Title: My Clueless First Friend Vol. 4
Author: Taku Kawamura
Publisher: Square Enix
Publication Date: December 5, 2023
We open up this volume of My Clueless First Friend with more of the usual between Taiyo and Nishimura. The kids have to practice a fire drill and Taiyo takes it a little too seriously. Then, Valentine’s Day approaches and Kasahara decides that this is the time she’s going to make her move on Taiyo. She attempts to sabotage Nishimura by convincing her that giving out chocolates is a friends-only event, thus opening the door for her to confess her feelings. When the opportunity arises, though, she can’t bring herself to do it!
After this, they prepare to give the sixth graders their sendoff as graduation is right around the corner. This makes them realize that come April, they will be the ones entering sixth grade. They begin to think about what will happen to them once they get to middle school… and then the realization sets in that they could also end up in different classes for their final year of elementary school, too! Of course, they all get stuck in the same class again so all that worrying was for nothing.
Soon after they start class, they go eat together and run into a girl playing a video game called New Frontiers. Her name is Sora Inada and she just so happens to be in their class; however, nobody has ever seen her because she never shows up. A while ago, she decided that school wasn’t for her so she became a shut-in. This means that she doesn’t know about Nishimura being called the Grim Reaper; however, it doesn’t mean she likes her. Something about Nishimura makes her angry; however, thanks to Taiyo, Nishimura isn’t about to let that drive her away! Can she break through Sora’s shell?
Taiyo is still as clueless as ever when it comes to the way he feels about Nishimura; however, there were a couple of moments where the two of them felt “tightness in their chests” but didn’t know what it meant. Of course, everyone around them knew that it was love but they didn’t flat-out tell them. It’s kind of funny to see everyone else realize that they love each other but keep it in the dark. While it is true that they should figure it out for themselves, in this case, I think it’s better if they spell it out for them because I truly don’t believe that Taiyo can think that deeply. With the way he is now, I highly doubt he even knows what love is. He is clueless, after all.
Kasahara had a moment where she almost made a move on Taiyo but she came to the realization that her underhanded trick of convincing Nishimura that Valentine’s Day was just a symbol of friendship didn’t sit right with her. Instead, she made a vow to win over Taiyo as herself and not cheat her way to victory. She has been slowly transitioning as a character and this is just another step in that transformation. While she still retains some of her snarky mindset, she’s slowly becoming more and more wholesome. It’s rather cute to watch her become the opposite of who she started out as.
Dai is about as clueless as Taiyo. He’s beginning to realize some of his feelings for Umi so he needs advice… so he decides to ask Umi about how to go about surprising her. Yes… he wants to plan a surprise for Umi so he thought the best course of action would be to ask Umi. What makes matters worse is he blurts out a semi-confession to Umi in a way where it was as if he had completely forgotten who he was talking to. At least Umi doesn’t have to wonder about how he feels about her. I guess that’s a win for her.
Lastly, we have our new character Sora Inada. As aforementioned, Sora is a shut-in who likes playing New Frontiers… which I can probably best describe as some sort of parody of Animal Crossing. She has a really rotten attitude and doesn’t like to be bothered. She’s a shut-in who thinks school is worthless even though she seems smarter than some of her classmates. The fact that they try to befriend her bothers her down to her very core… so much so that she actually returns to school in an attempt to make their lives a living hell. While she seems like a new antagonist, she’s really not. Things develop pretty quickly with her which kind of bothers me a bit. I was hoping that we could have stretched this story out a bit more but it seems as if it’s already well on its way to being resolved. I even predict that she’ll just be another regular as early as the next omnibus. Still, she’s probably the most interesting new character introduced thus far and she’s fast becoming my favorite.
So, I believe there was a bit of a misunderstanding in the last volume. I remember Taku Kawahara mentioning that they would be going through graduation in this volume but that wasn’t only half true. Technically, they did go through graduation… just not theirs. With them doing the send-off for the sixth graders, they did participate; however, it also allowed them to begin thinking about the future and, in turn, make the readers think about it as well. Now, we have questions such as “Will this series continue once they reach middle school?” “is their sixth-grade graduation the end of the series?” etc.
We are four (US) / eight (JP) volumes into this series which means that if it took eight volumes for them to get through fifth grade, we have a long way to go before they finish sixth grade. That means there is plenty of time to get things situated but, at the same time, if this series does end around the 16-20 volume range, then that would also mean that sixth-grade graduation is the end of the series probably followed by an epilogue of sorts. That’s just my guess, though. I am drawing parallels with Watamote because, in that series, you wonder what would happen once Tomoko reaches college and everyone goes their separate ways. Here, you get that same feeling in middle school.
Of course, you can always pull the plot device and just keep them together for the sake of continuing the series but, on the other hand, would extending the series cause it to overstay its welcome? When I think about that, ending it on the sixth-grade graduation ceremony seems like the sweet spot. If I’m right, Taiyo has one full school year to realize how he really feels about Nishmura… and with his mentality, this is going to be a bigger uphill battle than we think!
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This item was purchased for review.