Adachi x Shimamura (Discussion Thread)
I'm on volume 1 (if you're on a later volume, just mention it in your post if you can). This first post will be a bit rantish, so feel free to skip it and post your thoughts below on whatever you're reading.
AdaShima anime is coming soon, so I did restart my reading of this one. Up to meeting the "space suit" clad girl with Hino on the fishing trip.
One thing I really appreciate is how much in the first quarter of the book they've gotten out of a small scale setting: There's obviously the gym loft where they play Tennis, but there's the gas station fence, the book store, dramatic bike rides through rainy streets, fishing holes, two houses with a suburban setting, cafeteria food runs, etc.
On the plot front, there's that highschool level tension you feel in every scene, the whole "what does she really think of me / what do I feel for her" aspect and "will I screw up my friendship if I do XYZ". The friendship also goes from "we're acquaintances who just happen to be wasting in the same loft, I don't have the right to call her a friend" + avoiding Adachi's eyes when walking with her friends, to iirc outright acknowledging Adachi as her friend in front of Hino and Nagafuji.
I've seen some folks reading upset at these girls being called "delinquents", that they're boring because they don't live up to the term delinquent, but I assume folks read a synopsis and had an expectation ahead of time about their delinquency that the novel didn't fulfill? Cause the book makes no bones about it that their delinquency is just truancy mostly, and otherwise they're normal girls (and overly "girly" in some aspects, like the fear of creepy crawlies). They're just misunderstood by their peers / teachers. Though Shimamura's friend Hino implying Shima is "cool"... She may want to dial that back a bit.
There's some interesting choices writing wise too that makes it seem more "literary". A lot of Shimamura's narration is her comparing her feelings to physical elements around her, like the tennis ball bouncing being like her knocking on the door to Adachi's heart, her attempts at trying to appeal to Adachi being compared to a back and forth ping pong match, the connection between Shimamura's friends and Adachi being like a deformed ball of clay mush, and Adachi + Shimamura both being compared to aloof cats. Then there's things like having Hino's planned fishing trip be washed out and delayed to Sunday, but we never actually see the Saturday or anything, it's just almost random (the only real thing we get out of it is that Nagafuji's refused to go even on a day she didn't have club meetings, so an extra little joke). I think it serves to make it feel more organic, realistic too.
Definitely different than a lot of "active" books, which I think is maybe why some may have the idea that nothing happens in it. You got Shimamura contemplating about why she's wasting time with this girl and trying to figure out how she's attempting to fill some void in her heart with her, so a lot of the book is stuck in her head so far. One of the cuter images in the story is told in a passive way, Shimamura talking about Adachi bolting upright with her "cute toes" splayed out the first time Shimamura came to the loft and she mistook her for a teacher.
I actually started my read through with the Audible version of the book which if you live in Japan (or have a VPN) I do recommend getting. Voice acting gives life to the characters and occasional wise cracks. I'm abandoning that route because it takes a lot of effort to keep up reading along in English as a non-JP language learner, and also because the voice acting for Shimamura is that kind of quiet, exacting kind of tone and a lot of the book is her stuck in her own head + feelings / worries. It just takes a long time to read, and again, easy to lose my place, but I would like to revisit it another day.