Sasaki and Miyano Volume 09 Review

Only you, Senpai… (Miyano)

Sasaki is at university and Miyano is busy with studies and other third-year commitments, so it’s not always so easy to meet up now, even they’re officially going out together. But with Sasaki’s birthday fast approaching, Miyano is determined to ask him on a date – even if he has to turn to his friends for help planning the date itself! As for Sasaki, he’s just happy with the fact that Miyano has asked him out; anything else is just a bonus.

After all the planning, things get off to an okay-ish kind-of start (you get the feeling that Sasaki would have been thrilled just to go shopping – or anywhere, no matter how ordinary with Miyano, because Miyano) then who should they bump into but Ogasawara! Who tags along which makes things a little awkward. Will the plans for the date be able to continue, uninterrupted – or is it a busted flush? Or could unexpected help be in the vicinity…?

Volume 09 of Sasaki and Miyano is another very slim volume (only four chapters of actual plot, the rest being promotional 4-koma – PR manga – for the Drama CDs etc.) but these four chapters are nevertheless well worth your time if you’ve been following Sasaki and Miyano from the start. Because this is the first volume to look at how the relationship is going now that Sasaki (and his peers) have started university but Miyano is still at high school (although in the third and final year). And it’s full of cherishable little moments as well as showing how Miyano’s friends are rooting for the two of them (a refreshing aspect of this series as so much BL set in high school shows a very different and intolerant kind of reaction to same-sex relationships). Another refreshing touch is the way Miyano’s mother is so accepting and supportive of the relationship. A new character is introduced in Chapter 46, Sora Ugawa, Sasaki’s college classmate, who seems the over-inquisitive type and who doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer when trying to find out more about Sasaki and his ‘girlfriend’. But with so few chapters of new material, we’re left wondering if he’s going to make a nuisance of himself as he only appears in the final chapter before Sasaki goes to visit his old school to meet Miyano because he’s missing him.

Shou Harusono still uses the 4-koma format, as she’s done from the very beginning of the series, slipping in and out, depending on what’s happening in the story. The 4-koma formula allows her to make a single point, summarized in the side caption, such as ‘The Fight for Self-Control’ and ‘Successful Extraction’. All the PR manga at the end of the book is also 4-koma and is basically fourth-wall breaking material. However, if you’re looking for Hirano and Kagiura, they appear in a brief four-page bonus at the very end. Two attractive (as ever) colour images are included at the beginning.

The Yen Press blurb asks, ‘Will they gradually drift apart or continue to seek each other out?’ but the story hasn’t really advanced that far yet, although by the end of the volume, we know what Miyano’s intending to do next. On the relationship front, it still feels like early days, although Miyano is more assertive than he was; the Teen rating (13+) means reading between the lines rather than anything explicit being depicted.

Leighann Harvey continues to provide a sound and convincing translation (including a short page of translation notes) and Carolina Hernandez delivers a wide variety of lettering to bring out all the different forms of communication, including texts, Line etc. As we’ve caught up with Japan, there’s no indication of when Volume 10 will be out yet. Has it run its course? It depends on what mangaka Shou Harusono wants to do next, I imagine…

8 / 10


Sarah's been writing about her love of manga and anime since Whenever - and first started watching via Le Club Dorothée in France...

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