Back in volume 1 we watched as Satoko (a 30-something office worker) met and formed a relationship with 12-year-old Mashuu whilst helping him practise his soccer skills. That volume asked more questions than it actually answered, so it left you with a sense of suspense; What is the extent of the trouble Mashuu is facing at home? What happened to his mother? Why is Satoko so interested in the boy? How far is this relationship going to develop? So, I opened volume 2 in the hopes of finding some answers…
Sadly, I was disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t find the story boring, there’s just no getting round it, this tale is a slow burn. In this volume Satoko helps Mashuu when his brother goes missing, which leads to her paying a visit to his house. What she sees on the visit (no spoilers I promise) serves to further highlight that Mashuu has a difficult homelife, but again throws up more questions rather than giving answers. There is also friction between Mashuu and his Dad, which effects his soccer and the bond between the unusual pairing continues to grow.
There is still nothing contentious in the nature of their relationship – I would say that Satoko appears to be forming a relationship like that of a mother to Mashuu. She continues to question her involvement with him. The biggest move on in the story is that a couple of other characters begin to notice Satoko’s involvement with Mashuu. Although they do not question the nature of their relationship in an accusative way, the fact that others have even noticed makes Satoko questions her own intentions.
The imagery, once again, is very good with some beautifully detailed close-ups. The story is easy to follow, and the translation of the language is spot on (I find it isn’t always!) It continues to be a sweet story about a bond that forms between two lonely people and this volume has a particularly nice ending in my opinion.
If you enjoyed volume 1, read on, this isn’t a prize-winning series for no reason. Just don’t expect a huge step forward in the plot from this volume! I will wait with baited breath to see if volume 3 provides any answers…