The first volume of Kodansha’s Something’s Wrong With Us got off to a fantastic start with its gripping story and intriguing characters. Now I’m back with the second volume to find out if the manga set in a family-run sweetshop, Kogetsuan, continues to be a worthwhile read.
As we reunite with Nao and Tsubaki, we find the two in trouble. They’ve just delivered some sweets to one of their most important clients and somewhere along the way, something has gone wrong. The sweets Nao made have been stained a deep red, ruining their otherwise gentle appearance.
To the client, this sends the message that Kogetsuan no longer wants to deal with them and further still, they tell Tsubaki that they never placed an order in the first place! Now Nao needs to get to the bottom of the mystery and restore faith in Kogetsuan before it disappears – and with it the truth about her mother’s murder.
This volume of Something’s Wrong With Us moves at a much slower pace than Volume 1. The majority of it is focused on Nao trying to get to the bottom of what happened to the sweets and learning a new recipe to hopefully repair the store’s relationship. While this is happening we discover that Tsubaki’s mother is the one who ruined the sweets, hoping to have an excuse to cast out Nao and prevent her from potentially inheriting the store.
Elsewhere we learn more about Tsubaki’s standing in the family and how his grandfather has no desire to hand down Kogetsuan to him. This is because of a betrayal many generations ago, where someone married into the family and stole a recipe from the shop. Since then only those with blood ties can inherit the store and Tsubaki’s grandfather believes that his daughter-in-law was unfaithful and slept with another man before giving birth to Tsubaki.
As Nao learns more about Tsubaki’s history, she realises that they’re both considered outcasts in the store and this, in turn, leads to them growing closer in their fake relationship. While she hates Tsubaki for accusing her mother of murder, the more time they spend together, the more she remembers their close relationship as kids. Had things been different, perhaps they’d have ended up in a happy relationship rather than the fake one they find themselves in now.
Tsubaki meanwhile still has no idea that Nao is the girl he used to call Sakura as a child, but he does still remember ‘Sakura’ fondly and tells Nao she was his only light in this dark home. He thinks he has done and said terrible things as he fights with his grandfather over the store, things he wouldn’t want his childhood friend to be aware of now.
Of course, Nao knowing this makes it all the more difficult for her to eventually come clean to Tsubaki about who she really is. Until she solves the mystery of her mother’s murder she must keep her identity hidden, but in the meantime, her relationship with Tsubaki is ever-changing. As they teeter on the edge of becoming lovers, Nao is surely going to regret not telling Tsubaki the truth sooner.
As I said earlier, this is a slower volume and that’s fine since it develops the characters and expands the scope of the story. I don’t think it’s as memorable or impactful as Volume 1, but as long as the next entry builds on the basis of this one, then that’s not a problem.
As previously mentioned, Something’s Wrong With Us Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Kodansha Comics and has been translated by Sawa Matsueda Savage. The translation reads well with no problems to note and, as in Volume 1, there are a couple of pages of translation notes at the back of the book explaining more about the sweets featured.
Overall, Something’s Wrong With Us Volume 2 has slowed down the story to give us a better understanding of Tsubaki’s home life and family. While this entry isn’t as impactful as the first book, it’s certainly still worth readers continuing with.