MANGA REVIEW | "Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible" - Volume Nine
As Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible has continued onward, I have noticed how the titular character’s personality has changed. Before, she would only hide her more childish to everyone except Shiraishi. However, with their group of friends growing bigger, that cute and excited side of Kubo keeps growing too large to go unnoticed. But that’s not the only thing that’s growing in Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible, as our two leads find new ways to get closer to one another in the ninth volume.
The best examples of this growth can be found bookended in this volume. For starters, it’s Kubo’s birthday, and she’s giddy to spend it with Shiraishi. From going out for cake and Photo Booth shenanigans to the giving of a special gift, Kubo’s special day is filled with wonderful memories. Still, Shiraishi can’t put it together that Kubo is smitten by his elusiveness. Thankfully, a light bulb lights in Shiraishi’s head during a night at a summer festival.
Amongst their friends, Kubo and Shiraishi see, eat, and experience everything a Japanese summer festival offers. But a little trouble arrives when Shiraishi is separated from his group, a problem made extra by the fact that he’s missing his phone. It’s a situation that awakens a memory from Shiraishi’s past, one that has keep him away from festivals and firework shows. In this moment, we see a truly vulnerable side to the guy.
A feeling of being lost and separated can stay with someone for many years to come, sometimes forever. As a child, Shiraishi found himself in such a place during the last fireworks show he attended, with his mother nowhere to be found. It’s a situation that made him feel invisible, with his panicky voice overpowered by the loud fireworks. Perhaps it is here where Shiraishi’s knack for blending in the background began to grow, albeit in a terrible fashion.
But Shiraishi is no longer invisible. As the manga’s title suggests, Kubo will never let him feel that way again. This is hammered in when she finds Shiraishi in the crowd, with all the determination to seek him out. It’s that “no matter what” declaration that finally makes Shiraishi realize what Kubo sees in him. And perhaps now, the boy will finally see the girl for what she is: his soulmate.
In-between these two stories are some more fun tales with the characters. A summer day at schools gives Kubo and Shiraishi the chance to goof off with the chalkboard. Shiraishi’s final idea makes Kubo’s heart skip, despite its simplicity. Hair trouble is the focus of a crisis in Kubo’s family, with the only solution for the sisters to have matching styles. Lastly, a day to do homework is overshadowed by the appreciation everyone has for Kubo, even if certain folks have trouble reading the room.
At this point, the narrative of Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible has a proper countdown. It’s no longer a matter of if, but when these two characters will get together. Volume Nine cemented this realization with two strong stories surrounding Kubo and Shiraishi, with the two’s relationship growing too fast for it to take a step back. As readers will no doubt cheer onwards, Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible will keep on rising towards what one hopes to be a heartwarming conclusion.
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.