With Volume 36, we draw the Cain siblings arc to a conclusion. Nakamura clearly had fun putting the two together in a ‘cosplay’ situation (echoing what she did in previous series Tokyo Crazy Paradise when Tsukasa had a personality change after being hit in the head). This volume features a lot of introspection by Kyoko – about the kiss with “corn”, her future as an actress, her family frustrations, and more. It marks this as a transition volume as things begin to move forward for both Kyoko and Ren.
Story: Kyouko is feeling guilty about kissing Corn – and decides to confess to Ren to get it off her chest and defend her actions. Upon hearing her version of their time together, Ren comes to some startling realizations about himself – that his future is no longer ‘stopped’ and he can begin to move forward with his life thanks to Kyouko. With the shoot wrapped up, Kyouko returns to Tokyo – only to find Sho hanging out at her restaurant home. Sho has a few pithy things to say about Kyoko “tripping” over Ren and ending up back working for his parents as a waitress. Meanwhile, an accident on the way to a shoot has shaken up Amemiya and she needs Kyouko’s support – a support that may mean having to confront Kyouko’s mother once again.
There were several very cute moments at the beginning of the volume with Kyouko’s boundless fantasies about Corn and Ren trying in vain to not say anything about Kyouko’s confessions. His amused patience over her defense of the Corn kiss was priceless. But there are also several important plot realizations: Ren’s recognition of how Kyouko has helped him move on from his past, Kyouko wondering what “Ren’s” real name is, and especially the great moment where ‘Setsuna’ very physically stakes her claim on her ‘brother’.
The second half was a bit slow – setting up a confrontation for poor Kyouko with both Sho and then what will be her mother later. Sho is happy to drive stakes into the heart of any relationship Kyouko could have with Ren – as revenge against both of them. Hopefully, Ren makes an entrance, as promised, soon. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.