Minami Nanami Wants to Shine Volume 3 Review

During the Winter anime season, Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki aired its second cour which renewed interest in the franchise overall. Today I’m here to return to the spin-off manga Minami Nanami Wants to Shine, which comes to an end with this third volume. Will it be a good send-off? Let’s find out!

In Volume 2 of the series we saw Minami begin to struggle with her modelling, wondering if she was enjoying the work or simply looking for somewhere she’d be showered with attention. But Tomozaki’s helped her figure out what kind of photos to take for an Instagram account and that in turn has helped her begin to figure herself out.

Now Minami has received her first pay check from her modelling and while she’s wondering how to spend the money, Tomozaki asks her to go out with him at the weekend. While together the two talk about their lives and how Tomozaki feels they’ve been working toward the same goal of changing themselves, but Minami still wonders if that’s a good thing in her case.

As our heroine gets more into posting pictures on Instagram and meets people who are following her account, she’s realising that she’s promoting a fake version of herself: one who is chasing after the popular fads and thinking about what people want to see and not necessarily showing who she actually is. If this fake version of Minami is the only one that’s shining, is there any value in pursuing a career in modelling at all?

While this instalment of the series carries on the theme of self-discovery with Minami, it also switches its focus to a romance between Minami and Tomozaki. This manga has always been an alternate world compared to the main series of Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki, and that’s left the door open for something to develop between these two characters.

However, I have to confess that while Minami and Tomozaki have always been one of my favourite pairings, here in the spin-off, their romance is underwhelming. Perhaps because it hadn’t been a main focus earlier on and was slowly coming to fruition in the background, it lacks the chemistry we’ve seen from the two in Yuki Yaku’s light novel series (even just as friends, never mind any romantic feelings). Or maybe because Tomozaki isn’t the main character, so he feels rather flat and boring compared to the original. Whatever the case, when the romance was presented as the big closing arc here, I just found myself mentally checking out.

It’s not just the fact that the two are lacking in their usual chemistry, but it’s also the fact that it feels like a lot of Minami’s struggles go unresolved. Yes, she may have come closer to an answer about the modelling and balancing her ‘fake persona’ with her real self but it just felt pushed to the wayside in favour of the storyline with Tomozaki. Even Rumi the popular model who was introduced as a sort of rival/friend for Minami is left by the wayside, which is a real shame.

I think this needed a fourth volume just to have enough space to properly wrap up the various storylines. That way, perhaps, the romance wouldn’t have felt so rushed and we could have spent more time getting to know Rumi. It lacks Yuki Yaku’s usual charm, which is a huge shame when Volume 2 looked like a notable improvement from where we started.

Everything else about the manga is still great. Bana Yoshida’s art remains strong, capturing the emotions of the cast and the charm we’ve seen in the original light novels. As the series went on, Yoshida managed to balance their art around the number of speech bubbles that threatened to overwhelm it in Volume 1. I was once sad that light novel illustrator Fly wasn’t handling the manga, but now we’re at the end, I’m glad Yoshida had the opportunity as they’ve done a great job with it.

Minami Nanami Wants to Shine Volume 3 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Jennifer Ward with lettering by the ever-dependable Bianca Pistillo. The release reads well with no issues to note and also includes some translation notes at the end.

Overall, Minami Nanami Wants to Shine’s final volume is underwhelming and disappointing after the improvements we’d previously seen. It feels like it squandered a lot of potential and, had it been given even one more volume, I suspect it would have concluded more strongly than it does.

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

6 / 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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