I sure hope none of those kids are picky eaters, because letting everyone put whatever they want in gyouza and then steaming them all together with no regard for who made what or what’s in each one is uhhhh not a good idea. Half of that stuff I wouldn’t eat (or would only eat when made a certain way, etc.), and I would not be a happy camper if I got stuck with any other than the ones I made. Sure it’s played for humor when Hanabi ends up getting Ryouma’s nattou & chocolate one which isn’t nearly as good as he claims it will be, but it could definitely be trouble if there was, say, a kid who hates the texture of corn who ended up with one with corn in it. But then, no one ever thinks of neurodivergent kids (or they just think we need to suck it up and eat it anyway, no matter how akin to torture it is, or else just starve. No one takes sensory issues seriously, especially when it comes to food, even with children. Heck, people don’t even take food allergies seriously).
It does not surprise me in the slightest that Nacchan and Yayako get along.
Also does not surprise me that Yayako would act innocent in forgetting about the soup. She’s working here too now, she ain’t faultless. Even though she’s surely playing with fire, I still enjoyed Tina calling her out on it. Unfortunately, I’m sure she won’t get away with it, though, except for as long as Ryouma’s around. Yayako ain’t gonna do anything to risk showing her true colors to Ryouma and having him hate her.
It’s funny Ryouma would bring up the bathroom incident from last volume. The culprits were Yayako (his precious kouhai) and her cronies, and the victim was Hanabi (his precious friend). I wonder how long Hanabi and Tina are gonna keep him in the dark about how awful Yayako is to them.
Aiko-san finds it amusing that Yayako is working at the café now, is happy that the girl who’s tormented Hanabi for years and turned her sights on Tina as well at the start of the school year is now a staff member?? “How thrilling, it’s just like a drama!” Uh… how about you show more concern for her two victims in your care. It’s not as if you don’t know. wtf
You don’t have to baby them or anything, just, don’t brush off their feelings. Acknowledge them, and tell them that as long as Yayako’s working at the café, they still have to try their best to get along with her, and stuff like that. How hard is that to do? Has her tumor taken away her capacity for empathy?
Just because they’re kids doesn’t make their feelings any less valid, and aside from that, bullying/abuse is always serious, why the hell would you act like that to victims of it, particularly ones you allegedly care about?
I’m just going to skip chapters 3-4 because I’d rather not remember them, lol.
Chapter 5 Thoughts
Hanabi gets her bookly sage advice, and this time it’s not from Aunt Aiko but from Ryoma! To be honest, I thought this chapter was going to be about breaking the news about Yayako to Ryoma, but this chapter turned a little heartwarming instead and was reminiscent of the first book with Yamato comforting Hanabi. When was the last time we heard about him by the way?
I’m going to stay positive that Aunt Aiko’s surgery will go well and the author likes to keep things light-hearted so she shouldn’t be killing off any of her characters but I’ll probably stop reading if the unthinkable happens…
So, if I’m understanding this correctly… Yayako sees Hanabi as pathetic, so she thinks she must be pretending to be a good kid, therefore she hates and is jealous of her for people liking her, so she started bullying her to make sure that all those people would leave and Hanabi would have no one?
She probably wasn’t playing innocent when Tina (and Hanabi) confronted her at the end of the chapter about whatever she must have said to Yamato. She probably does see herself as faultless. “She just got what was coming for her, all I did was speed it along.”
And oh, gods, I really hope we’re not supposed to feel sorry for her now that we know her mother abuses her. That doesn’t give her a free pass to go abusing others as she pleases. She had a choice to either become like her mother or to do better, and she chose wrong. Of course, she can always choose differently later on and start trying to do better then (and of course, that does not mean Hanabi, Tina, or any of her other victims are obligated to forgive her or anything—she’s not entitled to anyone giving her a second chance). I do not feel sorry for her. It justifies squat.
I was gonna say I don’t get why Hanabi would immediately go to see Aiko after the confrontation, when Aiko said to her face that she finds her being forced to work with her bully to be Grade-A entertainment, but… Aiko’s always been a steady support for her—it’s only recently that she’s stopped showing empathy—so she still sees her as such. 強くて、大らかで、よりかかってもたおれない大きくて太い木のような愛子さん. And on top of that, she fears she might lose her. So, yeah, I get it. If that lapse in character doesn’t prove to just be because of the tumor, then I’ll think she needs a better family, but I get it.
