Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet Volume 5 Review

Volume 4 of Mika Yamamori’s Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet saw heroine Fumi head to Kyoto with writer Akatsuki and his editor, Kaneishi. During this trip, Fumi and Akatsuki came to a misunderstanding when the writer overheard Fumi muttering a love confession in her sleep and when confronted about it, declares it’s none of Akatsuki’s business. Now back home will the issue be cleared up? Let’s find out with Volume 5!

Now they’re back, things are awkward between Fumi and Akatsuki, not helped by Kaneishi spending a lot more time at their home. Although he claims to be there as part of his editorial duties, Akatsuki can’t help but be frustrated by his presence as he flirts relentlessly with Fumi. Even despite Akatsuki’s warning that Fumi seemingly already has someone she likes, as Kaneishi observes, “It’s not like she’s dating him yet. Seeing if she’s interested isn’t a crime.” 

Meanwhile, Fumi thinks nothing of Kaneishi’s increased presence and enjoys spending time with him and Akatsuki. Instead, she finds her mind drifting to the upcoming summer festival, which she’d love to attend. Friend Tobiume encourages her to go with Akatsuki (and mentions that she’s going with Aioi, who demanded they go alone), but Fumi wonders if that wouldn’t be wishing for too much. If she begins to spend even more time with and impose on Akatsuki, that doesn’t seem helpful for either of them. 

Learning that her friends Tobiume and Aioi have grown closer while she was in Kyoto, Fumi can’t help wondering if they’ll start dating. And how wonderful it is to have your feelings accepted by the one you like. And before she can dwell on this too much, she’s invited to the festival – not by Akatsuki, but editor Kaneishi! 

Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet Volume 5 is certainly a turning point in the series. Fumi and Akatsuki are both forced to think about their feelings for each other and to do something about it. Akatsuki is under the illusion that Fumi is in love with some mystery man and he finds himself oddly frustrated with Kaneishi’s advances. Why is it that the idea of Fumi dating someone bothers him so much? Romance has never worked out for Akatsuki nor has he had a great deal of interest in it as of late, so why then does this cause him so much heartache?

And then there’s Kaneishi, a character I have been happy to see given more of the spotlight throughout these two volumes. He’s winding Akatsuki up with the best of intentions, knowing that Fumi is in love with Akatsuki and not some mystery man she’s invented to cover up her sleep-talking blunder. Kaneishi’s been close to Akatsuki for a long time and he’s seen how unlucky in love the writer is, so now that there’s an opportunity for something better to come about, he’s eager to see some progress. Pretending to hit on Fumi is a quick way to make Akatsuki face his feelings, or so he hopes. 

The highlight of this volume is the summer festival, which brings certain emotions bubbling to the top. The events will lead to a significant change going forward, but given that’s the mid-to-end of the volume I won’t spoil it. Instead, I want to take a moment to praise Yamamori’s art for the festival section. I was really impressed by how the mangaka manages to depict so many of the festival clichés (such as playing games or enjoying the food) but doesn’t linger on them, instead making a two-to-three-page montage of events. And despite being in quite small panels, each one is full of life and gets the reader invested in the events even if they’re not being covered in full. It’s simply enjoyable to watch over the antics of the cast leading up to the emotional peak. As always, this series looks fabulous and Yamamori does a wonderful job with the art and storytelling. 

Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet Volume 5 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and continues to be translated by Taylor Engel with lettering by Lys Blakeslee. The release reads well with no problems and as we’ve come to expect, there are some interesting translation notes at the end which are well worth delving into. 

Volume 6 of the series is currently scheduled for an English release in February, then there’s nothing else pencilled in for now, suggesting we’ll be in for a break most likely. There’s still a significant amount of this left to release, being complete in Japan with 14 volumes, so hopefully, it won’t be off the map for too long. 

Overall, Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet Volume 5 is a turning point for the series as emotions come to a head. This is another compelling read in a romance series that has quickly become one of the shojo releases I look forward to the most. Certainly, if you’ve been following the manga for this long, you’ll be left eager to find out what’s coming next!

Our review copy from Yen Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK. 

9 / 10


When she's not watching anime, reading manga or reviewing, Demelza can generally be found exploring some kind of fantasy world and chasing her dreams of being a hero.

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