Title:I Belong to the Baddest Girl at School Vol. 4 Author: Ui Kashima Publisher: One Peace Books Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 184 Genre: Romance, Comedy Publication Date: July 12, 2022
Volume 4 introduces us to our new character, Aika Yodo… a transfer student that went to the same elementary and middle school as Unoki. She used to go to a school of higher learning but thought it was boring because she couldn’t cause any trouble there. She discovered which school Unoki went to and transferred so she could do one thing… out bully Toramaru!
The volume breaks down into a pseudo battle between Yodo and Toramaru where Yodo constantly bullies him while Toramaru tries to act as Unoki’s shield. This all changes when Unoki goes behind Toramaru’s back and gives Yodo permission to bully him in exchange for leaving Toramaru alone. When Toramaru finds out about this, her heart breaks and she becomes absent from school. Yutaka and Matsuri eventually get involved; however, Yutaka is the one who tries to patch things up between Toramaru and Unoki.
The strange thing is that Yodo wants this as well. When they do end up clearing the air, Yodo is thrilled so she does the one thing she could do… karate chops Unoki, knocks him out, ties him up, and holds him captive but not before leaving a note for Toramaru to come find them. When she arrives, Yodo unveils her true goal when it comes to Unoki and, in the process… forces the hand of fate!
Yodo took front and center stage in this volume as one would expect with the addition of a new character. All I can say is that this girl is WAY off of her rocker. At first, I thought she was going to just be a Toramaru clone and that the series was going to take a turn for the worse with the two of them fighting over Unoki. Then, came Yodo’s reason for doing all of this and that’s when you realize that this chick deserves only the worst padded cell in the most uncomfortable section of the psych ward, dining on a tranquilizer cocktail three times a day.
It’s hard to admit that she had good intentions after everything she did to Unoki but the thing that felt really off was that she came off as this legit tough girl that wasn’t even afraid of “The Boss,” but in the end, she just seemed so juvenile. All of the pranks she played you would expect to have been pulled off by someone half her age. It was hard to take her seriously. Putting thumbtacks and slime in Unoki’s shoes, having erasers fall on his head… all of which were nothing more than childish pranks but yet she claims she’s a bully.
Honestly, this caused me to dislike her character because she just didn’t feel like a rival. Then, when she revealed her true purpose, she went from being a really crappy rival to a blatantly obvious plot device leading to a moment we had all been waiting for but butchered to hell because of her character and involvement in the story. I just didn’t see the need to have Yodo in this story… like… at all. There could have been a million other (and better) ways to get us where we went to but the biggest problem is where does Yodo go from here? Sure, there are only three volumes left but I can’t see her becoming more than just a background character or an attempt at poor comic relief from here on out.
As for Unoki and Toramaru, they ended up getting some nice development but I can’t see how Yodo needed to be involved in it. Again, there are a million other and better ways to achieve the same result which makes Yodo feel like an even bigger plot device because instead of happening naturally, their development was forced upon by another character. In the end, we still got what we were hoping for but this just wasn’t how I had hoped for it to play out.
If you took Yodo out of the picture, this would have been another strong volume in the series. Unoki, Toramaru, Matsuri, and Yutaka all were great in this but having to have them work around Yodo just kind of took away a lot of the things that made this series so good. This series was at its best when it just focused on Toramaru and Unoki and while, yes, this volume did do that in the grand scheme of things, it just didn’t as if any of the progression was natural. It all just felt very forced and unnecessary.
It makes me wonder if the author got the notice that this series was getting canceled and he had to start wrapping it up and introduced Yodo as a bit of a fast-forward to get to the end? That’s the only reason I could see for including her outside of this just being an ill-conceived plot point that sounded better on paper than in practice.
Normally, I don’t like it when characters fade into the background and become irrelevant but I think I’d be okay if that happened to Yodo so we can spend the final three volumes focusing on the only two characters that have mattered this entire time. It was working so well until now!