Rainbow Days Volume Two continues to focus on its four male protagonists, although the female characters who were introduced in the first volume also get some focus on them as well.

Rainbow Days Volume Two
Written by: Minami Mizuno
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 7, 2023

In my review for Volume One, I commented that it appeared that Rainbow Days has 15 volumes and wondered how the premise and execution of this series could go for so long. It turns out that, in Volume Two, only two chapters of the main manga series are included. According to the author’s note, the three other sections of this manga are actually side stories published for spin-off series. Now knowing this, my guess is that future volumes of the series will likely be a mix of regular manga chapters and side stories, which would explain how Mizuno managed to get 15 volumes for Rainbow Days.

The first section of Volume Two is the fourth chapter of the main manga series. In my review for Volume One, I wondered why Keiichi, the sadist of the four boys, was included in this series since there didn’t seem to be much to him as a character. While the beginning of the fourth chapter establishes that they’re starting a new school year, and that Natsuki volunteers to be part of a committee to get closer to Anna, this chapter actually focuses on giving Keiichi some much needed character development. As part of that development, we are introduced to a new character named Taizo, someone he knows from the basketball team. I appreciated seeing Keiichi being focused on in this chapter, because he finally becomes a character in his own right instead of simply providing humor for the other characters to respond to.

The next section is a side story titled, “Rainbow Weather.” This story provides a little more development for Natsuki, and the backstory from middle school that’s revealed here seems to help explain his timid nature. After seeing this flashback of his and knowing what bullying he endured as part of the tennis team back then, becoming more of a timid character would be a realistic reaction for him to have. But it was rewarding to see Natsuki, with the help of friends, getting the upper hand on the upperclassman who had picked on him so much in middle school.

This is followed by the fifth chapter of the main Rainbow Days series, which is set in the summer during the characters’ school festival. The main plot here sees Natsuki texting Anna to ask her to spend a day with him at the festival, but his plans are thwarted when he’s forced to participate in a cross-dressing contest at the same time he asked Anna to spend time with him. We see Anna reacting coldly to Natsuki when he has to break this off, but they both find themselves wondering if they handled the situation appropriately. The resolution comes through some unexpected help from Keiichi… in large part, due to Keiichi not realizing that Anna didn’t know the reason why Natsuki had to bail. This story also focuses on Anna’s tsundere friend, Mari. By the end of this volume, I still thought that Mari came off as rather annoying. It’s obvious that Mari likes Anna romantically, though she would never admit it. Unfortunately, Mari’s interest in Anna is usually played for laughs, and I don’t find this to be funny.

This is followed by another side story titled, “Rainbow Girls.” This story focuses on the three main girls in the series: Anna, Mari, and Tsuyoshi’s girlfriend, Yukirin. The three girls have a chance encounter at a cake shop, and they try to have a conversation. Through this side story, Yukirin finally gets some much needed character development. While we saw her in Volume One, we really didn’t get to know much about her or her personality. And this story definitely brings out Yukirin’s personality. That’s the main positive of this side story, though. Unfortunately, since Mari plays a more central role here, we have to deal with a lot more of her tsundere personality, and she comes across as being more obnoxious than usual. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that Mari is my least favorite character in the series.

The final section is a side story titled, “I Can Do It All By Myself.” It focuses on a character named Junpei Tazaki, who is in college and has moved out on his own. This was an interesting story to follow Junpei as he adjusts to college life, but as far as I can tell, this character and his story have no connection to Rainbow Days. If this was an extra side story thrown in to add to the volume’s page count, I wish that there was something in this volume to explain that. It’s not a bad story, but I was confused right a first because I didn’t recognize this character and I kept wondering who he was.

After reading Volume Two of Rainbow Days, I can say that I’m glad that the chapters from the main series provided a little more character development for two of the main characters because this starts adding something that was missing from the series. I also appreciated seeing Yukirin getting some focus on her in one of the side stories. It’s becoming clear that I’m not really in the target audience for Rainbow Days, but I can see that overall, the series works for the audience that it was intended for. The only exception I have for this statement is Mari. Yes, the series needs an “antagonist” of some kind, but I find myself wishing that Mari was dialed back a little. There are times when her character comes across as being “over the top” and obnoxious.

If you read and enjoyed Rainbow Days Volume One, then you’ll likely also enjoy seeing what happens to the characters in Volume Two.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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