Manga Review: Mint Chocolate Vol. 4

Title: Mint Chocolate Vol. 4
Author: Mami Orikasa
Publisher: Yen Press
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
Genre: Slice of Life, Romance, Comedy
Publication Date: October 26, 2021

The Story

Volume four of Mint Chocolate centers around protecting Kyouhei and Nanami’s relationship. This all stems from when Itou passes around a photo of them kissing and Nanami ends up getting confronted about it. She comes up with an excuse since you can’t truly tell if Kyouhei is kissing her or not; however, none of that mattered. Andou ended up telling Kyouhei what was going on and he bolted to the roof and planted a kiss right on Nanami’s lips in front of everyone. He then announced that they were, indeed, dating, thus crushing and dispelling all rumors, ending the blackmail attempt.

Afterward, we are taken back to Itou’s past where it explains why she did what she did. Even though Nanami didn’t really agree with what she did, she gained an understanding of where Itou was coming from. The fact that all she wanted was to occupy a little piece of Kyouhei’s mind when she knew that it was near impossible to have him reeks of loneliness and desperation if you ask me.

After, despite the secret getting out to everyone in school that Kyouhei and Nanami are dating, Kyouhei’s locker is stuffed with Valentine’s Day chocolates… one of which Nanami says looked as if it cost around 5,000 yen (about $44 USD.) First off… who in the heck pays for $45 chocolate for a high school crush that you know is 100% guaranteed to not bear any fruit!? And second… I want to know what $45 chocolate tastes like. It’s almost like the mystery of the $5 shake from Pulp Fiction.

The volume wraps up with Nanami finding a cat. She wants to keep it but Kyouhei says his father doesn’t like cats. She tries to pawn it off on Andou; however, when she brings it back, it’s discovered that Kyouhei’s father actually likes cats!? Hmm… I smell some elaboration on a little bit of backstory that we are given here! Lastly, Nanami has family coming to visit. Normally, this isn’t much of a cliffhanger but I get there they are going with it. “CAN THEY KEEP THEIR RELATIONSHIP A SECRET!? FIND OUT NEXT WEEK ON STEP-SIBLINGS IN LOVE, THE FLAVOR MINT AND CHOCOLATE!”


Itou took center stage here and, honestly, I find her to be a mixed bag. I mean… she had that whole middle school run-in with Kyouhei which sparked her interest in him and, yet, from the very beginning… she knew that Kyouhei and Nanami were a thing, and instead of just letting go and moving on like any other self-respecting human being, she chose to be a blackmailing little twat all so she could plant herself in the back of Kyouhei’s mind!? Sorry… but someone who does that knowing full well that the guy you like isn’t going to like you back… you know… because he’s already in love with someone else and taken by that someone else… clearly shows you belong in a padded room where you’re fed 3 square meals a day and get paid a visit by some guy in a lab coat with a voice laced with a pleasing baritone.

I can’t easily trust or come to care about Itou but it appears that she is trying to move on… but not in a good way. There’s something I won’t reveal but it’s just an indirect attempt to stay in Kyouhei’s mind. I just wonder if the person she seemingly turned her attention to will be smart enough to pump the brakes and tell her to hitch the nearest ride to Nopeville?

Outside of that, Kyouhei making it clear that he and Nanami were dating was a pretty bold move for him. I like how he clarified that he only didn’t want their parents finding out about the relationship but it’s okay for everyone else to know. On the other hand, that explanation doesn’t make much sense. If everyone else knows, it increases the chances that their parents are going to find out! People gossip (Itou is a prime example of that) and word gets around. What’s going to happen when they’re out in public with their parents and it accidentally slips out!? That was kind of a dumb move but a commendable one because he did stand up for Nanami. At least he was clear about his feelings on cats… oh wait.

Final Word

Overall, this volume was pretty good even though I didn’t really connect or resonate with Itou as a character. It wouldn’t be as bad if it wasn’t the main focal point of this volume but I guess we will have to get used to Itou settling in as another mainstay character. I did and didn’t like the development with Kyouhei as I outlined above for those same reasons but I think this is obvious foreshadowing that the secret is going to be discovered by their parents.

When you have a series such as this and keeping a relationship a secret is one of, if not THE big draw of it, you know that sooner or later it’s going to get revealed. If/when it does, the big reaction from the parents is going to be the payoff to everything we have read thus far. In fact, I wouldn’t even expect to see their reaction because a random volume in the future is going to end on the secret getting out and then we’ll have to wait a month or three before we find out what happens (completely ignoring scanlation sites, of course!)

When it happens, I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal. They’re not blood-related and their parents seem like totally understanding people. So, I have a feeling that all of this tension and drama build-up isn’t going to amount to much. I can’t see them, especially Kyouhei’s father, do a complete 180 on their character archetype and become the devil incarnate himself. I can see them being understanding of the situation and even going as far as supporting the two of them. I would imagine this would set up the ending to the series followed by an epilogue of how everything works out with the parents’ approval.

I know… I’m crystal balling pretty hard here but since the whole “I don’t care who knows as long as it’s not mom and dad” plot point in here really started to make me think about what would happen when they do find out.

Until then… enjoy them trying to protect the secret from Nanami’s family next volume!

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**This item was provided for review by Yen Press