First off, I recommend anyone reading this volume to read the "Transgendered in Japan" essay by Wandering Son's translator, Matt Thorn, before reading the rest of the volume. You'll have a better appreciation of the context for some scenes in this volume's final arc if you have the knowledge imparted by one of the topics touched on by the essay first.
And it's a great essay all-around, explaining what it takes to legally change one's gender in Japan, societal views of trans people (framed within the context of how the lgbt community as a whole is perceived in Japan), and the roles/portrayals trans people get in the media. There's some interesting, if unsurprising, discussion of how views/portrayals of trans women and gay men are interrelated. Thorn also discusses manga portrayals, a couple wonderful lgbt celebrities (a trans comedienne who publicly called out Governor Ishihara for some homophobic remarks and a lesbian fashion model who blogs about lgbt issues), and the inaccuracies of Western views of Japanese views about lgbt people. Really a fantastic essay.
Anyway, onto the main review~
Nitori, Takatsuki, Chiba, and Sasa start the sixth grade, but Chiba gets placed in a different class. Nitori's new teacher assigns the kids to write an essay about their dream. Nitori's dream is to grow up to be a beautiful woman, but that can't exactly be turned in. Maho, bless her blunt sincerity, suggests BSing the essay, but Nitori doesn't write down any dream at all.
Nitori and Takatsuki start an exchange diary, and worry about including Chiba and Sasa (meaning they'd have to out themselves to Sasa), but Chiba and Sasa start their own exchange diary, so phew. Nitori and Takatsuki expect Sasa to be supportive but, understandably, coming out to her (especially when they don't feel ready) would still be stressful.
And Yukiiiiii. I love that Shimura Takako includes older role models for her protagonists in this series and Aoi Hana. Yuki, who seems suspect at first, when we don't really know her, turns out to be one of the best things to happen to Nitori and Takatsuki. I also like how the story shows that Nitori and Takatsuki's friendship with Yuki is good for her too. She didn't know anyone else who was transsexual growing up, so it's cathartic for her to see them as friends and make things easier for them.
Finally, the field trip arc. A boy classmate targets Nitori for bullying, causing Chiba to (understandably) lose her temper. And, of course, the teacher only notices what she did. Still, Chiba tells Nitori that they're "bosom buddies" (I love the Anne of Green Gables references in this volume; it was one of my favorite books as a kid because I loved Anne), Nitori and Takatsuki run into Yuki and her boyfriend Shii-chan on vacation, and Nitori works up the courage to tell off the bully. (Yay Nitori!!)
Besides the essay, extras includes a Pronunciation Guide and an Honorifics Guide. The translation is still excellent. Just one quibble- I don't mind "Sayonara" being left untranslated at one point, but it's a bit weird that Nitori's teacher saying "H-hai" to Yuki isn't translated as "Y-yes."
There is also an Afterword in comic form by Shimura Takako. No matter how self-deprecatingly she presents herself, I will still turn to jelly if I ever meet her.