Title: Komomo Confiserie Vol. 4
Author: Maki Minami
Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Volume four of Komomo Confiserie picks up with Noelle visiting Natsu from France. This is the first of two story arcs that you will encounter in this volume and they are kind of, but not completely intertwined through the introduction of Mitsuru in the back half of the volume. Before we get to that, Noelle, who showed up at the end of volume three, seemed pretty infatuated with Natsu and looked to drive a wedge between him and Komomo. That wasn’t exactly the case though as Natsu became very cold towards Komomo when around Noelle, almost as if he were pushing her away. Of course, we get the spin on why he was acting that way towards the end, but by the time we got to the end of the arc, I was already bored of it. There’s only so much of a character type I can take before I just get sick of it and want to move on. I’ll explain a bit more about why I disliked Noelle in the character’s section.
On the back half, Natsu takes a trip to visit one of his best friends, Mitsuru. One thing that confused me is that Mitsuru has taken a keen interest in Komomo, but Mitsuru also mentioned that he knew Noelle. Noelle discovered Komomo’s past and, at one point, tried to use that as a bribe to get Komomo out of Natsu’s life. Being the kind of girl Noelle was, why didn’t she just tell everything she knew about Komomo to Mitsuru? Instead, the author leaves Mitsuru to his own devices to figure out more about Komomo. It could have been a nice twist and/or continuation from the previous arc so I believe Minami-san dropped the ball on it here. Just a weird plot point that jumped out at me.
So Mitsuru made a bad first impression on Komomo, but wanted to really get to know her in order to confirm something he felt suspicious of. He gets close enough to Komomo to ask her out on a date in which she reluctantly accepts. The only reason she did was because Mitsuru promised to tell Komomo something about Natsu if she went through with it. In other words, he blackmailed her. At the end of the date and at the end of the volume, Mitsuru says he went through with this date to prove something to Komomo: that Natsu loves her and she loves Natsu. It seems like Komomo is finally putting the pieces of the puzzle together in her head, but the volume ends on Komomo rejecting the fact that Mitsuru did this for Natsu
Honestly, that was a really weird page to end the volume on. If they had just cut that page out and ended it with Komomo questioning whether or not she loved Natsu, that would have made for a much better cliffhanger. The page they ended this volume on seemed like an opening page for volume five. I guess it was supposed to be a shocking statement from Komomo as she figured out that Mitsuru wasn’t doing this for Natsu, but it came out of left field and felt so flat that I just couldn’t buy this as the final page. I know not all volumes have to end on a cliffhanger, but this volume needed a hook to get readers to buy the next one and this didn’t do it. Like I said, if they had ended it just one page before, it would have worked perfectly.
Overall, the story in this volume was okay at best. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t horrible either. It was just a pretty average volume with one really annoying character in Noelle hogging half the volume to herself. The whole jealous love rival thing has been done before and it seemed pretty by the book with this. At least with Mitsuru, Minami-san tried something a bit different by disguising the rival as a friend trying to help a friend. I admit, that was a pretty nice twist, but they really needed to either end it a page earlier or go through with all of Komomo’s explanation and end it on something that would shock Mitsuru and back him into a proverbial corner.
Sadly, there wasn’t much character development for Komomo or Natsu in this volume. Natsu is still the overprotective male tsundere while Komomo continues to maintain the innocence of a child seeing the world for the first time. Heck, she admitted that she never had a hamburger in her entire life in this volume. Talk about sheltered… yeesh!
The volume spent most of its time developing Noelle and Mitsuru, two supporting characters that I wonder if we will ever see them again past volume five. Noelle was just nails on a chalkboard awful. I don’t know if that was the author’s intention, but there’s being a love rival and then there’s being Noelle. She came across as someone who seriously needed some help in the mental faculty department. The fact that she went to such great lengths to get rid of Komomo is just beyond the boundaries of a normal love rivalry. From using underhanded tactics, to money, to property damage, she didn’t seem like she was going to stop at anything until she had Natsu all to herself. I was waiting for her to go all Yuno Gasai on Komomo and I think if the author continued the story arc beyond where it went, then we may have just gotten to that point. It was so over the top, it was almost laughable and that’s not a good thing.
Mitsuru was a flat character all around. He’s your typical pretty boy who thinks he is God’s gift to women, but all the while, he was interested in Komomo simply because Natsu is attached to all of this. I get that the two of them are best friends, but that is a really odd way to help Natsu out. Nevertheless, with the way the volume concluded, we haven’t really seen everything Mitsuru has to offer from a character standpoint, but I hope he has more to offer than this. The character was just pretty one dimensional and often times I questioned why he was even there. In the previous volume, at least Seto was there to help develop Komomo’s character. Here, both Noelle and Mitsuru have done nothing to do such a thing. I’ll have to see in volume five if that’s still true with Mitsuru, but so far, neither of the new characters did the main characters any favors.
This wasn’t really the best volume put out in the series as it seemed more like filler than progression, but it was still a bit of an interesting read and it did have its moments where it made you feel for the characters, especially Komomo. Some might argue that those moments would be Komomo growing as a character, but the problem here is that she was using emotions that were already established last volume. I guess reassertion is a good way to show that the growth she experienced stuck around and didn’t just disappear like it has in some other stories I’ve seen (Assassination Classroom, I’m looking at you.)
All in all, it was still a decent read that I’m hoping leads up to some good progression next volume. While it wasn’t the best entry in the series, it was still rather entertaining to read.
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media