Manga-ka: Satoru Kannagi (Author), Hotaru Odagiri (Artist)
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: July 2006
Synopsis: “After all the studying he did for his exams, sacrificing time with his boyfriend Yuichi, Wataru gets a measly C-average on his summer prep test. Yuichi’s college classmate Asaka offers to tutor him, and he eagerly accepts. Wataru finds Asaka’s cool beauty and attitude strikingly similar to that of Yuichi’s, and subconsciously becomes vulnerable to his advances. For the first time in their relationship, Yuichi becomes enraged. Will they be able to overcome this new obstacle?”
When I started out reading this second volume of Only the Ring Finger Knows, I expected more tension between Asaka and Yuichi. Throughout the story, I kept expecting Asaka to step up and try to win Wataru’s affections. It seemed so obvious this is where the author was headed with this story. Instead, she spends a great deal of the book endearing Asaka not only to Wataru, but to her readers as well.
It’s so hard not to like the older boy – you almost miss how he manipulates events to his advantage. There were a few plot points I had to question, as far as Yuichi’s strange amount of trust in Asaka though. I’m still trying to figure that part out. Maybe book three will give more insight. Asaka’s character is so hard to figure out.
The series continues to be written with a fresh, bold use of English in a very straightforward and almost breezy way that seems to suit the story itself so well. It’s not what I’m used to, but I find I liked the simplicity of it more and more as I read. Perhaps there was less of the awkwardness I noticed in the first book, or maybe I just got used to it.
Once again, those rings prove the stumbling point in the relationship. Both men want to emphasize the importance of their symbolism, yet every time they turn around, the rings are getting them into uncomfortable situations. Taking a stand for their relationship seems the next logical place to go, but as soon as they do, Yuichi’s older brother takes exception. My favourite part of the entire book was Wataru standing up to the older man. Ordinarily he might seem on the outside, but in fact, I get the impression he’s really the stronger of the two.
Like in the first book, the art is very sweet and I found myself lingering over the drawings. I just wish there were more of them. I would have liked to see more of those intense moments between Wataru and Yuichi depicted, but even still, I enjoyed what there was.
I’m definitely interested to read the third book and see where this new obstacle of Yuichi’s older brother takes the pair. One thing is for certain, the author has done a good job of depicting a young, uncertain relationship and instilling some doubt as to whether these young men are capable of going the distance. It makes me far more interested in reading more Only The Ring Finger Knows than I might otherwise be.