REVIEW: ‘Something’s Wrong With Us,’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Somethings Wrong With Us Volume 2

Something’s Wrong With Us from mangaka Natsumi Ando is honestly my favorite from Kodansha Comics’ current shojo releases. It’s a thrilling romance between a Japanese sweets maker and the man who framed her mother for murder. While the opening volume focused on the past and the darkness of it, Something’s Wrong With Us Volume 2 focuses on the present.

Last volume we learned about Nao and how she continues to make wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets, to feel less alone since her mother was framed for the murder of head of Kogetsuan. She is skilled, leaving everyone floored by the heart she imbues into her work, but it wasn’t a match for when she had to compete against Kogetsuan, the establishment that she lived in as a child and where she was exiled after the murder. When she sees Tsubaki for the first time since that fateful night she decides to get her revenge and find the truth behind her mother’s death by marrying him. Volume 1 ended with Nao’s painful memories being triggered by the color red, as she opened the box of her wagashi only to see that they were painted with the color. Shocked after presenting them to a prominent client, it looks like that will be it for her standing in Kogetsuan.

But now in Something’s Wrong With Us Volume 2 we get to see Tsubaki’s softness. He cares for Nao clearly, trying to calm her, save her almost and proposes that the two begin to act like husband and wife. With chapters six through 10 in this volume, readers get a look at the internal dynamics of Tsubaki’s family, and more specifically his mother. While we saw that she has an intense hatred for Nao, that deepens when it is revealed that she was the one who ruined the sweets and triggered Nao’s PTSD. But even beyond the mother-in-law, Tsubaki’s grandfather poses an even larger challenge.

For him, the women he has let into Kogetsuan have done nothing but caused pain to the family. Tsubaki’s mother cheated on his son and Nao’s mother, which he doesn’t know was her mother, murdered his son. With Nao coming into the family, he fears more pain, this time directed at his grandson. In his hatred for her, he attacks her, and Tsubaki comes to her aid, proving that he is in her corner, but more importantly, that there is love brewing between them.

Somethings Wrong With Us Volume 2

Like any good shojo, the secret of her background hangs in the air and while it drives her love for him, even through her hate. The fact that she controls this information, that she is the Sakura from his childhood makes things tense as the two grow closer to each other. It’s a lopsided love, even as he reciprocates, the truth is just waiting to crash in and ruin their tranquility especially once the Something’s Wrong With Us Volume 2 gets steamy.

Each chapter progresses through different stages of Nao and Tsubaki acting like a married couple for the first time. They hold hands, she learns from him, and this all culminates in Chapter 10 “In One Room” where the two spend the night together for the first time. Ando’s writing of the two’s first night together is intimate, not only in the sexual way, but in how the two talk to each other. Tsubaki opens up to Nao and talks about Sakura, the girl he doesn’t know is laying right beside him. It’s a moment where it feels like chaos will crash into their moment of tranquility but it doesn’t. Although it may in the next volume.

Ando’s artwork is wonderful in this volume not only because of the way that she illustrates the sweets making process, but because of how she illustrates Nao and Tsubaki’s first night together. For the former, the way that the beanpaste is shaded and illustrated makes your mouth water and the story involved in the process, showcasing how our two leads reflect their personalities into the food is wonderfully poignent. As for the latter, Nao and Tsubaki’s intimacy isn’t explicitly depicted, but instead shown in shadows and the typical shojo sparkles, it’s a beautiful moment that still allows the manga to keep it’s older teen rating.

Something’s Wrong With Us Volume 2 has pulled me deeper into the story. Ando makes sure to move the story from the past to the present by showcasing the affects of that murderous night while also showcasing Tsubaki’s dysfunctional family dynamic. But above all else, the tense romance between Nao and Tsubaki is a must read from fans of complicated romances of the steamier shojo variety.

Something’s Wrong With Us Volume 2 is available now from booksellers.

Something's Wrong With Us Volume 2
5

TL;DR

Something’s Wrong With Us Volume 2 has pulled me deeper into the story. Ando makes sure to move the story from the past to the present by showcasing the affects of that murderous night while also showcasing Tsubaki’s dysfunctional family dynamic. But above all else, the tense romance between Nao and Tsubaki is a must read from fans of complicated romances of the steamier shojo variety.