Alice, Shinobu, Aya, Youko and Karen return once more for more slice of life goodness. The passage of time doesn’t cease, so the girls find themselves in the second year of high school. A new school year means new classes, which means that they can’t all be together…
Alice, Shinobu, and the rest of the girls are entering their second year of high school… but now they’re in separate classes! Can Aya cope with not having Youko by her side? And just why is Karen’s new homeroom teacher, Kuzehashi-sensei, always scowling at her? It’s a brand-new spring – and a brand-new opportunity for intercultural hijinks!
The colour pages at the start show the girls having fun in the cold weather. Alice wants a snowball fight despite not having enough snow, whereas Aya gets to experience just how warm Youko’s hands are.
Aya asks Karen to take her on as an apprentice, as she wants to become more like her. Karen accepts, though Aya struggles to keep up with her. Aya ends up saying something she regrets to Youko, so Karen tells her that she should apologise. Aya works up the courage to do so and they end up buying matching notebooks.
The girls talk about their first dreams of the year. Alice happened to have a nightmare which leads to her only speaking in English. The others struggle to keep up, but Alice goes back to Japanese when Shino almost chokes on mochi.
After Shino struggles to overcome Alice’s ‘test’, Alice reveals what her first dream of the year was and why she started speaking in English.
Karen has the girls participate in a game of hide and seek after school. Youko ends up in the role of seeker. Karen and Aya are easy to find, and Shino is lured out by a handkerchief bought from England.
Karasuma-sensei ends up joining in, though she doesn’t exactly hide very well.
Youko reminisces about the past and how she was like an older sister to Shino when they were younger. The other girls agree and start referring to Youko as their older sister, except for Aya who can barely get the words out… Aya is still the same as ever.
The start of the new school year arrives, and the girls end up split up for their new classes. Karen, Shino and Aya end up in 2-A, whilst Alice and Youko are in 2-C. Neither Aya nor Alice are please with this turn of events.
Aya tells Youko she’s upset about the classes, but Youko can only wonder why Aya wants to be in Alice’s class so badly.
Karasuma-sensei feels sorry for Alice, and tries to reassure her by telling that she will be her homeroom teacher again.
Karen seems to get on the wrong side of her new teacher, Kuzehashi-sensei. She seems to glare at the students whenever she talks to any of them, but it’s just that she finds them all so cute that she can’t stop staring.
Kuzehashi-sensei asks Karasuma-sensei for advice on getting her students to like her. Karasuma-sensei suggests she wears bunny ears… or, more seriously, that she should just try smiling.
Karen happens to spot Kuzehashi-sensei practising smiling in the bathroom mirror, and senses something of herself in her when she first came to Japan.
When Alice goes out shopping, she happens to come across Aya. Both lament that they appear younger than they are, so they decide to try becoming ‘bad girls’.
Their statement doesn’t really get across to the others when they start acting like delinquents at school. When Alice contemplates dying her hair black, Shino snaps. Alice and Aya completely forget the whole bad girl routine with that.
Shinobu decides to have a tea party, and invites everyone over. They all end relying on Aya to bake sweets for the tea party. Youko tries to lend a hand, but she just causes a big old mess.
Despite their best efforts, the girls are unable to prepare the tea party before dinnertime. They just have it the next day at school instead.
Alice misses her pet dog Poppy from England, and finds herself wanting a dog. Youko calls Aya her pet dog, which only upsets her – and Alice has much the same reaction when Shino volunteers to be a pet dog as well.
Through talk of pets, the girls find out that Kuzehashi-sensei has a cat. She’d prefer to keep quiet about that, though.
Shino tries asking for Isami’s permission to get a dog, but the answer is a firm no.
Karen ends up having a fight with her dad, so she stays at Shino’s place. Naturally, Shino is thrilled to have two blonde girls staying at her place. After sleeping over, Karen suggests that they should do a homestay at her home in England.
Kuzehashi-sensei has a home ec class where the students are making happi coats. Karen also makes something a little extra that she presents to her as a gift. Karen feels she has gotten closer to Kuzehashi-sensei, and it seems the other students are finding it easier to approach and talk to her as well.
The girls go to a restaurant, where Karen has a bit of fun at Alice’s expense as it is the first time she’s ever had fast food in Japan. Whilst eating, they discuss what kind of jobs they would like to do – Alice would like something only possible in Japan, such as sorting new year’s cards…
The conversation turns to the summer holidays, with Karen suggesting that Alice should return to England during them so she can see her parents. She has been away from them for more than a year, after all.
Aya injects a dose of reality when she reminds the others that they have to deal with their exams first.
That wraps up the third volume of Kiniro Mosaic, and the most noteworthy thing about it would almost certainly have to be the addition of Kuzehashi-sensei. There tends to be a risk when introducing new characters to an established cast in any medium, but Kiniro Mosaic has no worries there.
With her love of cute things and trying to maintain a serious image in front of the students, Kuzehashi-sensei fits right in with Alice, Shino and the others. I particularly enjoy the way she would often go to Karasuma-sensei for advice.
Karasuma-sensei’s advice is pretty amusing – she loves cute things, and has no shame in letting everyone know that.
Karen constantly getting scolded by Kuzehashi-sensei is also amusing. She tries her best, and I like the way in which she decides she can be friends with this teacher who seems to be glaring all the time. It works out, too, what with the students coming to realise that Kuzehashi-sensei is more approachable than they thought.
Kuzehashi-sensei is a fun character, but the usual hijinks between Alice and the other girls remain just as good as ever. It’s just a shame that the English translated manga doesn’t really have a good way to differentiate between the English and Japanese languages. It does have spoken English use a different font from normal, but considering the whole thing is in English anyway…
In case you haven’t guessed it yet, I still firmly believe the anime is the best way to experience Kiniro Mosaic. That’s a point I will probably continue to echo whenever I share my thoughts on a volume of the manga. Of course, that only really applies to the stuff that has been adapted into anime form.