Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Seiho Boys' High School!
Fuyuka is concerned that Kamiki and Takano are seeing each other behind her and Maki's backs, and her paranoia spreads to Maki. He confronts Takano and learns a secret that she has been trying to keep from him. As time marches on, Maki, Kamiki, Hanai, Genda, and Nogami prepare to move into their final year at Seiho...with or without their girlfriends. Also included is a short story about a relationship that might be termed “unhealthy.”
As final volumes go, this one is a little anti-climactic. Kaneyoshi Izumi, author of Doubt!! and the untranslated pseudo-incest title Sonan ja Neyo, built Seiho Boy's High School on the ludicrous and entertaining activities of Maki and his cohorts at the titular remote boys' school. She slowly introduced romantic interests for three of the boys over the course of the previous seven volumes, and with the exception of Maki's lost love Erika, humor was the prevailing tenor of the series. That changes a bit here, somewhat to the series' detriment.
Last volume left off with Kamiki's girlfriend Fuyuka discovering that her best friend Takano, who is dating series hero Maki, had been emailing and calling each other frequently. Suspecting foul play, she tries to pin Kamiki down with mixed results. In a paranoid panic, she informs Maki of her suspicions, and this volume finds him acting on them. Naturally at first he does not believe Fuyuka, but the “evidence” of his own eyes is a bit harder to write off. Maki reacts in a believable way – by simply writing Takano off and burying his hurt under a jovial demeanor. It seems as if he does not believe that he will ever love anyone as much as Erika and this is his punishment for trying. While Izumi does not leave it strictly at that, his ending is slightly unsettled with no definite yes or no answer to his romance. In some ways it would have been better had the author not introduced the romantic element in the first place, as the resolution of the protagonist's love life is mildly unsatisfying at best.
Luckily there is still humor to be found in these pages, mostly from Maki's interactions with Nogami and Kamiki. Kamiki's efforts to set Maki straight about the situation between himself and Takano have some good moments – for whatever reason, Maki fighting some other guy always gets a chuckle. Nogami's over-the-top personality is also entertaining, and happily his relationship with the school nurse is left mostly alone. The final chapter about Maki and Fuyuka finding a stray dog is fun, although it has strong Hachiko overtones that dim the story somewhat, as it makes it seem as though the author is trying too hard to make a point, and possibly a comparison between that famous dog and either Maki or Takano. Overall? This is the weakest volume in the series. If you've read the previous seven, it is worth finishing it out, but don't expect that fun and laughter that made the earlier books so enjoyable.
Of perhaps more note than the main story is the shorter one included, “Reverse Guilt.” This is a high school romance about a girl named Sakura who was utterly perfect in elementary school. Things changed for her when she inadvertently saved a classmate, Mahito, from an abusive family situation, and she became, or at least began to be seen as, an ordinary girl. Mahito grew up to be handsome and popular, but unable to sleep alone. As a result he became the school's resident playboy, a common enough trope, but it seems that the girl he really wants is Sakura. The romance of this is dimmed by the fact that Mahito's methods are, shall we say, less than honorable, and his ways of showing affection may leave a bad taste in some mouths. However the nuances in the story make it literarily a more interesting read than the final chapters of the main tale, no matter how distasteful the subject matter may be. It is also worth noting that “Reverse Guilt” is the most sexually explicit piece of all eight volumes, with relatively detailed nudity and more prurient sexual content.
Seiho Boys' High School has been an interesting, enjoyable ride up till now, and despite a slight downturn in the humor content, it does continue to be so up to the last chapter. It isn't a great ending, and it does feel a bit anti-climactic and unresolved, but despite that it is good enough. “Reverse Guilt” is better written, but on the whole this is a decent ending to a series that never aspired to greatness, and a decent, if not outright good, time should be had by all who choose to visit this remote island school one last time.
Overall : B-
Story : B
Art : B+
+ Some humor remains and Maki's feelings for Erika remain pleasantly bittersweet. “Reverse Guilt” is particularly well-written and interesting.
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