Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Arisa, Volume 3 by Natsumi Ando

Tsubasa and Akira have started working together to find out the identity of "the King". "The King" has stripped down the number of people who can make wishes in the class from the entire class to just five people, one of whom is Tsubasa, still posing as her sister Arisa. Among them is also Arisa's friend Mariko, who came from a troubled background. Her schoolmates from her last school seem to see her as invisible, or nearly so.

This caused her great pain, so when she becomes one of the five chosen students at a visit to the planetarium, the power rushes to her head, and she decides to lord it over the other students, telling them that she will wish for them to disappear one by one, which stuns them. But when Tsubasa asks Mariko if Mariko was the one who tried to kill her at the pool, Mariko flees to the mirror room, where the King, stunningly, repudiates her and tells *her* to disappear. Mariko can't handle this, and runs back to the rest of the class, trying to ingratiate herself with them again, but they ignore her as if she isn't there, and she suffers a breakdown.

For the next three days, she doesn't come to school, and then there are rumors that she will be switching schools once again. Tusbasa goes to see her and asks Mariko if it is true, and Mariko says it is. That soon, she will be gone from the memories of the students at this school just as she is in the memories of the students in her grade school. She says all she wanted was to have a good friend, but she doesn't think she can ever have that.

Tsubasa is shocked, and tells Mariko that she will always remember her, and grabs one of the pictures of her and Mariko before Mariko can burn them like the rest. Mariko thinks to herself that she had forgotten you didn't always need the King to make your wishes and dreams come true, and she tells Tsubasa that the King is one of the five remaining students who can make wishes.

And soon enough, it turns out that Midori Yamashita, Arisa's boyfriend, is one of the people whose number has been chosen. Those disenfranchished by the recent changes all want him to make the wishes for them, but he refuses to do so. Then, there comes a text from the King. Because someone didn't make a wish, no wish will be granted, but they can make them again on Friday. Midori reveals that he is the one who didn't make a wish, and that he hopes this game will soon end, because he doesn't want such infighting over the wishes to go on.

The King has said that if no one makes a wish, "King Time" will end, but not everyone wants it to end. As Tsubasa goes on a "date" with Minori to an amusement park, "The King" tells another student with poor grades to steal Midori's phone. If he does it, his wish to go on a date with a beautiful classmate will be granted. Otherwise, he is just useless. But the student can't find Midori's cell phone, and must confess defeat. "The King" tells him to try again, and castigates him for his failure.

Meanwhile, a new student joins the class, and Tsubasa is given the duty of showing him around. He's a strange boy with a heart ailment and has already undergone surgery, but claims that he won't live long. What connection might he have to the King, and what does "The King" know about Arisa and Tsubasa? Can Tsubasa find out the identity of "The King" as unmask him before he kills or further hurts her sister?

Well, we finally get to see the King, but it seems to invalidate some of the statements made earlier in the series, like how the King was one of the class (because he wasn't until part of this volume), and we also learn that the King has switched identities. I won't be spoiling that for you, but I will say that the first King was someone who only had good in mind, and when they were deposed, the new King is the one who seems to have the compulsion to control the class and the people in it. And that this second King wasn't part of the class to begin with, has this been going on in other schools as well? The story doesn't tell us, but it seems likely that someone who wants to control people so badly wouldn't just stumble on this sort of situation by accident. It seems like something they might have done before.

I will say I was actually surprised by the identity of the first King, but the story is going to have to do a lot of explaining as to how and why the outside person learned about "King Time", as well as how they managed to move in and take over. I mean, you could argue that this person already went to the school, but considering that they seemed to know nothing about the school, that just didn't fly with me. I hope we get some sort of explanation that makes sense about this, because it could be done very badly, and I don't want it to be that way.

I find myself intrigued enough to keep reading, and finding out more about the new King and the changes they are making to "King Time". I just wonder why, except for being in the way, the new King hates Tsubasa. I mean, they really seem to hate her. But why? That remains to be seen, and I do want to find out. Recommended, and this story is getting good now.

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