Last year Vertical Comics began publishing Kaori Ozaki’s latest series, The Golden Sheep into English. Now the company has released Volume 2 and I’m here to find out how our cast is getting on after a dramatic first entry.
Having run away to Tokyo at the end of Volume 1, Tsugu and Sora are now living in Tokyo with Tsugu’s grandfather. Tsugu’s grandfather is kind enough to allow the two to work in his croquette shop, which has been closed for some time. Despite its closure, the store proves popular when reopened and Tsugu and Sora are soon so busy that they forget all the problems they left behind.
Meanwhile, back in their hometown, Yuushin and Asari have to face their demons. A rumour has spread around school that Tsugu and Sora have eloped, so Asari realises that she had nothing to fear about Tsugu having feelings for Yuushin. Asari is now left to regret her actions, feeling as though she’s lost a friend through her jealousy.
Elsewhere Yuushin is similarly at a loss having lost Sora to take his pent-up emotions out on. Left with nothing but aimless aggression, Yuushin takes it out on the gang he hangs out with and declares he’s quitting school. Feeling lost, Yuushin heads back to his old boxing club and asks his coach to let him take the pro boxing test in Tokyo.
This volume of The Golden Sheep manages to equally split its focus between the cast, offering development for all four of them. Tsugu and Sora are happily living in Tokyo and their parents are content to leave them to it, knowing they’re at least safe. However, having been gone many months, Tsugu is in danger of being held back a year at school. Their life may seem perfect now but the peaceful day-to-day is coming close to being shattered.
The most impactful moments of this volume all take place with Asari and Yuushin. Although Tsugu and Sora feel like the main characters, I was always more interested in seeing what would happen to the two left behind. As I expected, they crumble and realise their wrongdoings but, forced to face their demons, they have to work through their problems – ideally together.
I appreciate that Asari is quick to come to terms with her jealousy. It gives me hope that she and Tsugu can rebuild their friendship should they eventually reunite. I also like where Yuushin’s story is going because it doesn’t try to excuse his behaviour toward Sora but instead works toward solving it.
It’s clear to us as readers that the pro boxing test is not the answer to Yuushin’s aggression, but he has to work toward it to find the real answer. Yuushin wonders if it’s possible to change and become a better person at all, a running theme among all our cast in this volume of the series. If they can change who they are, just how much work does that take? It’s a question I hope The Golden Sheep answers in its third and final volume.
The fact there is only one more entry in the series does worry me though, because I’m not sure that’s going to be enough time to comfortably wrap up everyone’s stories. Yuushin, Sora and Tsugu all have fairly meaty plotlines that need resolving (unless the latter two just stay in Tokyo) and I hope the author doesn’t rush any of them to a conclusion. The Golden Sheep has been such an intriguing series so far that it would be a waste to ruin it in the final book.
As previously mentioned, this book comes to the West thanks to Vertical Comics and has been translated by Daniel Komen. The translation reads well and is problem-free. This release keeps the matte style cover from the previous instalment, which I’m still not a fan of. The final volume of the series is scheduled for release in March.
Overall, The Golden Sheep continues to offer a thoughtful read. While I have some reservations as to whether it can finish the story in one more volume, I’m looking forward to finding out what happens. If you enjoyed the first instalment, then you’ll certainly enjoy Volume 2.