Wholesome BL has kind of become the standard for Yen Press. A shounen-ai title driven by longing and the fear of risking a friendship for a romance, I Cannot Reach You has been a standout in the genre. Created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Mika, I Cannot Reach You Volume 4 is published and localized in English by Yen Press. The volume is translated by Jan Mitsuko Cash and features lettering by Alexis Eckerman.
I Cannot Reach You Volume 3 ended on a whopping cliffhanger. Yamato confessed his feelings and kissed Kakeru. Unfortunately, a romantic first kiss on their school trip turns into a misunderstanding when it’s revealed that Yamato’s fever kiss was just that. Instead of a thought-out confession, Yamato was in a haze without a filter right before he fainted. Worried but ready to discuss the moment, Kakeru is floored when Yamato acts as if nothing happened between them. With no memory of what happened, Yamato is oblivious and leaves Kakeru struggling to process the moment on his own. Angry and confused by Yamato’s memory loss, Kakeru has to pull himself together enough to confront Yamato about what happened when all he wants to do is run away.
The dreamlike art on I Cannot Reach You Volume 4’s cover continues to the interior pages. The dreamy romance shown in the moments of emotion is also cut with highly expressive face illustrations that are cute, hilarious, and unique to Mika’s style. This allows humor to be injected into the rather serious exploration of identity and romantic emotion that works exceptionally well to highlight the characters’ youth. Kakeru is easily embarrassed, and the way he transforms from panel to panel stands in stark contrast to Yamato’s more stoic demeanor.
Additionally, I genuinely appreciate the slow-developing choices that both Yamato and Kakeru make. While confessions happen in this volume, and the two deal with the fallout from Yamato’s fever-fueled kiss, it’s not a simple flipped switch. While Kakeru has feelings for Yamato that he hasn’t been able to define, knowing that his best friend loves him and wants something more means he can explore his attraction without assumptions. The door is open; he just needs to make the decision to walk through it. However, because of their closeness and how much he cherishes Yamato in his life, Kakeru chooses to take his time.
Vulnerable and loving, I Cannot Reach You Volume 4 is cute and sweet and exactly what I need it to be. The inclusion of a supportive friend group that witnessed the kiss is an addition to the story that feels necessary. With the two characters’ personalities that make them avoid conflict, supportive friends are essential to get the ball moving between them.
I Cannot Reach You Volume 4 is a strong entry in the story because it moves past assumptive thinking and shows our leads communicating. Both Yamato and Kakeru embrace communication, opening up about their feelings at the moment they happen and not after a miscommunication, which makes all the difference. While there is much more development left to do, like actually deciding to take the next step to become boyfriends, the openness and care shown between the two are heartwarmingly beautiful and a step toward something more significant.
I Cannot Reach You Volume 4 is available now wherever books are sold.
I Cannot Reach You Volume 4
I Cannot Reach You Volume 4 is a strong entry in the story because it moves past assumptive thinking and shows our leads communicating. Both Yamato and Kakeru embrace communication and open up about their feelings at the moment they happen and not after a miscommunication, which makes all the difference.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.