Inside Mari Chapters 5-8 Review Discussion
Reviewed by: Linny
Synopsis: A young man wakes up to find himself in the body of a high school girl he had been casually stalking for a while. He does not know why or how this happened, and knows nothing about her besides the fact that they went to the same convenience store every night. With no information and no help, he must now figure out what his next step will be.
Chapters Synopsis (Heavy Spoilers Warning): Mari/Not Mari survives their first day of school and rushes over trying to meet his original self in hopes that Mari is now residing in his body. This leads to a confusing and disappointing encounter as not only is Mari not there but he doesn’t seem to even know who Mari is. The next day at school, matters worsen as not only is he raising suspicion with his non Mari like behaviour, he ends up being confronted by Yori Kakiguchi, a classmate who seems to have figured out that he is not Mari. Yori is rather aggressive with her inquisition and demands that he bring the real Mari back. When he confesses that he has no idea how to do so, he is then forced to try and convince her to help him by proving his real identity and his innocence. This all leads to a situation where they find themselves trapped and hiding on our protagonist’s balcony while he is busy….just read the chapter.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Chapter Five starts off being an extremely gripping read as we finally get the confrontation everyone had been anticipating once we caught on about the bod swapping. And then it does something that makes the body swapping even more mysterious and confusing. Most readers will have guessed the outcome of the meeting but it still makes for an impact laden scene. The author does a good job of portraying the mental stress that would arise from finding yourself suddenly in the body of a stranger and then struggling to figure it all out while keeping things under wraps from everyone. The calling out of the protagonist in the sixth chapter is rather predictable as we are given several clues beforehand that Yori, her classmate has been observing her closely in school and seems to have picked up on her changes before anyone else. I felt it was touching to see Mari/Not Mari crumbling under pressure and being scared as he starts to realize just how hopeless his situation is. Seeing him beg his/Mari’s best friend for help then losing his senses in the moment really conveyed his split personality and his failure to remain composed and in character.
Having a new character, especially one so brash and verbally aggressive towards our terrified protagonist definitely evoked more sympathy in me..but some readers may side with Yori for being genuinely distrustful of someone who’s clearly an impostor. Her anger and even possessiveness of Mari feels suspicious in its own way as there are several clear indications that she and Mari weren’t openly friendly with each other. This could, on the other hand, be a clue that there may have been a secret bond between Mari and Yori, but for now, watching her incessantly verbally attacking our frightened protagonist makes her come off as somewhat annoying…to me. It quickly becomes clear that Yori is just as desperate to get the real Mari back, but she refuses to explain or clarify anything else, and hence we get another new mystery of sorts on our hands. For readers who like getting lots of hints and clues, Inside Mari prefers to pile on the questions for now so you will require patience and/or binge reading so you can breeze through the story.
Chapter 8 feels like another exercise in frustration as we watch Yori shoot down all of Mari/Not Mari’s attempts to prove her true identity..and land them in a hot spot. It was nice to FINALLY learn our protagonist’s actual name, and maybe in future discussions I can finally refer to him by name instead of this Mari/Not Mari nonsense. The awkwardness of the situation seemed even more amplified by Yori’s own eclectic behaviour and as of now, I’m really hoping Yori starts coughing up some answers of her own as she tries to be a hero who seems to only be making matters worse. It’s nice that Mari/Not Mari finally has a potential ally but things remain as bleak as they were, if not more, than the start of the story. There was some subtle comedy in this chapter which provided a nice quick break from all the drama and tension that’s been prevalent in the recent chapters.
As much as I was pulled in by Inside Mari at the start with its take on being a woman and the body swapping trope being used as a mystery device and not just a gag shtick, the story does seem to be a somewhat slow burner with only more mystery being added. This will please anyone who enjoys a bit of a head scratcher but might bore those who prefer a faster pace. The new character doesn’t seem to be adding much to the story other than just adding to the stress in Mari’s life presently so I’m curious as to just what else her inclusion will come to mean. As of now, it continues to be a serious and somber tale, that dabbles heavily in emotions and psychology. We still have quite a while to go, so here’s to hoping that we get more gripping questions and reveals…and don’t end up with a lot of unresolved questions or an unsatisfying explanation. If you’ve been reading Inside Mari, what are your predictions and impressions so far? And if you have read all of it, were you happy with its pacing and am I going to be disappointed?
Inside Mari is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.