Tag Archives: my love story!! review

Manga Review: My Love Story!! Vol. 12

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. Volume 12 has been released, and you can read on for the review. (For my review of other volumes, click here.)

Back cover blurb

Tanaka, a boy who transferred to Takeo’s school, keeps hanging around Sunakawa for some reason. At first, Takeo thinks nothing of it, but when he hears that Tanaka is just using Sunakawa, he immediately goes to help his friend! And later, Takeo finds out some distressing news from Yamato! Will Takeo and Yamato actually be separated?

The Review

It was initially unclear where the plot was going with the introduction of fashionable transfer student Tanaka, but it winds up a hilarious arc that shows a hitherto unseen aspect of both Takeo and Suna. Takeo’s strong point since the very beginning is his popularity among other males, and Tanaka’s the first guy we’ve seen (other than the groper) that dislikes him. However, Takeo’s clashed with other boys before and actually has a proven strategy for turning enemies into friends. To be sure, this strategy is the sort a grade school kid would rely on, but that’s okay because Suna is acting a bit childishly as well. Suna’s definitely the most mature character in the cast, and despite all the crazy stuff Takeo drags him into, he’s never gotten really mad. Now we get to see what Suna is like with someone he seriously dislikes.

Meanwhile, Tanaka is a much more typical teenager, insecure in his relationships and obsessed with looking good on social media. I’m not sure if Tanaka’s chat group lies are meant to be social commentary, but when the three go out for a day trip and Takeo takes all of Tanaka’s posts at face value, the results are a riot. I’m not a fan of Aruko-sensei’s particular art style, but the expressions in this arc deliver huge comedic impact nonetheless, and I really wish I could see these chapters animated.

Then it’s back to Takeo’s love story and the next challenge for our main couple: the Yamamoto family is moving–to Spain! The announcement takes everyone by surprise, and although he’s crushed by the news, Takeo does his best to be a supportive boyfriend and reassure Yamato of his commitment to her even while they’re apart. Thus, Yamato’s last days in Japan go pretty much as one would expect–until she runs away from home! It’s a shock to everyone, Takeo included. But even though she’s been portrayed as a model daughter, her actions–though drastic–are not out of character. Still, it’s anyone’s guess how this arc will end, and I look forward to its resolution.

Extras include story thus far, two sizable bonus chapters, and notes from the creators.

In Summary

My Love Story!! hits another one out the park! As Takeo discovers, Tanaka is using others to achieve his own shallow goals, which sparks a near rampage out of our main character. However, what’s even funnier is Suna’s reaction when Tanaka airs his unfiltered thoughts about Takeo. It’s male bonding magic when self-absorbed superficiality collides with earnest friendship!

First published at The Fandom Post.

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Manga Review: My Love Story!! Vol. 11

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. Volume 11 has been released, and you can read on for the review. (For my review of other volumes, click here.)

Back cover blurb

Lately, Yamato has been making Takeo’s heart race more than usual, so Takeo tries to train himself to be more stoic. But when their respective schools take them on a trip to Hokkaido, Takeo and Yamato keep getting thrown into close contact! Looks like Takeo is in for a rough challenge…

The Review

Volume 10 ended with Takeo determined to get his feelings for Yamato under control before the school trip, but of course, he doesn’t, and that’s where comedy comes in. Volume 11 opens with the Hokkaido trip well underway, and Takeo’s hormones raging hot as ever. Takeo’s and Yamato’s schools are at different hotels, and their schedules only coincide for one day. As such, their interactions aren’t a multiday stretch but something closer to an extended date–with Suna dragged along. Apparently, the sight of Suna calms Takeo. Thus, we have several hilarious variations of Yamato purposely getting close to Takeo, and Takeo desperately using Suna to maintain control. Eventually though, Takeo does face Yamato and his emotions head on. Although this brings their relationship to a new level, their physical intimacy remains firmly G-rated. By the way, for a school trip arc, we don’t actually see much of the Hokkaido sights.