I might be the outlier, but this was the most enjoyable chapter for me because Hanabi got upset enough to lash out and speak her mind against Yayako.
And the way she threw what Yayako said about her back to her face gives me hope that we’re not supposed to just ignore all the hell she put Hanabi through. She called her out for her faults, that she’s weaker than she claims Hanabi to be because she’s not only acting alone, but she pulls other people into her charades to look bigger.
We get a peek into Yayako’s home situation via Shota’s comment, but I don’t see it as “let’s give her a free pass because her life is hard.” But here’s another example of a troubled child who does belong with the others in Yoru Cafe, なかま so to speak. She’s obviously not going to be welcomed as easily as the others, but that’s the issue they have to overcome.
Anyway, we’ve seen various characters with their own family problems, and we’ve seen how they handle it. Some shut off like Hanabi, some find a positive outlet like Yamato, and others try to stay tough like both Tina and Yayako. The difference between the latter two is Tina’s family problems are out for the world to see so she tries not to stand out and just skips school.
Yayako is tired of feeling like she has no control over being abused, so having a group of followers who essentially follow her orders makes her feel powerful and makes it easier to live through another day. That isn’t to say what she’s doing is right, but her annoyance of Hanabi seems to stem from her inability to do anything by herself and having genuine friends that stand up for her. Yayako doesn’t have anyone like that from what we see besides her brother, so she’s jealous of Hanabi.
As for the Yamato fiasco, I was thinking that it wasn’t Yayako that made him act weird. Why would he have any reason to believe her anyway? I think he was a little disappointed by Tina’s upgrade because he likes Hanabi for who she is. Then again the expression he made in the art seemed a little strong to be just that.
I read chapter 8 the other day just in time for the new discussion week!
Chapter 8 thoughts
After giving it some thought, I figured Yamato’s sudden change of attitude was due to Yayako lying that Hanabi has fallen for Ryoma, but it looks like the drama she stirred is reversed to make it sound like Ryoma likes Hanabi.
It’s interesting to see that discourages Yamato from wanting to compete though. Is it because of the age difference? Maybe he thinks Hanabi would be better suited with Ryoma who’s only a year or 2 older (forgot if he was a 2nd year or 3rd year) and going to the same school vs. Yamato who’s a year older and currently living abroad and even if he returned to Japan, they would be in different schools.
Honestly in a realistic situation, I’m not too fond of the idea of a 1st year JHS student and 1st year SHS student in a functional relationship. Just looking at all the JHS kids I teach, the maturity levels between 1st and 3rd year alone are vastly different. Senior high school isn’t even obligatory in Japan, and in a lot of ways, the kids in high school are more 大人ポイ than college students here.
I don’t like the unnecessary drama they’re putting Aiko-san through so that Hanabi can learn to stand on her own two feet. I’d rather Aiko-san to just tell her straight up “There are some problems you need to solve on your own” and just leave her to explore what she meant.
Ryouma’s one year older than Hanabi, while Yamato’s three years older. While I kinda like (or at least am fine with) Hanabi’s one-sided crush on Yamato, I’m not too fond of the idea of him returning it. Three years is a lot when you’re that young, and tbh I don’t think a 15/16-y.o. would even see a 12/13-y.o. as a romantic interest? I mean, she’s just a kid compared to him (they are both technically kids, but). I know when I was in high school, I didn’t see middle schoolers as peers. Sure, that was me just a few years before, but they’re so young! You’re right, there is a vast difference in maturity level between middle- and high-schoolers. tbh when Ryouma was introduced, I’d thought he was gonna be a more realistic love interest for Hanabi… (and they would be sweet, but after this development, I don’t hold out much hope).
I’m too tired to say anything more (maybe I will later, idk) but what hell was that last chapter. And oh, god, I think the atogaki confirmed my suspicions that we’re supposed to feel for Yayako now and be understanding and forgive her for her years of mistreating Hanabi even though Yayako hasn’t done anything to warrant any of that…