Manga Review: Love Com Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: ‘Love Com’ Volume One by Aya Nakahara on Blogcritics.

Love Com Volume One is a manga by Aya Nakahara, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2007. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

Love Com Volume 1
Written by: Aya Nakahara
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 3, 2007

Risa Koizumi is the tallest girl in her class, and she doesn’t get along with Atsushi Otani, the shortest boy in her class. He pokes fun at Risa’s size, and he declares she will never get a boyfriend. As fate would have it, they both end up in the same summer school class.

In the summer school class, Risa meets a boy named Suzuki and falls instantly in love. She also
learns that Otani has a crush on her friend, Chiharu Tanaka. Otani offers to become friends with Suzuki to help him and Risa get together, in exchange for Risa helping him get together with Tanaka.

Over the course of this volume, Risa and Otani hatch schemes to try to get the objects of their affection. However, their attempts keep backfiring, and the people they like seem to become attracted to other people.

When I finished Love Com, it came across as a pretty standard shojo manga title. The only real “gimmick” to this is the significant height difference between the two main characters. The trope of the lead male and female not getting along is used here, and it becomes obvious pretty early on that Risa and Otani are going to end up becoming a couple.

Otani has the typical “bishonen” (“pretty boy”) look that the male protagonist in typically given a shojo story. While Suzuki is kind of given a “bishonen” look, it’s nowhere near as noticeable as it is for Otani. Risa and many of the supporting characters have character designs that are typically associated with shojo stories as well. Art-wise, I really didn’t feel like Nakahara tried to bring much of anything new to the shojo genre. I don’t want to necessarily say her art is derivative, but I don’t see too much in the way of originality, either.

Overall, I thought that Love Com was a rather standard shojo manga story, and didn’t have much to help differentiate it from other stories in this genre. It wasn’t necessarily a bad story, but at this point, I’m not in too terribly big of a hurry to find the next volume of the series to find out what happens next. Admittedly, I’m not in the target market for this series, so that could affect how I see it.

While I may have only thought that Love Com was average, I think that it could appeal to the teenage girls that are in the series’ target demographic.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Love Com Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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