bunch of ‘bloodthirsty’ replies outlining how Tsukimi could be used to their advantage in the eviction fight and against the politician (Shuu is the PM’s eldest son). So, there’s room in the plot to go that direction, if Higashimura-sensei eschews the traditional battle royale between the two rivals for the princess’s hand in marriage.
I kind of hope she does, because, frankly, the other has been done to death.
So, it retains my interest. I will read the next volume as soon as the library has it.