This is a new series from Mitsuki Kako-sensei, who really prematurely ended her previous series, Dear! Needless to say, I was pretty darn disappointed at this because the heroine in Dear! was definitely more strong & independent, even tomboyish. Mitsuki-sensei is mainly known for very willowy & feminine heroines so this was a breath of fresh air…But it met its end in just two book volumes. *le sigh*
But now she has a new series in Betsucomi, Sai x Ai (literally, “Ultimate Love”). I read the just-released first chapter and will do a review here. I don’t foresee an ongoing synopsis for this series because, quite frankly, the first chapter was just meh.
But without further ado, click to expand for synopsis & pics!
The story starts out with a group of girls who are going around their high school in the evening. They talk about how the school used to be a field hospital and to this day, there are stories of a white ghost appearing and whisking away people in search of an unrequited love who the ghost lost during World War II. All of a sudden, our heroine, Tsugumi, blurts out that it’s so sad that the ghost and his love haven’t yet been reunited. All her friends give her an incredulous look and shrug off her ultra-slow reaction. As the girls are walking around the school, Tsugumi steps on what appears to be a card. It’s dark so she can’t see very well so she sticks it in her pocket, thinking someone must have dropped it. It’s the end of summer and Tsugumi thinks to herself that it’s a bit surreal to be surrounded by the foliage of the school greenhouse, and that it wouldn’t be too odd for a ghost to pop out of nowhere.
A gust of “something whitish” rushes in out of the blue and Tsugumi’s two friends are freaked out and bails on Tsugumi! As the confused & scared Tsugumi tries to find her footing, she sees what made her friends run, a white owl. She then sees a man come out into the open from behind some trees:
Tsugumi’s momentarily transfixed by this man in a white robe and notices his beautiful eyes. She then recalls the story about the white ghost who is constantly searching for his long-lost love…The man kneels down to be eye-to-eye with Tsugumi, and puts his finger on her lips, telling her not to make a sound. Tsugumi is still transfixed by this strange man and notices that there is a pleasant scent coming from him.
The man tells her to go and Tsugumi silently obeys, still in a trance and thinking that he is indeed the ghost that her friends told her about. She laughs to herself and thinks she must have sixth sense or something as she’s going down a short flight of stairs. She misses the last step and comes tumbling down. She hears out of the blue, “I told you to calm down,” and with that the man in the white robe deftly picks her up and hoists her on his broad shoulder.
He remarks that women can’t seem to be quiet and walk at the same time, and Tsugumi notices that he’s smoking a cigarette. She says to him that he can’t be a ghost because he’s smoking!
He laughs and says that she says the strangest things, and then leans in a bit and tells her that there are many kids who come around to the school greenhouse just to look around but she’s the most interesting one he’s seen so far. Tsugumi blushes a bit as her heart skips a beat. She thinks to herself that when he smiles he’s completely different from before. She asks him if he’s the one who spread the rumor about the ghost to deter people from coming here. He smiles his mischievous smile again and says, “Perhaps?” Tsugumi finds herself wanting to know more…Why was he there? What’s his name? As she’s gazing at him, he takes another drag on his cigarette and asks her if she always looks at people in such a way. Tsugumi doesn’t understand what he means by that and quickly looks away, when he grabs her face and makes her face him again. He tells her that she has an unfaltering, unwavering gaze that seems a bit dangerous. Tsugumi realizes that this is the first time in her life that she has seen her own reflection off another person’s eyes, and that when their eyes meet she feels a faint dizziness.
He realizes that she hurt her shoulder from when she fell, and he touches the wound lightly with his lips. Tsugumi shudders and the areas of her skin that he touches becomes numb so she can’t move. Then he turns to her and gets very close…His lips almost meeting hers. She thinks that she must still be dreaming.
