Tag Archives: romance manga

Manga Review: Everyone’s Getting Married Vol. 4

Most romances in Viz Media’s Shojo Beat line are targeted toward a high school audience, but Everyone’s Getting Married is actually aimed toward older readers. It’s twenty-something angst instead of teen angst, and you can read on for the review of Volume 4. (For the reviews of previous volumes, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Successful career woman Asuka Takanashi has an old-fashioned dream of getting married and becoming a housewife, but popular TV newscaster Ryu Nanami would rather die than ever get married. Kamiya has proposed to Asuka, offering her the future she’s always wanted, but Asuka is seeing Ryu. Is a battle between the men brewing?

The Review

The members of our love square have very different careers, but somehow Ryu’s station, PTV, manages to get everyone into the same space. First Ryu and his old lover Yuko get paired up to host a weekly music show. Then Kamiya accepts an offer to appear as an expert on a business show. As such, Yuko is a constant reminder of why Ryu rejects marriage, but Kamiya’s presence pressures Ryu in regard to Asuka. In addition, the television screen serves to highlight the romantic rivalries for everyone involved.

Yuko isn’t particularly active in this volume. We mainly get a more detailed glimpse into her interactions with Ryu seven years ago. Kamiya, on the other hand, is stirring things up, intentionally and unintentionally. While his unwavering belief that Asuka is the woman he should marry is still a bit difficult to swallow, he does a fine job promoting himself and pointing out the flaws in Asuka’s current relationship. He’s also sharp enough to figure out the identity of Asuka’s boyfriend and use it to his advantage once he does.

This brings an overdue element to Asuka and Ryu’s relationship. Before, Asuka was the only one struggling with insecurity. Now Ryu gets a taste when he realizes his competition is handsome, smart, and already offering Asuka the married life she so desperately craves.

In the midst of this, an indiscreet moment on Ryu’s part results in a photo that has the media buzzing about whether the PTV newscaster has a girlfriend. Asuka is forced to keep her distance until the furor dies down, and Kamiya finds a clever way to leverage it in his favor. As a result, things come to a head between Ryu and Kamiya, which makes for a delightful final scene in Volume 4.

Extras include a 5-page mini-manga about Ryu’s workday and the bonus one-shot story Pure Love Masquerade, which actually is more about sex than love.

In Summary

Kamiya rises as a formidable rival! While Asuka insists that Ryu is the only one she wants, Kamiya does a fine job of making Ryu jealous. Asuka may not have made any headway on Ryu’s anti-marriage views on her own, but with her handsome business associate trying to woo her away, Ryu may be forced to reevaluate his priorities.

First published at The Fandom Post.

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: Everyone’s Getting Married Vol. 3

Most romances in Viz Media’s Shojo Beat line are targeted toward a high school audience, but Everyone’s Getting Married is actually aimed toward older readers. It’s twenty-something angst instead of teen angst, and you can read on for the review of Volume 3. (For the reviews of previous volumes, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Successful career woman Asuka Takanashi has an old-fashioned dream of getting married and becoming a housewife, but popular TV newscaster Ryu Nanami would rather die than ever get married. Ryu’s work brings Yuko Sakura—the married woman he had an affair with before he met Asuka—back into his life. Is she the reason Ryu will never marry?

The Review

In the last volume, Ryu and Asuka were struggling to find time for romance in the midst of their busy schedules. Now new characters threaten to tear them apart. Yuko Sakura is the married actress rumored to be the reason Ryu got transferred to New York. Their love affair has been mentioned since Volume 1, but this is the first time we see Ryu and his old flame together. Not surprisingly, circumstances at the TV station put the two together for an assignment, and even though their affair is supposedly water under the bridge, their behavior during their press conference makes Asuka wonder if he’s really over Yuko. Not to mention, Yuko is a ridiculously formidable rival. Not only is she beautiful and famous, Yuko, unlike Asuka, will never pressure Ryu about marriage.

