Takeo Goda, the male lead for Viz Media’s My Love Story!! is quite unusual. Bishonen tend to dominate the cast of shojo manga, but Takeo’s looks are about as far from a stereotypical pretty boy as you can get. Still, he possesses tremendous appeal in this hilarious romantic comedy. I had the opportunity to take a look at Volume 3 of the series, and you can read on for the review.
Back cover blurb
Takeo Goda is a giant guy with a giant heart. Too bad the girls don’t want him! (They want his good-looking best friend, Sunakawa.) Used to being on the sidelines, Takeo simply stands tall and accepts his fate. But one day when he saves a girl named Yamato from a harasser on the train, his (love!) life suddenly takes an incredible turn!
Takeo’s got to be one of the purest manga characters I’ve come across. He’s obviously head over heels for Yamato, but as the first two chapters of Volume 3 demonstrate, he’s a gentleman no matter what the circumstance. In Chapter 8, a romantic picnic turns into an unexpected overnight adventure when he and Yamato tumble off a cliff. (In any other series, this would be ridiculous, but given their history of falling beams and burning buildings, it’s par for the course.) As usual, Takeo doesn’t pick up on the real cause of Yamato’s nervousness as they wander alone, but he’s sweet and funny as he takes down everything from mosquitoes to wild boars for her sake.
In Chapter 9, Yamato ups her game by proposing a group trip to the beach. The beach means swimsuits, and Yamato’s friends go all out to help her find the right swimsuit to knock Takeo for a loop. At the same time, Takeo’s chewing his friends out for even thinking about ogling at girls so it’s pretty funny when they get to the beach and both get overwhelmed by the physicality of the other.
One nice thing about this volume is that Takeo gets a chance to be popular. While people often perceive him as the scary guy, he’s capable of drawing a crowd (in a positive way) and does so in Chapters 9 and 11. (The drawings showing his prowess on the beach, skating rink, and soccer field are pretty funny, too). Given that Yamato is the “cute” one in the relationship, it came as a surprise to see her concerned about other girls stealing Takeo (I’d just written off big sis Ai as a fluke). Having that element of jealousy play out in their growing relationship is interesting, but what’s really gratifying is watching a girl who dissed Takeo in middle school realize that he’s actually kind of cool.
Extras include story thus far, notes from the creators, and a three-page bonus mini-manga.
Volume 3 consists of four standalone chapters. Although the story arcs are brief, their entertainment value remains high. They follow the same basic premise of Takeo’s devotion to Yamato and her gushing admiration for him, but there’s enough variation in the details (such as Takeo’s parents taking interest in Yamato) that keeps the story fresh and funny. Plus, it’s hard not to laugh at Aruko-sensei’s hilarious visuals.
First published at The Fandom Post.