“I could take her right back to my house. Go deck that asshole right in the face. And then we could start over. That was one choice. But the reason I took Midori-chan’s hand was because I knew she’d cry on the train home. And I didn’t want that.” – Maki
Despite having only debuted in English at the end of 2022, Run Away with Me, Girl has already reached its conclusion here in Volume 3. Over the last two volumes we’ve experienced a whirlwind of emotions as our two main characters were reunited and worked out their feelings, but will it all come together for this final instalment? Let’s find out!
In Volume 2 of Run Away With Me, Girl we saw Maki and Midori take a trip to Shodoshima where they had a chance to leave their worries behind and focus on sorting through their feelings for one another. On the way home, Midori asks Maki to run away with her rather than return to the lives waiting for them.
Maki knows that they shouldn’t run, that Midori’s partner Tazune is waiting for her and has been sending countless texts asking where she is. Then there are their jobs and families to consider, too. However, Maki knows Midori will cry if she doesn’t agree and when she finally opens up about Tazune punching her shortly before the Shodoshima trip, Maki makes up her mind to follow Midori’s lead and allow herself to be taken to wherever this train is headed.
The two end up in a remote town where they spend a few days. Midori turns a blind eye to reality, talking to Maki about their time in high school and wishing things had never changed. Maki knows they can’t continue this dream, as beautiful as it is, and gently urges Midori to think about the fact she’s pregnant and can’t just ignore her relationship with Tazune.
In the end, Midori vows to spend her life with Maki and the two return to Tokyo where Tazune’s waiting. How will this resolve and how will their lives go from there? Well, that’s something I won’t spoil for you. What I will say is that everything revolving around Tazune is very anticlimactic and given the seriousness of his abuse, I was dissatisfied with how things concluded there. I was worried about this in Volume 2 where it felt as though creator Battan was trying to make readers more sympathetic to his story. And sure, it’s a murky situation where Tazune has his demons to work through that have led to his actions, but that shouldn’t excuse his behaviour. Thankfully, it never paints Midori as the problem, but that’s the only saving grace here.
To me it feels like Battan was trying to walk back how controlling Tazune was in Volume 1, trying to humanise him more and make the readers care. In the end, it felt contradictory to his character and never did anything but leave this nagging feeling that the mangaka didn’t know where to take his part of the story.
However, Tazune aside, I do like how the rest of the story comes together. If you’ve been invested in Maki and Midori’s relationship then you’re unlikely to have any complaints. I’ve enjoyed watching their journey of self-discovery throughout these three books. The two were very much in love in high school but lacked the maturity to understand what they had, so it has been rewarding to see them reunite and work through their feelings to reach a happy ending. Especially now that they’re adults, away from the carefree days of their youth and now with jobs and responsibilities. Battan is skilled at making the reader appreciate the weight of their adult lives, of all the things they can’t just turn a blind eye to and run away from. And they do a great job of showing us the mindset that leads to someone wanting to run away from their current life and how freeing that can be, at least until everything catches up with you. For as much as I’ve complained about Tazune’s storyline, Battan has nailed the rest of it – which I suppose is why that one aspect is so disappointing to me.
If you are looking for a Girls’ Love story with an adult cast, then I certainly highly recommend checking this one out. There’s an emotional weight to it that might be too much for some readers who are hoping for a carefree and happy romance, but if you’re okay with something heavier then this ticks all the boxes. It rewards the time you put into it in a way that not all series do.
Run Away With Me, Girl Volume 3 comes to the West thanks to Kodansha. Like the previous releases, this book has been translated by Kevin Steinbach with Jennifer Skarupa handling lettering. The dialogue reads well with no issues and there are some interesting translation notes at the back of the book covering some dialogue and references in greater detail. Colour pages are once again found at the end of the volume as well.
Overall, Run Away With Me, Girl comes to a mostly satisfying conclusion. While I’m sure I won’t be the only one disappointed by the way Tazune’s story wraps up, I think the rest of the series has been strong enough to not let that problem ruin the whole thing. Mangaka Battan is clearly very talented and skilfully brings this series to its end with a final volume that leaves nothing unanswered. It’s not perfect, but it’s a story that you’ll remember for years to come.
Our review copy from Kodansha was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.