Title: Chitose is in the Ramune Bottle Vol. 5
Author: Hiromu (Story), Bobkya (Art), raemz (Characters)
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Shounen, Battle
Publication Date: January 23, 2024
We continue our new arc of trying to discover who Yuzuki’s stalker is. Right off the bat, we run into a situation where Chitose has to tell everyone that the two of them are dating. Needless to say, the news isn’t taken very well amongst his circle. It got to the point where he couldn’t hide it any longer so he explained about the contract, the stalker, and everything else in between. Of course, they all agreed to help and do their part in protecting Yuzuki.
While things seemed normal, something interesting happened when three students from Yan High visited Chitose. They were sent there to convince Chitose to hand Yuzuki over to them because their senpai had taken a keen interest in her. Just typical delinquent stuff. Chitose baits them along to get some information out of them before standing up for himself and sending them on their way; however, he doesn’t do it alone as Kaito shows up to help him out. Everyone decides to lecture Chitose about putting himself in harm’s way like that but while they are suspects, Kenta offers up some rationale about how their actions don’t add up to stalker material.
We receive another suspect in Class 8’s Tomoya Naruse, a new character that gets introduced. He suspects that Chitose and Yuzuki are fake dating and, for some reason, Chitose spills the beans to him. In exchange, Tomoya wants to make Chitose his love guru and get relationship advice from him since it was love at first sight since the entrance ceremony for him with Yuzuki. Chitose agrees to help him out; however, once Tomoya is out of the picture, he admits that he has some ulterior motives for helping him out.
Our volume comes to a close with a bit of a reunion of sorts between Chitose and someone we met not all that long ago… and, of course, Yuzuki shows up!
Chitose is in the main spotlight and while he doesn’t really grow much in a personal way, he does go outside of his comfort zone all for the sake of honoring his contract with Yuzuki. Confronting those guys from Yan High wasn’t something he was willing to do. In fact, he even admitted that he was scared to even be in that situation but his gilded tongue allowed him to glean some information and manipulate them quite easily. Of course, he didn’t want things to escalate and get physical and, thankfully, Kaito showed up and helped prevent that but it showed just how far he was willing to take things just for the sake of helping her out.
Our new character, Tomoya, is a bit weird. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered about him but I have a feeling he has his own ulterior motives. Saying it was love at first sight between him and Yuzuki is a bit convenient but, at the same time, it seems kind of plausible. The only reason why I don’t think it all stems from Chitose wanting to use him. It’s as if he suspects something, too. Nevertheless, he was all over the place in our initial meeting of him. He starts out confrontational, then he becomes understanding, and then he becomes someone who seemingly wants to take advantage of Chitose for his own goals, all while acting like a lost puppy in love. It’s really odd to switch to so many different personalities in such a short amount of time. That’s why I wouldn’t trust this guy as far as I could throw him.
The mystery of the stalker was the main focus of this volume and while we did meet a couple of suspects, we also had a really weird plot point of Yuzuki’s deodorant and body wipes going missing…something that never got resolved and got forgotten about as quickly as it was introduced. Perhaps it will play into things a bit later but for now, it just seemed like a random plot point to introduce that seemingly went nowhere.
Chitose also suspects that he’s going about this the wrong way by focusing on the literal definition of the word “Stalker.” That in and of itself changes things quite drastically. It means now that anyone or anything regardless of motive could be a suspect. If that’s the case, that would put Tomoya right up at the top of the list. Sadly, the only other reason as to why it would be him is because he’s a brand-new character that got an entire chapter named after him. When something like that happens, it’s usually done so on purpose to draw attention to that character as if to say “Look! I’m important!” It’s akin to playing Mega Man Battle Network and saying “UNIQUE SPRITE ALERT!”
Why introduce a character in such a way? If it’s misdirection, the most likely scenario is that he’s not the “stalker” and his motives are legit. That would mean when they do catch the real culprit and Chitose’s contract ends, it’ll set up Yuzuki with someone and give both characters their happy ending. Plus, this also means that Chitose can handle more than one contract per story arc.
Whatever the case may be, we’ll how this pans out in the next volume. I still have my suspicions but Tomoya could just be a red herring after all and someone that will pop up from time to time once this story arc blows over. Speaking of…
Hi, Kenta. Nice to finally see you again.
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**This item was provided for review by Yen Press.