Then she notices the scent of the forest…She doesn’t know whether it’s reality or a dream. She thinks to herself that if indeed it’s a dream, she doesn’t want to wake up…
It’s now the next day and Tsugumi’s at school during normal hours. A genki-looking boy named Hiro shows up with a worried look on his face and asks Tsugumi if the ghost really appeared last night! He keels over, depressed, wishing that he was there as well to see the ghost. Tsugumi tells him that it’s just as well that he wasn’t there because he’s been weak against ghost stories since kindergarten. Tsugumi tells him that she doesn’t even really remember anything from that night, anyway. The story goes that her friends found her outside the greenhouse, sleeping. Apparently the friends received a call from a man directly from Tsugumi’s phone, so they were able to find her. Tsugumi thinks that in reality, it could have been a very dangerous situation. She recollects the man’s lips on her shoulder wound and blushes a bit. Seeing this, Hiro asks her if something good happened. She quickly comes back to reality and brushes Hiro off, thinking that he’s usually pretty dense but sometimes he can be very sharp! Tsugumi feels a bit bad about lying to Hiro that she doesn’t remember anything, as she does remember the man. Hiro watches Tsugumi as she rushes off…It’s clear that he has some latent feelings for her!
Tsugumi takes the card she found that night out of her pocket. It’s a student ID for a college pharmaceutical graduate student named Kamijou Shizuka. Tsugumi realized that night that this ID must be him and she’s happy to know his identiy (and that he’s a real person!). She’s thinking of the best way to track him down…Then she gets into a trance again and cannot stop thinking about him, his scent, his touch…She wonders that night if they kissed.
It’s finally almost the end of the school day and Tsugumi wants to get out of class so she can rush to try to find the mysterious guy. As she’s busy thinking about him, some classmates around her make remarks about the new teacher’s assistant, who is wearing a white robe and who is a college student. They belittle the TA, saying that even girls who obsess about white robes (Hakui-Moe) won’t like an otaku-ish guy like him! Tsugumi realizes that the TA’s height is similar to the guy she’s looking for. So far they only see his back, but the teacher officially introduces him to the class as “Kamijou-kun” and Tsugumi realizes that it must be him! He turns around…And it’s a disheveled looking guy with glasses. Tsugumi is momentarily confused and thinks to herself, “Is it him?” Then he introduces himself and she realizes that the voices are the same…It is indeed him!
She is elated and excited that she found him (even though he looks like a nerd-otaku)! She rushes to him after class and offers to help him carry some equipment back to his lab. She immediately asks him why he looks like that. She keeps being inquisitive and he abruptly cuts her off and tells her that she must be mistaking him for someone else. Tsugumi’s shocked and confused as to why he’s like a different person. She then starts asking him about the kiss, then Tsugumi’s friends approach, looking for her. Kamijou quickly whisks Tsugumi to a stairwell to hide her from her friends and has his hand covering her mouth. He tells her that she really can’t seem to be quiet when walking, can she? Tsugumi smells the scent of the forest again, and as Kamijou takes of his glasses, Tsugumi turns to him, smiles brightly, and says that she really wanted to see him.
Kamijou lets go of Tsugumi and tells her that he didn’t want to see her.
Confused by the difference in his actions and attitude from the previous night, Tsugumi again asks why. Kamijou goes out of the stairwell area back in the open hall and sees the teacher along with Tsugumi’s friends who were still in the area. The teacher tells Kamijou that he wants to talk to him in more detail regarding Kamijou becoming a teacher soon. This shocks Tsugumi…So now Kamijou is going to become a “teacher,” and she’s going to be a “student.” Is that why it won’t do? The last scene shows Tsugumi looking as if she’s about to cry as she sees the back of Kamijou walking away from her.
OK…That’s it! I will reserve any harsh judgment right now since it’s only the first chapter, but WTH is up with the super-fast and obsessive love?! And did Kamijou really kiss Tsugumi that night at the greenhouse? But even if he did, WHY WOULD HE? That’s so beyond creepy (yes, he’s hot, but uhmm…That’s just so wrong on so many levels). And Tsugumi, why are you so scarily obsessed with this strange man? Why??? Many odd behaviors and inexplicable turn of events…Oh Mitsuki-sensei, why didn’t you just extend Dear! Wow…This sounds pretty harsh, doesn’t it? I’m sure this series will be scanlated soon so you can be your own judge on this series. I just wonder how long this will take and how “realistic” this series will prove to be (or rather, UNrealistic).