Twins Ken and Mari and their friend Joe have been constant companions since childhood. Now in their final year of high school, they've grown into young adults with their own hobbies, loves, and even secrets. No matter their differences, though, they share a common bond in their love for movies. But will this bond prove to be strong enough when unresolved feelings and distance threaten to pull this threesome apart? Kine In! collects the existing chapters of this bittersweet story, plus a newly written chapter! Also included are three one-shots where Est Em further explores the bonds of affection that draw friends and lovers of all kinds together.
est em's Kine In! was a very satisfying read. The four stories that make up this volume require audience participation because she leaves a lot of room for interpretation. In the title story we are introduced to Joe and his childhood friends, twins, Mari and Ken. Mari likes Joe, Joe likes Ken, and Ken likes films. Ken just doesn't get it, or maybe he does. Because est em has a habit of only giving you enough to get you acquainted, you're left wondering and guessing and putting pieces together to really get what's going on. The trio's is a complicated relationship, though it all seems
really easy on the surface. They regard each other as family and the option to disassociate themselves from either of the other two does not exist. Even as truths are revealed and frustrations are expressed, they maintain their connections with only a few noticeable changes. Even so far as embarking on a film-making adventure at a point where it is probably more than a little awkward for all of them, their habits don't waiver much. But it makes you wonder, again, if Ken really gets it or not. Perhaps it is himself that he doesn't get. While the tension is quietly mounting est em scrambles our brains and makes us rethink the entire story up to that point. I revel in such confusion because it is so perfectly hilarious. With some questions answered, we are silently, but clearly entrusted with the responsibility of filling in the blanks as our time with the trio comes to an end.
The remaining stories share with us other familiar juxtapositions. In "The Salvia and the Barber," we see two life long friends actively address their relationship. Takashi means to redefine it, while Michio feels it's enough to reconfirm it. I found it interesting that their conjectures began in similar ways. Here also we are left to guess; est em leaves it up to us to make out to what extent their affinity for each other reaches. While reading "The Scenery of that Summer" I wondered if, blossoming enchantment aside, Jirou Alkan was annoyed at the repeated mention of his father easily spilling from the lips of his new acquaintance and were the recollections uttered by someone would he have minded as much. If for nothing else, but to understand the criss-crossing of awe, acknowledgement, sadness and the few un-pinnable mental and emotional states that were set behind Jirou Alkan's often wide-eyed stare, this was worth the read. Lastly, or thereabout, was "Mixed Juice." I think the title is both a reference to Nao's meal of choice and a challenge to the story's obvious theme: boundaries. But I think that is were the intrigue stalled for me. The story seemed empty, superfluous. Even though I understood how the story reiterated the theme, Nao and Yuki's interaction didn't convince me that the theme had any real meaning. It wasn't bad, but it left no real impression. Fortunately for me, the volume's actual last story was "Newly Written,"--a newly written addition to the title story. It ended so sweetly, on such a blushing note, that I was saved from the inevitability of "Mixed Juice" leaving me with mixed feelings about the book as a whole.
I enjoyed Kine In!; it was an interesting experience and felt a lot like watching a film--a Jim Jarmusch film, to be exact. If you are a fan of artful storytelling, I'm sure you will enjoy it, too.
Many thanx to Kitto Katsu and DMG for allowing me to read this free via eManga.