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"Kodocha" Vol. 12: How I Used To Love You

Ah, Kodocha. At the beginning, how I loved thee. You were crazy, unpredictable even. There were still feats of randomness for the main character, Sana, to indulge in and adventures to be had. But now? I’m not so sure.

Sana Kurada, as the show claims, is not your average middle school girl. She performs a balancing act every day, trying to maintain an acting career while dealing with all the usual middle school stuff, like crushes on men who could be her father. Wait, what? Yes, Sana seems to have a thing for the older guys, as we have seen before with her manager and “ex-boyfriend” Rei. And her newest crush, Takeshi Gojo, is so much like Sana that it’s creepy. Really.

The volume focuses on her relationship with Take, who is also her co-worker. The pair are splashed all over the press after they move in together, but one reporter sees something more in their relationship and begins to investigate this Takeshi Gojo’s background. Things become ultra-dramatic when secrets are revealed in the episode, “Father, You Were My Father.” Sana’s “Mama,” her adoptive mother, discovers two secrets, one of which is that Take has only one month to live. Not wishing to ruin their time together, she decides not to tell them; soon after, Take collapses on set. This development automatically lessened my involvement in the show. It is too much “soap opera” and not enough Kodocha.

I am also tired of being told how inspirational and strong-willed Sana can be. She makes it through any situation, from losing her house to almost losing her career. However, I don’t need to be pounded in the head with it, and I especially don’t need to have it repeated outright. There have been several statements lately that could start with the phrase, “Gosh, Sana, you’re invincible!” Let’s see the power her infinite positive attitude has. You can tell us about it sometimes, but keep it soft and understated.

All this isn’t to say that this volume doesn’t have its good moments. There is the awkward party at Take and Sana’s house, where everyone holds their breath thinking Akito will explode upon seeing the two of them so close. And there’s also the Valentine’s Day episode where Sana’s friend Mami gives chocolate to the girl she thought was a boy, because Sana told her to go for it. The voice acting is always stellar, and I appreciate the job done on the dubbing. The animation, also, is one thing that I can always enjoy, and from the crazy expressions to the “Sana explosions” the style is perfect for the series. I still eagerly anticipate the next volume, but I am hoping for better things to come.

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