However, Asuka’s not the only one having to contend with jealousy and insecurity. Enter Akito Kamiya, Asuka’s acquaintance in the banking industry. No sooner has he stepped into the story than he’s offering Asuka exactly the kind of married life she’s dreamed of. He’s not a hideous reject either; he and Ryu are so similarly drawn, it’s difficult to tell them apart unless Ryu’s wearing his glasses. Kamiya’s abrupt interest in Asuka seems contrived, but his blunt honesty has a refreshing quality that makes it difficult for me to dislike him.

Although it’s overly convenient how these two rivals pop up at the same time, I do appreciate the fact that it isn’t just Asuka or Ryu who suddenly feels threatened. Asuka is forced to reevaluate what she truly wants and how she’s treating Ryu. As for Ryu, we get glimpses of the type of relationship he had with Yuko. His reasons for rejecting marriage, however, remain a secret, and that’s the tidbit Miyazono used to lure you into the next volume.

Extras include a note from the creator and the seven-page bonus story “No Smoking for Nanaryu.”

In Summary

New characters appear! Ryu and Asuka’s relationship faces its first real test when Ryu’s former lover reenters his life. At the same time, a handsome acquaintance offers to give Asuka the homemaker life she so desperately wants. As such, the sizzle between Asuka and Ryu takes a backseat as emotional turmoil takes center stage.

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: The Heiress and the Chauffeur Vol. 2

A forbidden love between master and servant… That theme has formed the basis of many a romance, including Viz Media’s newly released historical manga, The Heiress and the Chauffeur. The second and final volume of the series has been released and you can read on for the review.

Back Cover Blurb

Sayaka’s father arranges for her to marry the son of an earl! Meanwhile, Sayaka has started to develop feelings for Narutaki… But with such a huge difference in their social standings, is it possible for Sayaka and Narutaki to be together?

The Review

This is the final volume of the series, and Ishihara-sensei introduces a rival, has Sayaka realize her love for Narutaki, and brings everything to a close in five chapters. This is a lot for one installment, yet it still dragged for me. Much of it had to do with Sayaka’s continuing cluelessness about Narutaki’s feelings and Narutaki’s lack of initiative to do anything other than catch Sayaka when she inevitably falls.

The addition of marriage candidate Akihiko Tachibana doesn’t do much to intensify the situation. He starts off as a promising element to complicate Narutaki and Sayaka’s lives, but he’s so quickly and overwhelmingly won over by Sayaka that he becomes more baffling than intriguing. As Ishihara-sensei accurately admits in an author’s note, “Mr. Tachibana changed so much it was as if he had been abducted by aliens.”

Also inconsistent is the matter of Sayaka’s foot. She alternately displays the actions of a reckless tomboy and a stumbling cripple. In Chapter 5, she leaps off a bridge into a lake and lands without trouble, but in Chapter 6, she balks at jumping from a sinking rowboat to a dock. And time and again, she trips for no better reason than to be dramatically caught by the male characters.

This is a romance so it of course has a happy ending. However, it’s not till Chapter 7 that Sayaka realizes her feelings toward Narutaki are not sisterly ones. That leaves only two and a half chapters for heiress and chauffeur to contend against and defeat the forces that would tear them apart. Sayaka’s long-absent father abruptly appears to play the ultimate obstacle to their happiness only to capitulate so quickly that he, like Mr. Tachibana, appears to have been abducted by aliens.

While the final chapter doesn’t involve a wedding, the volume includes a four-page bonus story that paints a pretty clear picture of Sayaka and Narutaki’s ever after. Other extras include embedded author’s notes and afterword. I should also mention that the artwork does include a few larger, sweeping illustrators, but for the most part, panels are small and cramped, and the printing tends to be overly dark and heavy. The dialogue translation is also confusing at a couple points, and it doesn’t help that several dialogue bubbles are arranged such that you can’t tell who’s speaking.

In Summary

Ishihara-sensei concludes with a happy ending for our heiress and chauffeur, but the journey is rife with character inconsistencies. In addition, Sayaka’s inability to recognize romantic feelings (including hers) for what they are drags down the first half of the volume, and when she finally does realize she’s in love, things move unbelievably fast in the second half. Sayaka might be touted as the universally adored “Crimson Lily” of her school, but I found her to be a frustratingly dense and somewhat pretentious heroine.