Next we have a single chapter arc where Yamato decides to improve herself physically. Takeo is obviously the athletic half of the couple, but when he teaches Yamato the basics of tumbling, it becomes clear how unathletic Yamato is. Having Takeo as Yamato’s instructor brings a new aspect to their relationship though, and it’s cute seeing the two of them in martial arts uniforms.

Then a new character appears! Tanaka’s a transfer student who’s as handsome as Suna, and he takes a special interest in Suna. At the same time, the new guy gives Takeo the cold shoulder. Between Tanaka monopolizing Suna’s time and Suna’s strange behavior when Takeo does see him, Takeo finds himself reevaluating his ”best friend” relationship with Suna all over again.

Extras include story thus far and notes from the creators.

In Summary

Teen hormones don’t push Takeo over the edge, but he gets pretty close in the conclusion to the school trip arc. If you liked how Takeo used Suna for kissing practice, you’ll probably enjoy how Takeo uses the “Suna calming effect” to counter Yamato’s efforts to stir him up. Yamato and Takeo’s relationship remains pure as ever, but the creators continue to find cute and funny ways to keep readers engaged.

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: My Love Story!! Vol. 10

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. Volume 10 has been released, and you can read on for the review. (For my review of other volumes, click here.)

Back cover blurb

Pastry chef Ichinose thinks he is best suited to be with Yamato and tells Takeo to break up with her! Takeo becomes discouraged, but he takes a stand against Ichinose even though Ichinose swears to declare his love to Yamato after he wins a pastry chef competition. Will Takeo and Yamato’s relationship survive the high-stakes baking contest?

The Review

The Ichinose arc concludes in this volume. The three members of this love triangle are so simpleminded that the ultimate outcome is pretty much a given, but it doesn’t make the chapter any less fun. Between Yamato’s and Ichinose’s brands of obliviousness and the physical humor unique to this series, readers will be plenty entertained.

Then the manga moves into territory beyond the anime. First, we have male bonding between Suna and Takeo. Interestingly, their outing is precipitated by Maki, who, at only seven months old, already exhibits a personality as big as the other members of her family.

That’s followed by one of the staples of high school manga: the school festival! The setting is actually Yamato’s school, but Takeo and his guy friends find a way to participate in her class’ Police Cafe. As usual, Takeo makes quite an impression, but unlike other situations where people get freaked out or laugh, the response from the girls’ academy is overwhelmingly positive. So much so that the longstanding “girls don’t want Takeo, they want his good-looking best friend” falls by the wayside. The chapter has a nice mix of comedy, internal turmoil, and romance, and I really hope the anime gets another season because I’d love to see this chapter animated.

The final chapter centers around another high school manga staple: the class trip! The prospect of Takeo’s and Yamato’s schools traveling to the same place is fun in of itself, but the creators throw an extra complication in the loop. Thus far, Takeo, despite his size, has treated Yamato the way an elementary school boy would treat his crush. Now, his hormones are getting revved up. He can’t seem to figure what to do about it, and I look forward to seeing the impact on the school trip and his relationship with Yamato.

Extras include story thus far and notes from the creators.

In Summary

The manga wraps up the Ichinose arc and plows on into Takeo’s love story (!!) beyond the anime. After so much attention on his relationship with Yamato, the plot switches gears to give Takeo’s buddies some air time with a Suna-Takeo sauna outing followed by a rollicking time at Yamato’s school festival with all Takeo’s friends. The series has already reached Volume 10, but its particular style of rom-com remains fresh as ever.

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: My Love Story!! Vol. 9

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. Volume 9 has been released, and you can read on for the review. (For my review of other volumes, click here.)

Back cover blurb

Yamato starts working at a cake shop, where she meets a handsome pastry chef named Ichinose. Ichinose mistakes Yamato’s kind-hearted actions for signs of affection, and he falls for her! What will Takeo do about this persistent rival?

