REVIEW: ‘Mint Chocolate,’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Mint Chocolate Volume 2

Messy shoujo romances are kind of my jam. Whether it’s love triangles fueled by miscommunication or the trope of step-siblings, the mess shoujo brings is one of the reasons I love it. This is due largely because the drama is often rooted in darker character moments or traversed with character growth. Mint Chocolate manages to balance the mess with character development to make the reader just the right amount of frustration and offers reward in an almost confession. Mint Chocolate Volume 2 is created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Mami Orikasa. The volume is published and localized in English by Yen Press, is translated by Amber Tamosaitis, and is lettered by Barri Shrager.

In the last volume, readers learned about the deep fears of abandonment that both Nanami and Kyuohei both have. For Kyouhei, this has created a complete fear of his own feelings, and for Nanami, a fear of being alone at home. Additionally, the last volume ended seemingly with an accident, starting a fast pace for Mint Chocolate Volume 2’s opening. Nanami is scared after waking up to an empty house, and when he does come home, this fuels a closeness between the two that is awkwardly navigated.

But the focus of this issue is both Kyuohei and Nanami deciding to listen to each other and actually do more than just be in their own heads and assumption, which took long enough. Despite the almost-kiss incident, the sleeping-on-Nanami-at-lunch incident, and the waking-up-in-the-same-bed incident, Nanami still has no idea if Kyouhei has a thing for her for the first half of Mint Chocolate Volume 2. While this is driving her crazy, it’s pretty obvious to their friend, and once she stops letting her anxiety rule her, it becomes apparent to her as well. That said, in typical shoujo fashion, all it takes is one small fever-fueled kiss to cause a miscommunication that threatens their budding understanding of each other.

When it comes to writing her characters, Orikasa nails both awkwardness and yearning. She also manages to contextualize the two characters as teenagers trying their best to respect each other’s boundaries, so much so that they forget to listen to each other. Instead, they assume what’s okay and don’t confront their feelings. But part of this refusal is purposeful; if they don’t confirm it, they don’t have to worry about their parents finding out.

That said, Mint Chocolate Volume 2 manages to tackle the step-sibling trope in a way that treads the problematic trope but also makes sure that the character’s relationship to each other is defined for readers and hidden from those at school. This volume even features a strong stance from Nanami in which she believes that she can’t even be seen with Kyouhei lest rumors start. But more importantly, she doesn’t want to push them into a position that would require them to reveal they live together and are step-siblings.

Overall, Mint Chocolate Volume 2 is a great shoujo romance with just enough mess and a heavy helping of communication. With the way this volume ends, volume 3 is sure to be a stand-out.

Mint Chocolate Volume 2 is available now wherever books are sold.

Mint Chocolate Volume 2
5

TL;DR

Overall, Mint Chocolate Volume 2 is a great shoujo romance with just enough mess and a heavy helping of communication. With the way this volume ends, volume 3 is sure to be a stand-out.