Volume 3 of Something’s Wrong With Us ended with Tsubaki confessing to Nao that he was falling in love with her for real, but if she truly was his childhood friend Sakura, he would have to suppress these feelings. Once more, Nao is forced to battle with her feelings – stuck between wanting to find out the truth about her mother and confessing everything to the man she’s grown so close to.
Ultimately, Nao once again denies that she’s the same girl Tsubaki once knew. For now, Tsubaki accepts this and the two move on to focus on their next problem – coming up with the perfect wagashi for an esteemed client’s tea ceremony.
Not only is this task important for the store, but Tsubaki’s grandfather will also be in attendance at the tea ceremony. Since the death of his son, Tsubaki’s grandfather has refused to eat any of the sweets Tsubaki makes. With Nao at his side could this finally be an opportunity to change things for the better?
In my review of Volume 3, I criticised Something’s Wrong With Us for being inconsistent with the pacing and while I think this entry still suffers from that, it’s also much more balanced. Most of the chapters included put a focus on the process of working on the wagashi, as well as exploring the strained relationship between Tsubaki and his grandfather.
If nothing else, I do appreciate seeing more of Tsubaki’s history, especially anything after Sakura and he separated. We’ve seen glimpses of it here and there and it’s clear that neither his mother nor grandfather think well of Tsubaki, so to finally see some of the reasoning behind it is very rewarding.
That’s not to say Nao is ignored or anything though, because she isn’t and her life is also reaching a turning point. At the end of this volume, she’s reunited with the man who first set her on the path to finding out the truth to begin with. Although it looks like she’s also about to be betrayed by someone close to her, which I am less happy about as a development…
On the whole, I think mangaka Natsumi Ando has managed to regain control of the pacing and character growth. While I hesitate to say that this is as captivating or engaging as Volume 1 was, it’s certainly a vast improvement on the previous two books. Everything simply ties together better and the book is satisfying in a way the others rarely have been.
One of the strengths of the series is undoubtedly Ando’s art, as she proves she has the ability to convey the romance, mystery and drama all at once. I like how we can bounce from steamy bedtime scenes to a focus on making sweets. The confectionery in particular are wonderfully detailed and look very appetising!
Now I have renewed interest in seeing where Ando plans to take the plot, I’m much happier to continue reading the series. I think anyone else who has been on the fence about Something’s Wrong With Us will find this volume will be the deciding factor when it comes to continuing or not.
Something’s Wrong With Us Volume 4 comes to the West thanks to Kodansha Comics and continues to be translated by Sawa Matsueda Savage. The translation reads well and there are helpful translation notes at the back to help explain some of the terms used in relation to the Japanese sweets.
Overall, Something’s Wrong With Us Volume 4 shows some distinct improvements over the previous entries. This proves to be a turning point both for us readers and the characters as they move forward in search of the truth and love.