Saturday, March 16, 2013

Manga Review: Kodocha: Sana's Stage, Volume 8, by Miho Obana

Rating (Out of 5): ~4-4.5
Publisher: Tokyopop
Volumes: 10
Spoilers?: Yes.
Buy it here: Amazon. (Out-of-Print)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Take one young actress used to getting her way, add a handful of ruthless bullies, some humorous twists, and a plastic toy hammer, and you've got the recipe for one crazy story Kodocha follows the antics of Sana, a spoiled 11-year-old TV star, and Hayama, a 6th grade Machiavelli who terrorizes both his teachers and his classmates. In their classroom war of wills, Sana and Hayama find there is more to both of them than meets the eye.

Something Specific:

  • "'But if you have at least one person you can depend on... You'll be able to get through anything. It could be a friend, a lover, family...anyone. As long as you have that person...'" // "'They didn't have that one person in their lives... That you.'" (Two different quotes, talking about the same thing.) I mention this in the review, but I just love it. You can probably understand what they're saying just fine, but the context in which it's used here is just so... special, so significant.


I’m getting so close to the end! Urghh…
This volume starts right where the last one left off, with Akito going to find Kazuyuki and Sana worrying about it but going home. Akito searches the forest for quite a while, I’m not sure how long exactly, and eventually finds him. And Kazuyuki looks exhausted, drained, and psychotic. This chapter flashes back and forth between Akito dealing with Kazuyuki and Sana telling the adults that she knows where the two are and worrying about when he’ll get back and if he’ll be okay.
He’s not okay when he gets back. Because Kazuyuki gets crazy and sets up how he and Akito are going to die together, but Akito doesn’t believe he’s strong enough to go through with it, so he goads him, and Kazuyuki runs at him with a knife, but stabs him in the arm and cries, because he is too afraid to do anything more. Akito is hurt, but immediately after getting stabbed, he wraps up the wound and tells the kid that they’re going back home now. It’s a treacherous walk back, but they get there, Akito barely holding on. And when they finally get home and he sees his family and Sana, who are all freaking out, he passes out and is rushed to the emergency room.
Everyone is freaking out as they wait to find out what’s going on with Akito, and whether he’s going to live since he’s bled so much, and the tension is high. Which means it doesn’t help when the police try to question Kazuyuki and his mother gets all defensive and yells and blames Akito. Sana, Fuka, Tsuyoshi, and Aya don’t take kindly to that and yell at her. Afterward, Sana’s mother even goes over to Kazuyuki's mother and tells her that she thinks she’s not a very good parent to her son, who is obviously not doing okay, and is feeling bombarded with pressure from her.
During this, Akito’s heart is slowing down, and his ghost tries to move on, only to be stopped by someone… I’ve decided not to say who, even though it’s not a huge surprise, but in the end he goes back to his body and starts fighting and breathing, and everyone finds out that he’s going to live. Although, the talk with that person and the whole experience seems to have made him feel really guilty about everything that he’s done in the past. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be for some of it, but he shouldn’t feel it so overwhelmingly so.
Oh yea, Sana ditched a live show to stay at the hospital, which Naozumi fills in for at the last minute, but she hears that Akito is going to be okay and makes it for the last half of the show. The producers aren’t happy about it, but neither her or Rei care, as long as Akito is okay. The press is also really curious about it, but Sana avoids saying anything about Akito or a friend, just that it was because of personal reasons.
After that, Sana decides that she doesn’t need to see Akito, as long as he’s okay. But, finally Fuka has a talk with him and they break up, and Sana doesn’t know till Fuka tells her that Akito needs her. Akito’s been having some kind of fit every night, including throwing up, and no one knows why. Also, his hand is paralyzed, because the knife hit some nerves. When Sana hears about this, she doesn’t waste much time getting to the hospital to see him. Which is a very sweet scene, and a little heartbreaking, and I love it.
God, the romance between these two is just perfect. It’s a bit unexpected, seeing as this seems like a kids series at first, but the romance… They are just perfect for each other. That scene, and one later in this volume, really proves it, too. They haven’t really kissed, aside from those surprise attacks earlier in the series, and they don’t get affectionate too often, but that doesn’t matter. Really, all that matter is the look on Akito’s face when he sees her, when you can tell that he needs her right then (and not in a lust way, but in a vulnerable way), and what he says in this volume, how he knows that she’s the one, she’s the one that’s capable of keeping him sane and alive… There’s this line, about how there’s that special someone out there for everyone, and Akito knows that Sana’s that person for him, but the way it’s done in this volume is so… So completely perfect. It’s what dreams are made of, you guys. God, they’re just… It’s all just perfect and I love it all so very much.
For the rest of the volume, Sana has another talk with Fuka, Sana and Akito go say farewell to Kazuyuki, who is now officially Akito’s friend (which is really good and understandable, from what happened between them in this volume) but is moving away, and there’s a cute scene between Akito and Sana, and a nice scene between Akito and his family (where we find out some more about Akito’s mom, which, aww…).
At the end of the volume, it seems like the rousing fight between Akito and his teacher (who is a complete jerk) is finally going to come to a head. Also, there’s mention of a Christmas Eve midway-Birthday party for Sana and Akito (and Fuka, who’s actual birthday is that day).
This series just keeps getting better and better. I am really loving it right now. I like the more serious parts, but there’s also been a lot of really sweet moments and funny ones, which oddly seem to work much better than they did in the beginning (the humor more so than the sweet stuff; the sweet stuff has always been pretty good, just seems to have gotten better). Right now this series, as a whole, is at a very high 4 stars, and might even be leaning higher. I’m really surprised, and really glad.
I’m really looking forward to the next volume, even if it is the last one that I currently own.
Sidenote/Update: in the first chapter of this volume, Obana snuck in three ghostly figures, and I noticed one through my first read, but she mentioned it in one of the side panels, which made me go back and try to find the others. I found two, but it was really bothering me that I couldn’t find the last one. In volume nine, though, she says where they are; I was totally off on where I thought the last one would be. Ugh… I’m glad she said, though, because it was driving me crazy. I was about ready to look it up online.

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