In February, I reviewed the first volume of the office rom-com My Coworker Has a Secret! from Tokyopop. We were introduced to Akari, whose obsession with the idol Ren-Ren meant she spent her lunch breaks alone. Until she met Ritsu, a new coworker, whom she has sworn to secrecy. What’s in store for them in Volume 2? Let’s find out!
Due to a series of unfortunate events toward the end of Volume 1, Akari is now living with Ritsu in his spacious apartment. Their daily lives go unchanged, Akari geeks out about Ren-Ren and enjoys the delicious food Ritsu makes for their meals.
However, unbeknownst to Akari, Ritsu has begun to fall for her and when he hugs her after getting drunk, her whole world is thrown into turmoil! Until now Akari had seen Ritsu as nothing but a reliable friend that she could confide in, but now she’s realised he’s a man who might be in love with her and that scares her because she’d never even considered his feelings before now.
Akari tries to work through her feelings for Ritsu, but she’s thrown for a loop once more when he reveals he remembers nothing about what happened the night he hugged her. Now left confused about their relationship, Akari starts distancing herself from Ritsu who has no idea why and struggles to figure out how to fix it. Will they ever end up on the same page?
While Volume 1 of My Coworker Has a Secret! was very comedic, this instalment leans more into drama as Akari’s concerns are no longer her hidden hobbies and instead her relationship with Ritsu. There’s also a rival for her affections introduced, which only makes the situation with Ritsu more tense as instead of pursuing Akari, he wonders if she wouldn’t be better off with someone else.
Given this is the final instalment of the series. it’s hard to fault author Mushiro for opting to lean into the drama rather than the comedy, but even so I think we’ve lost some of the shine. I am particularly fond of the comedy that comes from a character trying to keep their otaku hobbies a secret and that is mostly absent here, which is a shame.
Having said all that, the story does reach its conclusion, having tied up all the loose ends. And it is a satisfying way to bring Akari’s tale to an end, so readers can be assured that although we’ve changed directions somewhat, there’s still plenty to enjoy here. And it’s not entirely romantic drama either, the author finds time to explore Akari’s relationship with one of the coworkers she’s been desperately trying to hide her hobbies from and it’s rewarding to see how that plays out.
The artwork has improved between these two releases as well. Here in Volume 2, Mushiro gives the art more room to breathe by drawing bigger panels and not overwhelming them with dialogue (although that does still happen at times). Because emotions are running high compared to Volume 1, we see more close-up shots of the cast’s facial expressions and lean more into what you would expect from a romance in the Josei genre.
As previously mentioned, My Coworker Has a Secret! Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Tokyopop where it continues to be translated by Claudia Takizawa. The translation reads well with no problems to note. This release is currently available digitally with a print edition scheduled to follow in July.
Overall, My Coworker Has a Secret! Volume 2 brings the series to its conclusion in a satisfying manner. It doesn’t have the same charm as its initial outing, but readers will be keen to see how Akari and Ritsu’s story develops throughout the book. Certainly, one to pick up if you were as attached to the first instalment as I was.