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: Everyone’s Getting Married Vol. 2

Most romances in Viz Media’s Shojo Beat line are targeted toward a high school audience, but Everyone’s Getting Married is actually aimed toward older readers. It’s twenty-something angst instead of teen angst, and you can read on for the review of Volume 2. (For the reviews of other volumes, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Successful career woman Asuka Takanashi has an old-fashioned dream of getting married and becoming a housewife. After her long-term boyfriend breaks up with her to pursue his own career goals, she encounters popular newscaster Ryu Nanami. Asuka and Ryu get along well, but the last thing he wants is to ever get married. This levelheaded pair who want the opposite things in life should never get involved, except…

The Review

The previous volume dealt mainly with Asuka diving back into the dating pool after getting dumped by her long-time boyfriend. Now she’s made her choice, and Volume 2 explores the difficulties of two busy career people trying to maintain a relationship. Asuka’s no slouch, but Ryu’s duties at the TV station are all-consuming. In the several weeks following their decision to date, Ryu barely has time to call Asuka, let alone see her. When he does manage to get within groping distance, passion generally ends in comedy with the interlude getting interrupted by one thing or another.

As such, Asuka and Ryu enjoy very little quality time, but readers get to see quite a bit of the broadcasting and recording world Ryu lives in. By the way, his workplace is definitely a male-dominated one, and with so many guys in suits, it’s sometimes difficult to tell characters apart. As Ryu interacts with his coworkers, we get their perspectives on PTV’s hot young newscaster as well as more hints and rumors about his past. While the particulars of his career history are interesting, Miyazono-sensei has yet to reveal the details of the circumstances that led to his aversion to marriage.

Despite that aversion and Asuka and Ryu’s extremely limited time together, the topic of marriage does manage to pop up regularly in the chapters. Concerned friend Rio questions Asuka on the wisdom of dating Ryu when he’s so set against marriage. As for Ryu, he’s obligated to cover the marriages of celebrities in his job. However, the volume ends with the introduction of a new female character who’s likely to add a new dimension to the marriage discussion.

Extras include character line up, story thus far, author’s note, and the nine-page bonus story “Nanaryu’s Rude Language.” Also, the romantic moments between Asuka and Ryu in this installment aren’t overly graphic, but they do warrant the manga’s “M” rating.

In Summary

Marriage-minded Asuka seems to be setting herself up for disappointment with her decision to date Ryu. However, this volume depicts her more as the neglected girlfriend fighting for time with her man rather than the one trying to argue him into marriage. There are a couple steamy scenes, but Volume 2 largely focuses on the career life of Ryu the talented, successful (and insanely busy) announcer.

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: Everyone’s Getting Married Vol. 1

Most romances in Viz Media’s Shojo Beat line are targeted toward a high school audience, but Everyone’s Getting Married is actually aimed toward older readers. It’s twenty-something angst instead of teen angst, and you can read on for the review of Volume 1 (For the reviews of other volumes, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Successful career woman Asuka Takanashi has an old-fashioned dream of getting married and becoming a housewife. After her long-term boyfriend breaks up with her to pursue his own career goals, she encounters popular newscaster Ryu Nanami. Asuka and Ryu get along well, but the last thing he wants is to ever get married. This levelheaded pair who want the opposite things in life should never get involved, except…

The Review

Everyone’s Getting Married is a bit different than most Shojo Beat titles because it’s more josei than shojo. The character designs would suit a high school group, but the cast members are in their mid-20s, have well-established careers, and have had prior romantic relationships. And while shojo manga occasionally ends with a wedding, the heroine rarely thinks of marriage at the start. Here, however, marriage is the goal from the get-go.

It even opens with a wedding. Main character Asuka Takanashi is at that stage of life where her peers are getting married, and she thinks her own wedding is fast approaching–until her 30-year-old live-in boyfriend abruptly ends their five year relationship. As such, she’s thrust back into the world of couples mixers and matchmaking events.

Being back on the dating market isn’t horrible, but it is frustrating. Asuka wants not only a husband but one who will let her be a full-time housewife, and most of her prospects want a working wife. As such, her coworker’s roommate Ryu Nanami doesn’t even make the list. While the handsome newscaster respects Asuka’s reasons for wanting to be a homemaker, he declares in no uncertain terms that he’d “rather die than get married.”

