Back in June, Kodansha Comics started releasing Perfect World into print. The first instalment left me with some minor concerns about the series’ future, so today I’m back to take a look at Volume 2 to find out if it can alleviate some of those worries.
As we begin Volume 2, protagonists Tsugumi and Itsuki are just starting their new relationship as a couple. Slowly but surely, Itsuki is letting Tsugumi into his life and showing her sides of himself he normally keeps hidden away, but their budding love begins to fall apart over the New Year holidays.
Tsugumi returns home to her family and admits she now has a boyfriend, but when she mentions Itsuki is permanently wheelchair-bound, the conversation quickly turns sour. Her father is also in ill health and has spent the recent years of his life doing all he can in order not to be a burden on his wife and kids. So then, it’s obvious why he wouldn’t want Tsugumi to rush into a life of being with someone who will be so dependent on her.
Meanwhile, Tsugumi’s mother poses the question of having children and whether the two have even considered marriage yet. These questions prove too much for Tsugumi, who asks her mother to drop the subject for now. As she returns home to Tokyo, she’s full of uncertainty about her future with Itsuki and these feelings only intensify when she meets his caregiver, Nagasawa.
While Itsuki assures Tsugumi that Nagasawa holds no feelings toward him, she can’t help but worry all the same. Nagasawa was Itsuki’s nurse when he had his accident and has seen him through some of the toughest moments in his life. That’s something our protagonist will never have and feels like she’s intruding on when Nagasawa is around.
However, it’s not just Tsugumi who is having doubts about their relationship as Itsuki is also wondering if his girlfriend would be better off without him. His feelings are made all the worse by the arrival of Tsugumi’s old classmate, Koreda, who still harbours feelings for her from their time in school together. Seeing her alongside the able-bodied Koreda makes Itsuki both jealous and depressed, dreaming of the life he could have led with her were he not trapped in a wheelchair.
I think it’s fair to say that a lot is happening in this volume of Perfect World. As I read the volume, I began to wonder if maybe there wasn’t a bit too much crammed in all at once. Introducing new love interests for both of our protagonists was a brave move by author Rie Aruga, but it’s one that ultimately paid off.
By the end of this book, both Tsugumi and Itsuki have been breaking down under the pressure of their relationship. It’s engrossing to read, but also incredibly depressing. I can’t quite say I enjoy reading Perfect World, but in the same breath, I’m eager to find out where the story is going.
I commented in my review of Volume 1 that I found Itsuki’s personality grating since he constantly acted negatively toward Tsugumi. That aspect of the series is a lot better this time around, but perhaps it has simply been replaced with everyone/thing around the two being doom and gloom instead! That said, it’s still easier to sympathise with than Itsuki’s actions were in Volume 1.
As previously mentioned, Perfect World comes to the West thanks to Kodansha Comics and has been translated by Rachel Murakawa. The translation reads well with no issues to note. The third volume of Perfect World’s physical editions is currently scheduled for release in October.
Overall, Perfect World Volume 2 is filled with new plot threads, but manages to flesh them out well. Just like the first instalment, this one is a difficult read due to the depressing nature of the content, but it’s engrossing all the same. If you enjoyed Volume 1, then you’re likely to enjoy this one too.