Kare Kano is establishing itself as one of my favourite
series, and this volume certainly does nothing to change that.
If Miyazawa and Arima stand up for their love they'll shatter the image the teachers have of them and life could get far more difficult for both of them. Tsuda has really decided to test the strength of her characters' relationship and the story matures because of it. You know that both of them will have to overcome adversity as the story progresses (Arima in particular seems to have some serious skeletons in his closet) but their reaction to it this time round makes for great reading. The drama is upped considerably and there is increased focus on how their relationship affects others and also how their change in character is being perceived by their peers. However, if you think the comedy and romance is going to take a back seat think again.
As with the previous two volumes the visual humour really makes it great, the reaction shot when Miyazawa finds out her exam results is one of the most hilarious manga moments of all time! Miyazawa's behaviour is once more the funniest aspect of the story, although Arima's childish sparring with the flirtatious Asaba shows a welcome lighter side to his character too. Miyazawa's family are great as always, particularly her parents' reaction to the parent-teacher meeting ('Dear! Go get the weapons!'), but this time even more than before it is the romance that drives it. The increased drama boosts the romantic side of the story, with Miyazawa and Arima showing their commitment and strength of feeling through their handling of the problems they face. They fight their battles together and grow closer because of it, showing their resolve not only to their teachers and parents but also to themselves. What Tsuda is an absolute master of is balancing the comedy, the romance and the drama perfectly without ever overpowering you with any of them, something she demonstrates perfectly in the volume.
The strangest thing about Kare Kano vol 3 is the fact
it doesn't seem to have any less comedy or romance than the last two. However,
it still manages to throw in a huge dose of dramatic spice without feeling
cluttered or unbalanced. The characters have grown and developed, taking
an already hugely entertaining story in new directions and adding new dimensions
to their relationship. Tsuda switches between comedy, romance and drama
perfectly and, with a growing cast of great characters and some more problems to
be faced at the end, I for one can't wait for volume 4.
The usual stuff (ads, synopsis, preview), but it's the short bonus manga strips at the end and the side comments from Masami Tsuda that really makes it great. They are occasionally bizarre but always great fun, and you really feel that you are getting to know the author as well as the story - something that is very rare in manga.