Raku Ichijo, a high school boy from a yakuza family, made a promise 10 years earlier with a girl he knew then that they would get married someday. He has a locket that the girl gave him, and she has the key that will open the locket. Unfortunately, he hasn’t seen this girl since, and he has no memory of her name or what she looked like. He has a crush on a girl named Kosaki Onodera, but he is having to pretend to date Chitoge Kirisaki in order to keep the peace between his father’s yakuza gang and Chitoge’s father’s gang.

Nisekoi: False Love Volume Two
Written by: Naoshi Komi
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 4, 2014

Volume Two sees Ruri believing that Raku and Chitoge’s relationship is false, and plotting ways to try to get Raku and Onodera alone. Ruri has figured out Raku and Onodera like each other. First, she arranges to have all of their friends get together at Raku’s place as a study group and trying to force Raku to tutor Onodera. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out as Ruri plans. It doesn’t help that the yakuza members trick Raku and Chitoge into going into a storeroom and locking them in it. When the others find them, everyone gets the wrong idea of what they see.

Next, Ruri signs Chitoge and Onodera up to help out the girls’ swim team for a match because they’re short members. Onodera doesn’t know how to swim, so Ruri invites Raku to help teach her how to swim in one day. Chitoge tries to help out, but it causes problems. Raku isn’t able to do much to help Onodera, but she enters the competition anyway. However, it turns out someone else starts to drown instead, and it’s up to Raku to save her.

Chitoge also becomes friends with Ruri and Onodera in Volume Two, and she admits to them that she and Raku aren’t really dating. Ruri tries to push Onodera to confess her feelings to Raku. She almost does, but something happens to ruin the moment.

The vast majority of Volume Two has a strong focus on Onodera and her feelings for Raku. Ruri also plays a major role, but unfortunately, her various schemes backfire on her. The overarching story of the locket and key gets mentioned during the chapters devoted to the swimming competition when Raku notices Onodera’s key and wonders if it fits his locket. Later, the locket falls off of Raku’s neck, and Chitoge finds it. She remembers the promise she made 10 years ago and the words she said, but not who she said them to. When Raku gets his locket back, he thinks about the promise he made as well.

Near the end of the volume, a new character named Seishiro Tsugumi is introduced, and they are a disciple of Chitoge’s main bodyguard, Claude. Tsugumi has been given a mission to assassinate Raku.

Between the three volumes of Nisekoi: False Love that I’ve read at this point and the chapters I’ve read in Weekly Shonen Jump, the focus of this series is on the harem that develops around Raku, and the overarching story is more like a thread that ties these various vignettes together rather than a true plot in its own right. I’m a lot further into the series in Weekly Shonen Jump, and very little progress has truly been made in regards to the locket and promise portion of the story. I have a feeling that when Komi is at a point where he knows the series is coming to an end, there will be major progression on that front.

At this point, I see many of the characters in Nisekoi: False Love more as “character types” than as actual characters. In some respects, knowing what comes later pretty much confirms that belief for me. There really doesn’t seem to have been a whole lot in the way of character progression between these early chapters and the more recent chapters of the series.

Again, it’s not that Nisekoi: False Love is a bad series, but I just have a lot of a “been there, done that” feeling due to the manga I’ve already read and the anime I’ve already seen that have similar ideas, themes, and tropes in them. And, personally, I think the series I’ve already read and seen that use similar ideas and tropes used them a bit better. Readers who haven’t experienced Ranma 1/2 and Love Hina before reading Nisekoi: False Love will probably be able to have a better appreciation for this series.

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