Helen: Takebe is trying to outgrow the delinquent life, she is after all an adult now and not a teenaged terror anymore, but she’s finding it tough to do since she had no clear goal in life and all her friends are members of her former girl gang although even they are “moving on” with marriage and children). Thinking that the clothes make the person, Takebe goes out to change her style but to her horror the shop assistant is another former delinquent, Kirara Soramori! Soramori recognizes her as well and gives her a threatening note to meet after work but she’s not looking for revenge, but a chance to finally confess to her long-time crush?!
Nearly any set-up can be a romantic one if you write it the right way and it’s fun to read something that deviates from more typical meet-cutes, although Takebe would tell you that there was nothing cute about how she and Soramori met! Soramori would disagree of course, especially since she remembers their first meeting better than Takebe does, and after handily proving that she’s still the stronger fighter of the two she gets Takebe to agree to go out with her and Takebe, well, just goes along with it. There’s no “but we’re both girls!” moment, not that Takebe doesn’t have a whole lot of questions about why this is happening, although that might simply come later in the story. Soramori has been nursing a singular crush for years after all and Takebe keeps going out with her partially out of loneliness, so I wouldn’t put it past the two of them to have not fully realized that they’re in a yuri manga yet.
This story isn’t particularly deep and probably works best if you sit down to read it and let it just wash over you, enjoying the gags about the girls trying to create “onestagram” accounts to impress Soramori’s coworkers, or takebe trying to come up with the most boring date imaginable to scare Soramori off. murata has a great eye for drawing the women in just slightly silly poses without overly drawing attention to them which had me cracking up even more than the gags themselves did, although I’ll that in an odd way I might have confessed this story more if I wasn’t reading it for a review. When reading for a review, versus completely for pleasure, I feel like I have to be more alert and to think more about every single detail of a story instead of simply enjoying or disliking it.
But I doubt that’s an issue for many other readers and overall think that this silly story is an excellent way to start off Pride Month.
Helen’s rating: 3 out of 5
Justin: Naturally, the more you grow up, the more things around you change — and for Takebe, it appears the delinquent days are over. Sure, back in high school you can be the toughest girl in the building, but now as an adult and with your former delinquent friends getting married, it’s time to move on. Which is what Takebe tries to do as she goes to the store to buy some proper clothes, until a seemingly enthusiastic retailer starts talking to her, which at first surprises Takebe because the retailer seems familiar but she soon shrugs it off. But the more the two talk, the more she realizes it is a familiar face — Kirara Soramori, who was known as the “Bloody Cardigan” back during her school days. One of her fiercest rivals…and she comes off kind of clumsy and soft? Say it ain’t so!
But after Soramori hands Takebe a message to meet up later on, the two reminisce about their past, which ultimately ends with…a confession by Soramori that she loves Takebe! And so, if she beats Takebe in a fight, then they should start dating. It surprisingly doesn’t take long for us to know the winner, because despite her always angry face, Takebe was never actually stronger than Soramori back in high school…and that was with her daily training. With her skills lessened over time, she lost in record time. So that means the two will have to start dating, and that means relationship hijinks — within and around Takebe — ensue!
Catch These Hands! so far stands out due to its concept rather than what does happen in these chapters, as for the most part, it’s pretty tame. The backstory between Takebe and Soramori is classic delinquent stuff, just now that they’re both adults they have a drastically different perspective compared to back then. Most notable is Soramori liked Takebe way back then, but due to a comment by Takebe about liking someone strong, she resolved to get stronger and stronger just to get her attention. I did like Takebe wondering how Soramori could still have a crush on her after all this time, but hey, sometimes when reuniting past feelings resurface.
The big thing here however is whether or not Takebe actually can love Soramori, because as it stands it’s one-sided. Takebe is currently accepting the situation since she lost, but she does attempt to try and get her to break up (apparently fishing is how you do it!), but to no avail. It will be interesting to see if she does actually like Takebe, but as it stands the relationship has a ways to go.
It’ll also be something if Takebe’s face changes at any point in the series, since I assume this is also the quirk of her always looking pissed off. The art does maintain a more comedic feel for most of the volume, with it feeling fairly simple but pleasing. There is a bit of humor in the situation, but all in all, the majority of volume 1 is the two getting to know each other again and Takebe trying to show she’s changing in front of her former friends — difficult when she runs into friends who are married and have kids! I wonder what’s going to happen when we run into more people, and in this case, people who knew Soramori.
Justin’s rating: 3.5 out of 5