The Review

Volume 8 concluded with the introduction of the handsome young pastry chef Ichinose, and interestingly, seeing him call Yamato by her first name (an indication of familiarity in Japanese culture) doesn’t make Takeo go ballistic. Rather, he sinks into a funk because he isn’t bold enough to do the same. His insecurities grow as he realizes how much fun Yamato’s having at her part-time job with Ichinose. Of course, Suna gets dragged along to listen to Takeo’s problems and stand witness to the funny effects this emotional blow has on him.

Then things get really heated when Ichinose outright demands Takeo give Yamato to him. It’s a hilarious interchange when Ichinose presses Takeo about his qualifications to be Yamato’s boyfriend and then makes his own pronouncements about the type of woman Takeo should be with. Again, even though Takeo could easily knock Ichinose into next week, he comes away from the encounter like a whipped dog.

Meanwhile, Yamato is completely oblivious to the turmoil she’s causing. She thinks Ichinose’s interest in her is solely professional while Ichinose interprets her unabashed praise of his work as confirmation that their feelings are mutual. Takeo’s pretty dense, but Yamato and Ichinose bring in their own comic brands of cluelessness as well.

For those familiar with the anime, the TV series followed this volume fairly closely but did omit a couple minor scenes, including one where Takeo’s friends come to invite him out. The omitted scenes aren’t critical to the narrative, but the pacing of the manga feels more natural compared to the corresponding anime episode.

Volume 9 is a bit short. It only contains three chapters, but they make up for it with an extra-long bonus story about Takeo and Sunakawa when they were in elementary school. Extras also include story thus far and notes from the creators.

In Summary

Gentle giant Takeo breaks more stereotypes when another guy demands that he break up with Yamamoto. Instead of squashing his rival shonen-style, Takeo gets depressed, wondering if he’s good enough for his girlfriend. Given how cute Yamato is, this arc has been a long time coming, but Takeo’s unexpected insecurities and Ichinose’s overconfidence make it a worthwhile one.

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: My Love Story!! Vol. 8

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. Volume 8 has been released, and you can read on for the review. (For my review of other volumes, click here.)

Back cover blurb

Yamato invites Takeo to a date at her house, but what’s in store when Takeo meets Yamato’s family for the first time? Furthermore, Takeo now has a rival in love! What will the gentle giant do about his incredibly handsome foe?

The Review

Even if you’re a My Love Story!! fan who prefers the anime over the manga, you should still consider getting Volume 8 because it contains two arcs that were not in the television series. The first arc introduces Yamato’s family, which didn’t appear at all in the anime. The awkwardness of Takeo’s initial encounter with Yamato’s dad is pretty funny, but the wittiness drops off after that. Unlike Takeo’s family, where everyone is extremely unique, Yamato’s family is so average as to be borderline boring, with the exception of Yamato’s crazy dog. As such, the comedy predominantly comes from physical humor (i.e., Takeo’s big body bumping into things) and the usual first meeting with girlfriend’s parents goof-ups. While it translates all right in manga format, I do wish the animators, who had done such a spectacular job adding impact to these kind of scenes, had included this arc in the anime.

Then the focus shifts from Takeo’s Love Story!! to Ai’s Love Story!! Again, I’m surprised to see Ai and the ever persistent Oda return for not one, but two chapters. While the previous Ai-Oda arc was about Oda meddling in Takeo and Yamato’s relationship, this time Oda’s out to win Ai on his own merit. Takeo, of course, is rooting for Oda, and Oda once again stays with the Godas as he makes a new bid for Ai’s affections. Although Ai is not a Goda, she has been Takeo’s big sister figure, and it’s fun to see the Goda family perspective on Ai’s suitor. The story concludes with a literal wild ride, and though it’s entertaining, action scenes are not Aruko-sensei’s strongest point. As with the meeting with Yamato’s family, it’s a sequence I would have loved to see animated.

The volume concludes with the start of summer vacation and a part time job for Yamato. One of the running themes is how women fall for Suna and how they don’t fall for Takeo. Even so, Takeo’s captured the hearts of three girls so far. On the other hand, Yamato, who is universally considered cute, hasn’t attracted anyone else’s attention. Well, that changes with Chapter 31. An actual rival for Yamato’s affections finally arrives in the form of a coworker. But this isn’t your usual high-school love triangle. In addition to being as different from Takeo as can be, Ichinose is a working adult. However, he’s pretty immature for an adult so it works out. At any rate, this kind of competition is bound to send Yamato and Takeo’s relationship into new territory.

