Title: Mint Chocolate Vol. 10
Author: Mami Orikasa
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Slice of Life, Romance, Comedy
Publication Date: February 20, 2024
Volume ten of Mint Chocolate sees Nanami try and stall for time with Kyouhei’s teacher. She manages to divert his attention just long enough for Kyouhei to get back. Everything worked out in the end; however, with summer break starting, it’s time for them to go on a family trip!
As the trip progresses, Nanami and Kyouhei become a bit suspicious about things. It appears that Kyouhei’s father may suspect that the two of them are dating. They decide to play it cautiously as he hasn’t done anything to raise suspicions as of yet; however, when it came to sleeping arrangements, he was quick to say that the boys would sleep in one room and the girls in another. During a ferry ride, Nanami gets seasick. After the ride, Kyouhei offers to take her back; however, their parents are trying to do it themselves and are getting a bit pushy.
Kyouhei stands his ground and that’s when he and Nanami have a serious conversation. They make an important decision but decide to execute it after they return home from the trip. When they return, Shouta is there waiting for them and he wants to know if Kyouhei will play with him. When Kyouhei says no, he blurts something out that could be a bit troublesome.
Hmm… thinking about it, development was pretty low for all involved in this volume. The only real development came when Kyouhei and Nanami had their conversation while Nanami was recovering from being seasick. They realized that they couldn’t just hide their relationship forever so they felt it was best to let the cat out of the bag; however, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t think about what would come afterward. For as immature as they can be sometimes, they showed a high level of maturity by weighing every pro and con before coming to their ultimate decision.
For a brief moment, we got SOME development with Sakuma. After what happened in the last volume, he ended up confronting Kyouhei upon his return from suspension. He simply asked what college he wanted to go to. When Kyouhei informed him that he hadn’t decided yet, Sakuma pressed the issue to make sure that their little academic rivalry would continue. Just some seeds are being planted for the future, I’m sure.
I’m just going to say it…. Shouta is a little brat and needs to get friends his age! Yeah… I find the character rather annoying but after the way the volume ended, I wanted to smack him. Oh well… “boys will be boys,” right?
While the volume was straightforward, there were some things to unpack here and it’s mainly about the future direction of the story. As I said with Sakuma… I felt a seed was planted by talking about what college Kyouhei wanted to go to. There was also a little scene where Kyouhei discovered what Nanami wanted to be when she was a little kid which also hinted at the future. Plus, with Kyouhei and Nanami’s decision to make their parents aware of their relationship, all these seeds are painting a picture that could serve as the ending to the series.
But, it also makes you wonder how much gas this series has left in the tank. As I said in a different review, a slice-of-life series typically runs between 10-15 volumes. We’re at the tenth volume and there are signs that it could be coming to an end in the not-too-distant future. The only thing stopping the series from doing so is expanding the story into a college arc and renewing that academic rivalry with Sakuma. If that were to happen, then you run the risk of dragging the series out and, if they do go to college, what challenges would the characters face that they hadn’t faced already?
It’s a bit of a tough call to make; however, it could go either way. I could also see them graduating from college and getting married as some sort of epilogue in the final book, too; however, it all depends on how their discussion with their parents… which I feel will go just fine… and this is the part I disliked about the volume.
During their discussion. Kyouhei pointed out a lot of reasons as to why he believed their parents would be fine with them dating. He made a lot of rational sense and it kind of softened the tension and the drama of what is to come in the next volume. Instead of leaving a reader hanging on the edge of their seat, it served to unnecessarily soften the blow. The only real shock value here would be if they were against it and attempted to drive a wedge between them but only Nanami’s aunt acted that way. Neither one of them came off as a character that would do something like that. The drama there seemed to be slightly mishandled and given the fact that every cliffhanger ending in this series so far has turned out just fine and nothing to worry over, I’m afraid the same pattern will repeat in volume 11.
It remains to be seen but if the goal was the grip you and fill you with dread, it fell a bit short of the mark. If Kyouhei had been uncertain and acted more afraid rather than “I don’t care,” then the next volume would have been 100x more suspenseful.
Outside of that little gripe, this was excellent.
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press.