When we last saw the cast of Medaka Kuroiwa is Impervious to My Charms, it was school festival time! Mona and Medaka managed to get just a little bit closer but before long, a new problem reared its head. How will this progress? Let’s find out with Volumes 3 and 4!
At the end of Volume 2 Mona meets Asahi Shonan, the ace of the girl’s basketball team, who seems to have an eye on Medaka. She’s in a different class to our two main characters, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to get close to him having fallen in love at first sight. And the perfect opportunity soon presents itself when Medaka is out sick with a cold and Mona decides a home visit is in order!
Naturally, with the two girls competing for Medaka’s attention they quickly cause more harm than good. But this does allow Asahi to figure out that Mona is in love with Medaka, a fact that she still hasn’t even worked out for herself. Still, even knowing Mona is in love too doesn’t mean Asahi is going to give up her pursuit anytime soon and it’s not long before a new chance to get close to Medaka appears when Mona’s class decide to hold a Halloween party.
Then we move into Volume 4, where Medaka thinks he’s annoyed Mona. After refusing to take a selfie together, Mona called him “a big dummy” and acted strangely around him afterwards. Mona meanwhile is agonising over this slip-up in her perfect persona and fears she’s undone all the hard work she’s put into charming him.
As the volume goes on, we also meet Tomo Nanba, a new transfer student, who just so happens to be Mona’s best friend from Osaka. Having spent their middle school years together, Tomo is quick to recognise Mona’s been busy putting her perfect persona to work charming her classmates and she also notices the tension between her and Medaka. Being longtime buddies, Tomo quickly realises that Mona is in love and tells her so – a fact our heroine quickly rejects. But coming from her best friend, perhaps there’s some truth to the matter…?
Since the introduction of rival Asahi, Mona has desperately needed a wingman of sorts. And yes, there’s classmate Tsubomi, but Mona doesn’t know her well enough to rely on her to help with her schemes. Plus Tsubomi is under the (correct) assumption that Mona is in love, which is something our heroine is not willing to work with. So having Tomo here has given Mona a new surge of energy. Yes, she’s also under the impression that our heroine is in love, but having been best friends for so long, Mona is at least willing to open up and work with her on charming Medaka. If nothing else, Tomo can certainly help distract Asahi. Both Asahi and Tomo have proven remarkably good additions to the cast.
Like Volume 2, the strength of these two volumes is watching the cast interact with one another. Now that it has expanded considerably, there’s someone for every reader to root through and it prevents the individual chapters being one-note. Before it was always Mona teasing Medaka in a bid to make him fall for her, but now there’s a lot more going on as author Ran Kuze develops the interpersonal relationships between all the girls.
However, I do think the good points of these volumes come at the expense of any development for Medaka. Sure, he’s not the protagonist, but as the main love interest, I wish we saw the story from his perspective a little more often. Particularly as he has a quiet personality, so he’s unlikely to be expressing himself if he’s not the point-of-view character. I appreciate that Kuze can’t balance everything (especially as these are relatively short volumes of only 140 pages or so with a lot happening), but it feels like Medaka’s character was made better use of early on as opposed to now where he lacks agency and feels like something for Mona and Asahi to fight over. Hopefully, as things progress and we’re finished introducing new characters, we’ll see more time spent with him.
Medaka Kuroiwa is Impervious to My Charms Volumes 3 and 4 come to the West thanks to Kodansha via their Vertical imprint. Both books continue to be translated by Nicole Frasik (Anh Kiet Ngo is credited for the digital edition) with lettering by Arbash Mughal and they read well with no issues. No colour pages, translation notes or other bonuses are included with either release.
Volume 5 of the series is set for a print release later this month with #6 following in early April. The series is up to 12 volumes so far in Japan, so still plenty to catch up with. Digitally, Kodansha are up to Volume 10 this month so if you can’t wait for them to make it to print you can at least pick those editions up instead!
Overall, Medaka Kuroiwa is Impervious to My Charms is still an entertaining read despite some bumps in the road. The new additions to the cast successfully mix things up and ensure you keep coming back for more in the hopes of seeing who will win Medaka’s heart and perhaps more importantly – how they’ll get through his defences.
Our review copy from Kodansha was supplied by Turnaround Comics (Turnaround Publisher Services).