REVIEW: ‘I Cannot Reach You,’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I cannot reach you volume 2 - But Why Tho (1)

In all honesty, I love a good story about yearning. Whether it’s being raised on a solid diet of shojo romances or because I tend to ship characters who won’t ever be canon, the process of yearning can be a powerful storytelling tool that can explore identity and social issues. Of course, this makes high school romances in the BL genre some of my favorite. That’s what made I Cannot Reach You easily one of my favorite releases this year. Volume 1 showcased how love between best friends can become something more, but how heteronormative cultural standards can stifle it. At the end of the volume, it felt like readers would get a confession of sorts, but at the start of I Cannot Reach You Volume 2, it’s clear that our leads Yamato and Kakeru are even more distant than before.

I Cannot Reach You Volume 2 is created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Mika. The volume is published and localized in English by Yen Press, translated by Jan Mitsuko Cash, and features lettering from Alexis Eckerman. In the story, Yamato and Kakeru are best friends, two halves of a whole if you will. But when they realize that their feelings have gone beyond friendship, each boy has to come to terms with their revelations and the potential future where they can never act on them. More specifically, both Yamato and Kakeru fear that confessing will create a wedge between them and end their friendship, but in worrying about that, they create a different gap between each other.

That said, each boy is in different situations. At the start of the series, Yamato already knew how he felt, and had accepted that Kakeru would never return his feelings. But in Volume 1, readers see Yamato come into his own romantic feelings for his friend. When Yamato admits that he would be upset if Kakeru got a girlfriend, the two have to deal with the fallout in their own ways. Yamato is stunned, but when Kakeru cuts his confession down to a simple “I would miss my friend” statement, their relationship is put under strain.

The bulk of I Cannot Reach You Volume 2 is about the yearning between the two and the obstacles they each individually have to overcome in order to repair their friendship and possibly move towards something more. Yamato is scared, believing that Kakeru would be better with a girl and not him. Yamato has to deal with jealousy that stems from a deep feeling of inferiority. This leads Yamato to avoid Kakeru and continually worry about his future and his friend. As the gap between them deepens, Kakeru has to accept who he is and also find the strength to reach out to his best friend.

Mika writes yearning well. The feeling of being so close to the person you love but in the way you want to be is palpable. By illustrating the same scenes from different perspectives, Mika gives us windows into how different characters experience the same situation and how making assumptions instead of communicating causes issues.

While I Cannot Reach You Volume 2 continues the angst instead of bringing the two characters together, it does it in a wholesome and real way. Yamato and Kakeru feel like fully realized characters but also capture the uncertainty and fear that come with adolescence and romance. Of course, I just want them to kiss and live happily ever after, but their complex journey to that point is well worth the read.

I Cannot Reach You Volume 2 is available now wherever books are sold.

I Cannot Reach You Volume 2
5

TL;DR

While I Cannot Reach You Volume 2 continues the angst instead of bringing the two characters together, it does it in a wholesome and real way. Yamato and Kakeru feel like fully realized characters but also capture the uncertainty and fear that come with adolescence and romance. Of course, I just want them to kiss and live happily ever after, but their complex journey to that point is well worth the read.