Warning: Here Be Spoilers
Missed my previous review? Check out volume 2!
“We really were happy…”
Once again I was pretty excited to realize that a new volume of Forget Me Not was coming up this week. With such gorgeous art and a realistic, detailed cast, it’s been a treat to read. I almost can’t believe that I once bought and returned an unread volume, thinking it looked a little unremarkable.
At the end of volume 2, Yusuke was asked out by a pretty classmate named Yamaguchi. She and Makino become friends, and the start of volume 3 finds all three spending time together as friends. It quickly becomes clear that Yamaguchi likes Yusuke, while Yusuke likes Makino. Oblivious, Makino becomes mad at Yusuke after he avoids giving Yamaguchi a real answer regarding their relationship.
When a night out leads to a drunken fist-fight, Yusuke is surprised at who comes to his rescue. Not long after, he goes ahead into a relationship with Yamaguchi, and works on mending his relationship with Makino.
Life seems to go by in an easy haze of happiness, until one day Yusuke is reacquainted with one of the boys from the Nobuta incident (in Forget Me Not, volume 1). Suddenly Yusuke’s perfect life heads back into a downward spiral.
Unlike the past two volumes, which focus solely on Yusuke’s past, this volume takes us into flashbacks of Yamaguchi’s life. With strict parents and a harsh set of rules, she has found herself at a crossroad – study hard and avoid frivolity to please her parents, or live her life the way she wants to. Considering she started as such an empty character in volume 2, it was wonderful to see Yamaguchi slowly brought to life. Forget Me Not’s big strength is how realistic it feels. Yamaguchi is a perfect example of this – we get to know her as Yusuke gets to know her. She starts as a stranger, boring and eager to please, and soon we learn more about her. How she cooks, what she thinks, how she’s grown up. At first it was strange to see someone else’s thoughts and motivations aside from Yusuke, but I think I enjoyed that addition to the story.
Volume 3 goes at a much slower pace than the previous novel. I was wary when I saw that all of this volume’s chapters were Tsukushi Makino (as you’ve probably noticed by now, each chapter is named after the main love interest of our protagonist’s life). However, Yusuke, Yamaguchi, and Makino’s story is so carefully constructed that I didn’t mind living in it for the full book. Even at the end of the volume, the story isn’t over, and I wonder how much more has happened to make it the longest story of the series so far.
This is also the first time that we see more of Yusuke’s childhood, during cryptic flashbacks to his mother. Though we are catching up to Yusuke’s present, it seems there’s plenty more to uncover about his past.
Once again, I can’t recommend Forget Me Not enough. The biggest complaint I’ve seen in other reviews is that Yusuke is unlikable. That might be true – from pushing Nobuta up against the wall to sharing some of his darkest thoughts, Yusuke occasionally takes the worst course of action. But this hasn’t deterred me. I actually like Yusuke, who is so honest about his life and the things he’s done. His contemplative remembrance of previous relationships almost reminds me of literature about lost romance – no, Forget Me Not isn’t the new Byatt or Proust, but it’s still just as wonderful to experience, with an unforgettable cast of characters.
Look forward to volume 4 on September 13th!