This volume of Abe-kun’s Got Me Now! proves that Abe and Ryomei are part-time teammates and friends but full-time rivals. And Akari continues to be clueless that much of their rivalry is over her!
Abe has never been the sort to back down in a challenge. I mean, the dude didn’t even flinch when the girl he liked called him a gorilla. So even though Ryomei is back working on his karate skills and Akari is his girlfriend, Abe is all about proving he’s #1, especially with inter-high qualifiers just around the bend. Akari knows she can’t do much besides watching over him, but then Takuto drops an important piece of information: Abe’s birthday is coming up! Even though Ryomei can see how much thought Akari is putting into celebrating the day for Abe, he can’t help seizing the opportunity to spend some time with her.
Volume 8 relies on the love triangle for much of its momentum. And this is already a much longer fight than the inter-high qualifiers. We see a sign outside the arena indicating it’s the day of the tournaments, and then readers flip the page to find out Abe’s in the finals! I know this isn’t a sports manga and Abe’s a top talent, but a little montage showing his rise in the ranks (with perhaps a brief overview of the rules, as even Akari doesn’t know how to get to inter-high) should have been included. Even the final showdown is on the short side. The school’s interclass sports fest with Abe and Ryomei playing volleyball shouldn’t be shown in more detail than matches in their actual sport!
Speaking of Ryomei, while he’s Abe’s rival on and off the dojo floor, he does have some of Abe’s pushiness — just in a far subtler manner. It’s easy to miss since the opposing suitor of a pushy guy is usually a gentle one, but it’s no surprise they’ve been friends for years. They rag on each other, but they are alike as more than students of karate. While Ryomei does back off, his does come off a bit creepy. But hey, so does Abe at times.
The best part is seeing Akari continuing to be more proactive in the relationship. Despite still blushing like mad, she’s initiating kisses, and she promises Abe a much-long-for reward if he becomes the champion. I also like how both of them don’t need to make a big deal out of holidays and the like as a couple. Akari does choose to do something special, but even in the end, it has some atypical parts versus the usual idealistic grand gesture. But it does seem weird for her to call her very muscular, karate punchin’ and kickin’ boyfriend a “nerd” when embarrassed. Especially when he’s doing something like carrying her away like a sack of potatoes.
But despite its downsides, this was one of the most enjoyable volumes of Abe-kun’s Got Me Now!. Abe’s jealousy isn’t so forceful or misplaced, and Akari is becoming a nice balance of maiden in love, easily embarrassed girl, and teen in love. I may have taken longer than Akari, but Abe-kun’s Got Me Now! got me know.