Title: Katakoi Triangle
Author: AMANO Shinobu
Hana to Yume Comics, 2008
I picked this one up because it was one of the rare Hana to Yume titles that my local bookstore decided to stock that wasn’t part of an already long-running/popular series. I have probably mentioned this before, but the store near me seems to focus mainly on Shogakukan/Flower comics or Ribon stuff. Well, OK, there actually is a large Hana to Yume section, but it is filled with the dozens of volumes of long-running or popular series, like Hana-Kimi, Vampire Knight, Kare-Kano, etc. I have already talked about most of those here, so I am always happy when I can find a random first volume of a new series in there 🙂 In this case, it is volume 1 of a recent series running in LaLa magazine. I am really enjoying this one so far. As you can guess from the cover and title, this is a story of a love triangle, but instead of annoying, I find it to be very sweet. The artwork contributes to this impression. While it is actually more scratchy/wispy than I generally prefer, it doesn’t look sloppy. It leans a bit more towards ‘delicate.’ Something I like about this story is how the part of the story is told from the perspective of each of our three lead characters. We see the same events unfold from Kasumi’s point of view, then from Kasai’s perspective, and finally through the eyes of Aki. They each have their own interpretation of things, and it is funny how different the same events can be when you look at them from different angles. I also like how there is a of narrator who is describing the situation all of the characters are in. It makes this feel almost like a fairy tale or something, and it is rather humorous.
Okay, first we have Kasumi’s part. SEKIYA Kasumi is a cute girl who has a crush on a boy in her school. His name is YUUKI Aki-kun, and every day Kasumi, who is part of the Literary Club and works in the library, watches Aki-kun as he sits near a window either reading or studying. In a situation that reminds me of the Ghibli movie “Whispers of the Heart,” Kasumi would always see Aki’s name on the library catalog/check-out card of every book she was interested in reading. She wondered who this person was who always read the same books as her, and when she found out who he was, her interest grew into a one-sided love. Kasumi is cute and shy, and every day she would try to get up the nerve to talk to Aki, to say something about their shared interest in the same books. Unfortunately, she would always lose her nerve, or they would be interrupted, and the moment would be lost. All she can do is watch Aki and imagine how great it would be if he knew her name and noticed her. I should mention that when Kasumi is not all tongue-tied and blushing around Aki, she is actually a loud, forceful girl. It is her first love that makes her act all funny.
Next we have Kasai-kun’s chapter. Kasai-kun is Aki’s best friend. They always hang out together, and Kasai often goes to the library to meet up with him. Kasai has light hair (tea-colored, probably dyed, I think) and he is very popular with girls. While there, it is Kasai who notices Kasumi always watching them. Considering how popular Kasai has always been with girls, at first he thinks that Kasumi is watching him. We see several scenes from Kasumi’s chapter from Kasai’s point of view. Is this girl a stalker? However, his wrong impression is soon corrected after he boldly confronts Kasumi about her weird lurking habits and she has no idea who he is. How embarrassing for Kasai! However it is from this point that Kasai really became aware of Kasumi, and began to develop an interest in her… she is always so focused on Aki, always watching them. Why is it that he feels like being a little mean to her when he sees her getting so nervous around Aki? Why does he deliberately try to interrupt Kasumi when she tries to start a conversation with Aki?
Next up we have Aki’s chapter. Aki has noticed that his best friend, Kasai, has been acting a little strange lately. He has also noticed that girl, Kasumi, staring at him a lot, but he doesn’t realize it is because she likes him. He actually thinks it must be because she hates him! (oh, poor Kasumi…). Here we see some of the things from Kasai’s chapter from Aki’s point of view. Aki sees that Kasai is always noticing Kasumi, and thinks he must have a crush on her. We also see how Aki learns Kasumi’s name (again, poor Kasumi.. lol). Thinking that Kasai is interested in Kasumi, and deciding to be a good friend, Aki embarks on a plan to help Kasai get Kasumi. He is a bit oblivious of Kasumi’s feelings for him, and his efforts to help Kasai only make Kasumi see Kasai as a hinderance, and she begins to really dislike Kasai (aww poor Kasai…).
So here we have the setup of the love triangle — Kasai has an interest in Kasumi. Kasumi likes Aki. And Aki is cheering on Kasai. Is there a way for them to resolve this situation? Kasai is in denial that he likes Kasumi, but he can’t help being mean to her when he sees her going after Aki. Yet he then gets upset that she seems to hate him so much. Aki really wants to help his friend, and is unwittingly sabotaging Kasumi’s efforts to get him. Yet at the same time, Aki begins to care about her, too, and he starts to notice things about her. Can he really give her to Kasai? Kasumi, who is always so nervous around Aki, is able to freely express herself (usually tears and words of hatred) to Kasai. Oh, and she thinks that Aki likes KASAI. (doh…) Such a mess! Personally, I kind of wish it would end as a happy threesome (please excuse my fetish here, lol *cough*) but, as alternate lifestyles aren’t exactly a common thing in shoujo manga, I am assuming that will not happen (doh!) I just like all three characters, and I don’t want to see one of them be disappointed. I also don’t want to see some random new girl introduced later on for the ‘losing’ guy to fall in love with as a consolation prize. I am curious to see how this will play out!