First off, I want to reply to Dragon Trainer
In less than a chapter, Kei has an entire board of pictures with her
I believe that is a wonderful plot device and you have completely missed it. It wasn't in one day, but over a long period of time. Notice:
Picture 1) Tae is the only one smiling
Picture 2) Tae is only smiling, Kei is fidgeting
Picture 3) Kei shows some emotion and Tae is smiling
Picture 4) Kei is smiling and laughing.
It was wonderfully done. The author was basically telling us that Kei was changing as time went by. Who knows how much time had passed, but it's guaranteed to be a certain while. He, Oku, used this method to skip time and not just go through it bit by bit.
You are a complete genius! You have said everything I ever wanted to say about Tae and Reika. I almost wanted to start a topic on Reika, but thanks to you, I don't have to.
Reika's so-called "love" for Kei is the most superficial love I have ever seen. She likes him merely because he displayed his prowress. She fell in love with the killer in him.
Just one display of kick-ass and she's like "OMFG! HE IS SO LEET! HE IS THE HAXXOR GOD, I MUST HAVE HIM!"
Only, that's not the real Kei, you see...the real Kei is the one with Tae, the one who strives to be understood. Tae saw the real Kei, fell in love with him and that's that.
You also said exactly like I wanted. Had Kei met Reika in real life, she'd have just brushed him off as an ordinary noob or a stupid fanboy. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like girls that are that shallow.