Extras include story thus far and notes from the creators.

In Summary

As fun as it is, Takeo and Yamato’s relationship continues at a snail’s pace. After the sitcom that is Takeo’s first meeting with Yamato’s parents, the attention shifts to the as of yet unresolved Oda-Ai relationship for two chapters. Fortunately, the volume refocuses on our main couple with the introduction of a rival for Takeo, who is certain to bring new complications and romcom fun to Takeo’s Love Story!!

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: My Love Story!! Vol. 6

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. Viz Media has released Volume 6, and you can read on for the review. (For my review of other volumes, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Now that they’ve been dating for just over six months, Takeo and Yamato finally have their first kiss! Meanwhile, Takeo’s mom goes into labor, and something happens that makes her realize how much Takeo’s grown… There’s also a hint that love might be in Sunakawa’s future…

The Review

I’ve been looking forward to the new baby arc ever since Takeo’s mom mentioned that he was going to become a big brother. The birth of a sibling is kind of unusual for a high school manga. Parents generally don’t get a lot of attention either, but Takeo’s mom dominates the first half of the volume in a big way. While her pregnancy gives Takeo something to anticipate and worry about, she also gets one-on-one time with Yamato, and we learn a bit about her relationship with Takeo’s dad.

When the baby finally arrives, Takeo acts more like an anxious new father than a big brother. For those familiar with the TV series, his panic is funny but doesn’t quite achieve the level of hilarity that the anime does. However, the manga includes a slower paced scene not in the anime, and it gives the birth of baby Goda an added bit of cute comedy.

Speaking of cute and comedic, the subsequent arc is Valentine’s Day, which, like Christmas, ends up a group affair rather than romantic time alone for Takeo and Yamato. The creators once more remind us of the disparity between Takeo’s and Suna’s popularity through the measure of Valentine’s chocolates. However,  this time it’s to emphasize Takeo’s eagerness for his very first true-love chocolate, and his emotional ups and downs are fun to watch. Oddly though, when the long-awaited moment arrives, Yamato’s gift doesn’t even get its own panel.

Then it’s on to White Day for the last chapter. Not surprisingly, Takeo’s all fired up to return the favor to Yamato. The actual making of his White Day gift was not included in the anime, and I’m surprised it wasn’t. Takeo’s unfamiliarity with the kitchen is good for a number of laughs, but it also creates an opportunity for Takeo and Suna to talk about relationships, which makes a great segue as the focus switches from Takeo’s love life to Suna’s.

Extras include story thus far and notes from the creators.

In Summary

It’s a little unusual to have a high schooler freaking out about a baby on the way. However, the role fits Takeo pretty well, and in the midst of him overreacting to every little thing, we learn more about his mom, who is a pretty interesting character herself. Then it’s on to more standard high school stuff: Valentine’s Day and White Day. For Takeo, though, this is brand-new territory, and his giddy enthusiasm makes it a fresh experience for readers as well.

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: My Love Story!! Vol. 5

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 5 of the series, and you can read on for the review. (For my review of other volumes, click here.)

Back cover blurb

Takeo and Mariya are chosen to participate in the relay race for the athletic meet. While practicing together, Mariya ends up falling in love with him… Yamato is unsure of what to do about her new rival! Will Takeo and Yamato be able to overcome this crisis?

The Review

After finishing Volume 4, I felt that the conclusion of the Saijo arc lacked closure. Her “I like you as a person” confession left it unclear whether she really felt that way or said that out of consideration for Takeo’s girlfriend. As it turns out, that wasn’t the actual end of the arc, and Saijo’s story continues on to its real end in Volume 5.

