Confidential Confessions, Volume 6

Confidential Confessions, Volume 6 - Reiko Momochi Annoyingly, the titles of the two stories are same as those in volume five. As such, I won't refer to them by their names in order to minimize the confusion (for myself, anyway.)

The first story illustrates the terror a young girl experiences after breaking up with a controlling boyfriend, Bun, who isn't ready to let her go. At first, life is going great for the recently single Manami: she can hang out with whatever friends she wants, wear whatever fashions she likes, and it even looks like she's on the road to a new relationship with one of her close friends. But then her boyfriend calls her phone. And then her house. And calls. And calls. And calls. Then, things manage to get even worse, and Manami might even end up hurt or dead if somebody doesn't interfere.

While hardly the best story CONFIDENTIAL CONFESSIONS has to offer, it is definitely one of the better ones. I like the ending in this one better than almost all endings of the previous stories combined, as it combines thrilling action with realistic consequences. After all, the trauma Manami experiences isn't resolved by merely addressing the immediate concerns with her ex-boyfriend. By this point, the author has a good grasp on writing convincing psychological horror, so it's easy to see how Manami could convince herself that she's overreacting to her ex's horrible acts. Furthermore, it addresses slut-shaming better than Volume 5's similar tract did. Unlike the rape story from Volume 5, her friend's awful opinions about Manami's actions are far more justified, as they might become targets of Bun's malice as well if they protest too loudly.

The second story is another school bullying story, this time told from the perspective of the bully. There's really not a whole lot to say about it, as it takes many elements already better addressed in previous stories (failing to please parents, extreme bullying, victims standing up for themselves) and doesn't do much of anything new with the material. If anything, it's a retread of Volume 4's "Tomorrow," which is coincidentally my least favorite CONFIDENTIAL CONFESSIONS short story. While analyzing the perspective of someone acting out due to unresolved trauma is interesting and the story isn't outright bad, it does pale in comparison to the three great stories that preceded it in the series.

As it's nearly impossible to find a copy of Volume 7 for less than $50, this might as well be an end to the official series. As such, it's not a particularly strong note to leave on, but it's not terrible either. In the span of six volumes, Reiko Momochi discussed enough serious topics to last a lifetime. It's a shame that Tokyopop went out of business, because this is one series that deserves continued attention, no matter how dated the stories themselves become.