ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow,’ Volume 5

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A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow

Makoto Hagino’s slow-burn yuri series, A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow, has a very satisfying coming-of-age storyline in its fifth volume. The series is published in English by VIZ Media. It is translated by John Werry, and features touch-up art and lettering by Eve Grandt.

Koyuki runs off embarrassed after her public display of excitement during the Aquarium Club’s open house. This prompts her parents to reflect on her growing up. Koyuki used to be an energetic child, but at some point, she became more subdued. Koyuki has put pressure on herself over the years after hearing the many comments of the people around her. This self-imposed perfectionism is painfully relatable for many. Adults’ words can have a powerful impact. Even if it wasn’t from her own parents, Koyuki would hear parents and teachers compare her to other children. Before she had a say, she was set up on a pedestal she couldn’t get down from.

Koyuki’s family is present, and they are supportive. That is a refreshing element to this series. They are far from perfect parents, and it is nice to see their perspective. They struggle to communicate their feelings to Koyuki just as much as she does with them. It was also fun to see Koyuki interact with her younger brother more.

Konatsu doesn’t have a major presence in this volume. Instead, the series focuses more on the supporting character Kaede. This is actually a wonderful shift for the series, in line with the overall theme of this volume. Kaede often comes across as a bit spacey and always happy. When Koyuki finally opens up, Kaede also reveals her outward appearance can be a front. She is, in fact, also very lonely.

The honest development between Koyuki and Kaede has been a highlight of this series’ run so far. Taking a step back from the miscommunication antics between Koyuki and Konatsu ended up grounding the series in an unexpected way. This entire volume hit home. The relatable ways teens hide their emotions, as well as the stress of deciding what to do after graduation, aren’t played up for drama either. Ultimately, A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow volume 5 definitely nails an overall theme of the series. It is less about the romance, and more about coming-of-age and learning to communicate.

Hagino’s artwork can at times feel simplistic, but when scenery and backgrounds are drawn the detail is lovely. Also, it would be a disservice to not mention that whenever fish or the aquarium are present, Hagino excels. The artwork manages to make all manner of creatures, including sharks and salamanders, look adorable.

A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow Volume 5 may be one of the series’ best. Taking the focus off of the back and forth mishaps between Koyuki and Konatsu allows for an honest look into growing up. The volume also puts a welcome spotlight on Kaede. All in all, this isn’t a yuri series for readers looking for a lot of romance. It is worth the pickup for the friendships.

A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow Volume 5 releases November 10th, 2020, and will be available wherever books are sold,


A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow
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TL;DR

A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow Volume 5 may be one of the series’ best. Taking focus off of the back and forth mishaps between Koyuki and Konatsu allows for an honest look into growing up. The volume also puts a welcome spotlight on Kaede. All in all, this isn’t a yuri series for readers looking for a lot of romance. It is worth the pickup for the friendships.