Takeo, dense as he is, just takes everything Saijo says at face value, so it’s up to Suna (as usual) to pick up on the emotional nuances of what’s really going on. For those familiar with the anime, the corresponding TV episode lacks a few scenes that are in the manga so the manga actually provides a more complete depiction of Suna observing Saijo’s infatuation with Takeo in the classroom. One-sided teenage angst abounds, but it’s cool to see another girl recognize how awesome Takeo is. When the truth does come out, however, it pushes Takeo to a revelation that has a surprisingly positive impact on his relationship with Yamato.

Then it’s the end of the year, and as they say in anime, Christmas is for lovers. However, Yamato turns their first Christmas into a group event. They’ve organized a few of these mixers with their friends now so the time is right for a pairing to come out of it. The result is that Yamato and Takeo get to play Cupid together, which is fun to watch.

The Christmas chapter gets followed by New Year’s, which is also Takeo’s birthday. Yamato wants to make it special, and it’s hilarious when she asks Suna and Ai for advice about kissing Takeo and inadvertently causes Suna to have a horrific flashback. At any rate, Yamato and Takeo’s first kiss starts off like a stereotypical scene, but then things don’t go as intended. In fact, I can’t think of another first kiss moment that gets derailed in such a fashion. However, it only works because Takeo is the type of character he is, and he does manage to work things out a warm and fuzzy end.

Extras include story thus far, notes from the creators, and a four-page bonus manga.

In Summary

Lots of heartache and laughter in this volume. The heartache, however, comes not from our main couple but Takeo’s classmate Saijo, who has zero chance of separating the two. Then the laughter comes when Yamato and Takeo play Cupid on Christmas Eve and again when Yamato takes the initiative to kiss Takeo on his birthday. All in all, another entertaining chapter from Kawahara-sensei and Aruko-sensei.

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: My Love Story!! Vol. 4

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 4 of the series, and you can read on for the review. (For my review of other volumes, click here.)

Back cover blurb

Sunakawa’s older sister, Ai, has had a secret crush on Takeo since she was little. But Hayato Oda, someone who goes to the same collage as her, is making some aggressive romantic advances. Can Ai sever her feelings for Takeo and accept Oda’s feelings? Meanwhile, a girl other that Yamato has realized Takeo’s appeal…!

The Review

Suna’s sister Ai returns for another arc. I honestly didn’t expect to see more of her, except maybe in references to the past, but she’s back, thanks to the meddling of her classmate, Hayato Oda. Oda’s a handsome, irresponsible airhead who is in love with Ai, but she’s rejected him because of her persisting feelings for Takeo. So Oda goes to see what kind of guy has captured Ai’s heart and of course gets thrown for a loop.

But instead of backing down, he decides Ai must confess to Takeo or she’ll never get over him. So he finagles a group outing to the MM Land amusement park with the Sunakawas, Yamato, Takeo, and himself. His plan: separate Yamato and Takeo so Ai can be alone with Takeo. However, Ai is supportive as ever of Takeo/Yamato so we get layers of comedy with Yamato and Takeo frolicking in a kind of Disneyland parody with Ai and Oda fighting in the background.

Then it’s time for the Shuei High athletic meet. Sports is where Takeo shines (in his own uniquely hilarious fashion), and although Takeo (and almost everyone else) insists he’s not popular, Yamato grows increasingly anxious that another girl will steal him away. Her fears look like they’ll materialize when a cute classmate that Takeo helps in the relay race starts following him around. While the ultimate resolution feels contrived, it is funny watching Yamato’s friends help her scheme to keep her hold on Takeo’s affections.

Extras include story thus far, notes from the creators, and a bonus chapter set when Takeo and Suna are kids.

In Summary

Suna might be the popular one, but Takeo is the center of a lot of female attention in Volume 4. Ai returns, along with a classmate determined to get her to confess her feelings to Takeo. Then Takeo’s character and physical prowess in the school athletic meet grab the attention of another pretty girl. While it is nice that Takeo’s not being viewed as just a big bear, I really hope the trend doesn’t lead to him acquiring a harem.

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: My Love Story!! Vol. 3

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!

The Review

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.

In Summary

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.