Volume 4 of In the Clear Moonlit Dusk saw Yoi and Ichimaru’s relationship on rocky ground as Ichimaru got jealous of Yoi’s coworker Takuto. Unable to communicate with each other properly, this looked like the end of the princely duo. Have things changed for the better here in Volume 5? Let’s take a look.
The end of Volume 4 saw Yoi and Ichimaru reunite at the local summer festival, where they finally opened up their hearts and had a frank discussion. Having cleared the air and confirmed that they both like one another, the pair have put an end to their trial period and decided to date officially.
But now the trial is over and done with, the two have to figure out where they stand with each other and how far they want to take their relationship. To begin with, Yoi insists on taking things slow, not wanting Ichimaru to hug or be overly physical with her. Ichimaru on the other hand has always thought a relationship means making out and having sex, so while he doesn’t want to rush Yoi, he also doesn’t know where to draw the line between them. Holding her hand, hugging her, even kissing her – this is the only way he thinks he can convey his feelings to her.
Now with the summer break approaching, Ichimaru wants to take Yoi on an overnight trip to Kobe where his family has another house. Thinking that might lead to their relationship progressing too far, Yoi agrees but only on the condition that she can bring her two friends along. While Ichimaru wants to spend some alone time with Yoi, it’s evident to him that she won’t come along otherwise, so he reluctantly gives in and agrees to make it a group trip.
Yoi’s friends are thrilled to be invited to Kobe and in return for the trip they take her shopping for the perfect outfit to wear. They even encourage her to buy earrings to match Ichimaru’s, although Yoi finds herself too embarrassed to actually wear them. Still, the group of six (Ichimaru invites his two friends along too) set off for Kobe to enjoy some relaxation time, but Ichimaru is still hoping to find some alone time with Yoi…
Now that the two are in a relationship, In the Clear Moonlist Dusk is firmly over the ‘will they, won’t they’ that so many shojo series end up trapped in. Now we can move on to watching over them as they face the problems that creep up now they’re official. And once again mangaka Mika Yamamori depicts the subject with the delicate but realistic portrayal it requires. Just because they’re dating now doesn’t mean Yoi is suddenly okay with Ichimaru being so overly touchy with her, especially as this is something that has bothered her about him from the beginning of the series.
However, Yamamori shows us that the two have grown and learned from their miscommunications in Volume 4. Ichimaru talks honestly about why he’s so prone to wanting to touch Yoi and she talks openly about why she finds it uncomfortable. It’s the sort of honesty that’s important in a relationship and I always appreciate that rather than let something develop into cheap drama, Yamamori has her characters face it head-on.
There are plenty of interesting developments brewing in the background too. Now that they’re dating, students at school are starting to see Yoi as a girl rather than a prince. Then there’s the matter of Yoi’s poor self-esteem, a subject we haven’t explored yet but something Ichimaru picks up on when she says she doesn’t want to burden him over the summer break. That’s something that isn’t a problem right now, but it’s easy to see how it could develop into something more as time goes on. As a reader, I always thought this was simply because of Yoi’s appearance and everyone being standoffish with her because of it, but perhaps there’s something else in his past. I look forward to finding out if that is the case.
And of course, this volume isn’t all serious. There are plenty of tender moments where Yoi is embarrassed or blushing due to something Ichimaru did and plenty of heart-thumping traditional shojo moments. Yamamori knows what her audience wants to see and always delivers a good combination of those classic romance tropes coupled with the things that make this manga more unique.
In the Clear Moonlit Dusk Volume 5 comes to the West thanks to Kodansha and continues to be handled by Sawa Matsueda Savage with lettering by Lys Blakeslee. As always, the release reads well with no issues. Volume 6 of the series is scheduled for a release in December at which point we’ll be up to date with the Japanese releases. Unfortunately, the series has just begun a five-month hiatus, so we’ll be waiting a while for Volume 7. Still, I’m sure we can all agree this one is always worth that wait!
Overall, In the Clear Moonlit Dusk Volume 5 focuses on our two main characters coming to terms with their new relationship status. Now that they’re dating for real there’s a lot for them to work through when it comes to their budding feelings and as always you can count on Mika Yamamori to depict this in a genuine and relatable way.
Our review copy from Kodansha was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.