Author: Satosumi Takaguchi
Manga-ka: Yukine Honami
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: March 2008
Synopsis: “Shuuiku Academy’s students are leaving for summer vacation, but Yuuhi-kun is stuck in the dorm. It doesn’t matter that home lies on the same backwoods country property as the school campus – his house is being remodeled, so Yuuhi’s got nowhere else to go! Likewise, Sango-san will be staying behind to keep an eye on things, leaving the two of them all alone with nothing but time on their hands. Will being away from prying eyes lead Sango to temptation?”
It’s the third and final volume of Can’t Win With You!, an undeniably charming and coming-of-age sort of book about a group of guys and their school dorm escapades. The book’s lead focus is on Yuuhi (or ‘Chickenhead’), a naïve but spirited boy from the country who happens to be the landlord of the school as well as the dorm’s Resident Advisor. He’s come quite a ways since the days of volume one with help, for better or worse, from the interesting group of acquaintances he’s made here in Shuuiku Academy.
This volume feels like a conglomeration of ideas that the author wanted to get out of her system before the series ended. The stories hop around a bit but for the most part, they’re all a lot of fun. While one sees Hayate Houjou, the attractive but laid-back scruffy haired student, followed by a spirit who seems keen on keeping him sexually satisfied, another chapter is a cute and bizarre dream that Yuuhi has on New Years that involves lots of animal ears, randomness and… pregnancy?
All the funny stuff aside, there’s also the usual dramatics one can expect from a yaoi stories. Don’t take it the wrong way though; Satosumi Takaguchi (author of Shout Out Loud) does an excellent job writing these characters in a way that’s emotional ‘and’ entertaining. It doesn’t hurt she has the Director’s mischievous sons to lighten any mood with their often unbelievable methods of butting into other people’s business.
Yuuhi and Sango, officially a couple as of volume two, go through the various steps of a relationship one would expect for those with their particular personalities. Sango fears his ever-growing love and attraction to Yuuhi will cause him to do something they’ll both regret, while Yuuhi fears Sango will leave him for an old flame or because he isn’t sexy enough. Yuuhi’s naivety continues to be taken advantage of by writer and characters alike but he remains as adorable as ever, determined to overcome his naivety instead of drowning in it. While the repetitive formula of ‘insecurity leads to happy ending’ is a tad over used here, I still found each event sweet and suitably fluffy.
On the art front, Yukine Honami’s style remains perfectly suited to the story. I love how simple everything is drawn and yet each character is very distinctive with different designs and mannerisms. Good panel choices were made, allowing for really nice pacing throughout and the light-airy feel the art has helps set a certain mood that compliments the story well.
Overall, Can’t Win With You! volume three will continue to please readers with everything loveable that volumes one and two had. Yuuhi is still too cute for his own good, Nekota’s nose remains in everyone’s business, the Director still really wants to get into Torishima-Sensei’s pants, and Kanya & Hayate never stop having sex. It’s sad to see such a wonderful series end, but I suppose better to have it end as fun as this one did than watch it get dragged out too long.