After tearing through the second half of this series curtesy of Border’s manga sale, I’m probably gonna say that the third volume is probably the series best moment. This one’s okay though, because the theme of prostitution always interests me for whatever reason.

This is a collection of four stories based around the themes of prostitution, bullying by teachers, bullying by students, and obsession. The last one, about a girl who fell in love with her best friend but stayed quiet about it, was kind of interesting because I like how she lapsed in and out of fantasies somewhat seamlessly, and as a result the ending came as a complete surprise. It was probably my favorite in the volume, but at the same time it was the one that fit in the least, because it dealt with someone who was the agressor instead of the person who was victimized. It’s also very sad… however bizarre the girl’s obsession with her best friend was as far as the fantasies went, and no matter how creepy it was that she kept her hair around and kissed it et al, I was still rooting for her all the way.

The first three stories dealt with the victim, the girl, as the rest of the stories in Confidential Confessions do. The first one was my least favorite though it dealt with prostitution… the ending was kind of unsatisfactory in that it seemed like there was no real consequence… and it also came out of fucking nowhere and was really weird (I didn’t get that he was into kinky sex until the end, but okay). The second and third ones were just sad. The kind of stories I kind of like in this series. There’s nothing really to be done in those situations, and everything just seems so hopeless… and they have their endings, happy, sad, whatever. They were both pretty good.

The final volume wasn’t one of my favorites. It covered the themes of stalking and bullying at school again. The last bullying story, a shorter one, almost felt like a throwaway because there was some sad, but then it twisted halfway through in a way that I didn’t find to be too realistic… I mean, I guess it could happen, it was just bizarre, and it was one of the rare times it portrayed a bully rather than a victim. I didn’t feel bad for the girl at all.

The first story was just creepy. Maybe because I can’t deal with stalkers. It was also left open-ended, sad, and almost sent the message that there’s no way you’ll get rid of a stalker, even if he attempts to take your life in front of the police. And the fact that he’d “stay with the girl for the rest of her life” was a disquieting way to end the story. Maybe I didn’t like it because it was just so unsettling… it was certainly good at that. It was good at a lot of things… the buildup and sequence of events was perfect, and the pacing felt great. It was just one of the stories in the series that hit closest to home, I guess… it was just… scary, really.

This one was also one of the better volumes in the series along with three… both stories here were just so SAD.

The first one dealt with rape. It was agonizing to read, because everyone kept blaming the girl, she kept forcing herself to first put on a happy face in front of her boyfriend, then try and make things like they were, there was the fact she refused to go to the police, and it was so open-ended… it was hard to get through. I felt bad for the girl the entire way through, and it really wasn’t her fault at all.

The second story dealt with a girl who got AIDS through a blood transfusion. Everyone treated her like she had the plague, and she was so forward about it in case something should happen so that everyone was aware of her weakness. She also tried as hard as she could to be positive and upbeat, and it did a good job of showing her slowly dying and withering away… and the ending was good, too. I thought it was quite fitting. I loved this volume very much, this and the third are probably my favorites.

I like this series a lot. This is something that I would be ashamed to admit to my friends since it’s sort of girly and moralistic, but Confidential Confessions deals with the issues it sets out to tackle in such a convincing way that I’m not afraid to admit how good it is… er, online.

The one thing I want to promote the most is how it develops the main character. The story is based on the emotional impact you’ll feel as she goes through the different stages of drug addiction, and the character is developed perfectly well for this, so that when the story rounds out in the end and all the bad things start coming down on her, you really feel bad. Relying on an emotional attachment to the characters that just isn’t there is a fault in a lot of one-shots and short stories, but character development is where this one shines. And the fact they really only tried to give the main character personality helps a lot too. The other characters are just there as background and foil, and it works out best that way.

The different stages of drug addiction were good too. It went about things in a pretty logical manner, and never felt forced or fake or like it was trying to preach or anything. It had a reasonably satisfying ending too… I wasn’t expecting any sort of dramatic climax, and there were repercussions for the drugs, and that’s about all I could ask for. I felt a bit underwhelmed when I finished it up, but thinking about it now, I rarely like the endings to things, and I really can’t think of a better way to end it, so there you go.

There was a short story shoved into the end of the volume about a girl who dreamed of being an actor and the boxer boyfriend who she tried to support. It sucked balls. Do buy the volume for the long, good drug addiction story, though.