Toward the end of 2023, Kodansha released Volume 1 of Ogami-san Can’t Keep It In, which got off to a delightful start as it depicted the life of high-school students Ogami and Yaginuma. Now I return with Volume 2, to find out if this series continues to offer a charming read.
As we reunite with our cast, we find them preparing for the summer holidays. Ogami and Yaginuma are invited to the beach by some of their classmates, an invitation our heroine initially turns down but later changes her mind on, due to Yaginuma agreeing to go. After all, a trip to the beach means swimsuits and potentially getting a peek at Yaginuma’s naked chest!
But before they go on the trip they will both need to study for upcoming tests and buy swimsuits. With a general desire to earn some spending money over the summer, the two are pleased to be invited to work part-time in a restaurant run by relatives of Hikaru Matsukuma – the well-built character we met toward the end of Volume 1 who is often mistaken for a thug due to his “scary” face.
At first, Ogami is happy to be spending so much more time with Yaginuma. When they study for their upcoming tests, she even goes over to his house and meets his sister, Chieko. Chieko is overprotective of her younger brother and tells Ogami all about the difficulties he’s faced since his power manifested at five years’ old and that she is the first friend he’s ever brought home because of it. Slowly she’s beginning to realise just how difficult Yaginuma’s life has been due to his inability to touch people for fear of it causing them to blurt out their inner thoughts.
Because of spending more time together, Ogami also finds herself growing much closer to Yaginuma and especially while working part-time together she’s realising that she would like them to become more than friends. However, she’s struggling to work out if that’s because she’s physically attracted to his body (due to being horny 24/7) or if she’s actually in love with him.
What she doesn’t know is that Yaginuma is having similar struggles of his own and he turns to Hikaru for help. “Is it normal to want to touch someone you like?” he asks, unable to understand what the feeling means. And if he were to date Ogami, would she be upset about his inability to freely touch her due to his powers? After all, if you want to touch someone you’re in love with, then surely they crave that intimacy in turn.
Where Volume 1 of Ogami-san Can’t Keep It In was a story of misfits beginning to fit in with the world around them, #2 puts a lot more emphasis on the romantic feelings brewing between our two main characters. On the whole, I don’t think this was a bad decision on the part of author Yu Yoshidamaru. The first book did give off the impression that it was confused about what kind of series it wanted to be and while I did like the broader look at other characters, I’m also happy to see it scaled back.
Perhaps because of refocusing on the romance side of things, the manga struggles less with the gags feeling forced too. Again, something that wasn’t a huge problem in the previous book but looked like it might become one as things went on. So I’m happy to see that nipped in the bud early and not because the author toned it down, but simply made it work.
Ogami-san Can’t Keep It In Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Kodansha and continues to be translated by Max Greenway with lettering by Dietrich Premier. No colour pages are included in this volume, but like #1 we are still treated to a couple of pages of translation notes at the end.
Volume 3 of the series is due for a release later this month with #4 following at the end of April, provided there are no delays. For now, at least Kodansha is managing to stick to its bi-monthly release schedule, which is always encouraging!
Overall, Ogami-san Can’t Keep It In Volume 2 proves another enjoyable entry in the series. It may have changed directions slightly since its introduction, but that doesn’t prove to be a problem and in some ways improves upon issues that were starting to creep up. Certainly, if it remains like this going forward, the series will be one of my top recommendations this year!
Our review copy from Kodansha was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.