The story reads like a contemporary Harlequin romance. The cast is small, and the plot focuses almost exclusively on Asuka and Ryu’s developing relationship. When the story does diverge from them, it usually shifts to their mutual friends Ono and Rio who are in the opposite situation (he wants to get married, she doesn’t). Other than being very good at her real estate career, Asuka’s a rather ordinary person. Ryu, on the other hand, has near celebrity status and a sexual reputation to go with it. But even though they are polar opposites in their views on marriage, they, of course, fall in love. The things that draw them together are kind of weak, but Miyazono’s illustrations do a fine job conveying their conflicting emotions and depicting the sparks that ultimately fly.

By the way, the series rating is “Mature,” but even though Ryu sleeps around and has a habit of kissing people when he’s waking up, there’s nothing graphic in the bedroom scenes (at least for now).

In Summary

Everyone’s Getting Married is a romance with an oft-used theme. Our heroine wants commitment; the guy she’s fallen for doesn’t believe in marriage. Aside from Asuka’s old-fashioned dream of becoming a housewife and mother, the story doesn’t have much originality, although that may change as we learn more about Ryu’s past relationships.

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: The Heiress and the Chauffeur Vol. 1

A forbidden love between master and servant… That theme has formed the basis of many a romance, including Viz Media’s newly released historical manga, The Heiress and the Chauffeur.

Back Cover Blurb

Sayaka wears a crimson ribbon that signals she is at the top of her class, and her classmates all revere her. So when Narutaki ignores decorum and breaks school rules to protect Sayaka, will she stand by him or dismiss him as the school demands?

The Review

When I first read the title, I thought The Heiress and the Chauffeur was going to be a Japanese version of Downton Abbey. After all, Heiress takes place during the same time period as Downton, and its main characters are a very rich young lady and her servant. But whereas Downton was all about portraying the class differences in early 20th century British society with painstaking accuracy, Heiress‘ Taisho-era setting mainly seems an excuse to have a butler-type romance in period costume. The heroine Sayaka Yoshimura might attend a finishing school where they wear hakama uniforms, but she and her classmates have sensibilities more aligned with modern teens. Among the cast is a gaggle of self-proclaimed fans of Sayaka’s 22-year-old chauffeur Narutaki, and one fan in particular practically oozes otaku.

The cause of all their excitement, aside from Narutaki’s and Sayaka’s good looks, are the rumors that the two are having a forbidden love affair. Sayaka calls them nonsense; as far as she’s concerned, Narutaki’s a brother figure. That sentiment, however, is not mutual. Thus, we have a one-sided love on Narutaki’s part, a love he demonstrates by helping Sayaka through the various scrapes she gets into. And though Sayaka cherishes him as a friend, she’s utterly oblivious to his actual feelings.

This work is Ishihara-sensei’s debut series, and the manga does have a first-timer’s feel to it. Chapter 1 was originally a one-shot, and the illustrations are cramped because of all the details crammed in to complete the story arc. But even the panels of the subsequent chapters tend to be overcrowded, which is a shame because I really do enjoy Heiress‘ period costumes. Sayaka’s character profile also feels overloaded. She’s an heiress, she’s lame, she’s from an upstart family, she’s the “Crimson Lily” of her school, she’s ignored by her dad, and on and on. Narutaki’s, on the other hand, is a bit on the lean side for a leading man. He’s handsome, charming and in love with Sayaka just because. Fortunately, his previous place of employment is a bit of a mystery, which makes him somewhat more interesting.

This volume contains four chapters, each with its own arc. Despite their misadventures in those chapters, Sayaka and Narutaki’s relationship doesn’t really go anywhere, and given that Heiress is only a two-volume series, I wonder how far this romance will actually manage to progress.

Extras include an author afterward and the short bonus stories “Luca and the Bandit” and “The Promise from Four Years Ago.”

In Summary

If you’re looking for a historical romance with spot-on details, you’re better off looking elsewhere. But if you like devoted bishounen in servant attire longing for a love that cannot be, Heiress is worth a try. It does have its dramatic and poignant moments but for the most part stays a lighthearted story of one-sided affection.

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.