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 has 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 Three
Written by: Naoshi Komi
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 6, 2014

Volume Three opens with it coming out that Tsugumi is really a girl, both to Raku and to the rest of the students at the school. I knew that Raku had learned the truth at the end of Volume Two, but I was relieved to see that the others learned the truth about Tsugumi’s gender in this volume. I was afraid that Tsugumi would try to keep her gender hidden from the others for a little while. Even though I know from reading the more recent chapters of the series in Weekly Shonen Jump that this fact was common knowledge, I had no idea how long Tsugumi had managed to keep this fact secret.

Tsugumi ends up being a major focus of the volume at the beginning. In addition to Tsugumi’s gender being revealed, she comes to realize that she has developed feelings for Raku. At first, she’s really clueless about what her feelings mean, and even Chitoge can’t figure it out from the clues that Tsugumi gives her. Of course, when Tsugumi figures out that she likes Raku, it drives her absolutely crazy. Not only is he supposedly dating her mistress, Chitoge, she’s also been assigned by Claude to assassinate Raku. Maybe it’s just me, but her change of heart seems to be a little on the abrupt side. I’d probably buy this a little better if maybe there had been a little more time in between the challenge she gave to Raku failing and when she develops feelings for Raku.

There’s a one chapter story where Raku comes down with a cold, and both Chitoge and Onodera come over to look in on Raku and take care of him. This is a humorous chapter, which focuses on both Chitoge and Onodera trying to make rice porridge for Raku to eat to help him feel better. Overall, I thought this chapter was essentially “time kill” before Komi was ready to move on to the next storyline. The reader already knows that neither of these girls can cook, and having this knowledge lessened the humor of this chapter for me.

Volume Three also sees a little more development for the whole promise and locket storyline, when Chitoge finds a diary she wrote when she was five years old. In it, she talks about the boy she had a crush on, but only refers to him as “you-know-who,” the fact he got a scar when he saved her from a big dog, as well as needing to make a promise. Unfortunately, five-year-old Chitoge never wrote down what the promise was. She also finds a key on a string inside the diary. A little later in the story, Chitoge discovers that Raku has a scar where “you-know-who” got one after taking on the big dog. Maybe it’s just me, but ‘’m really getting the feeling that the story is being set up where Chitoge will ultimately be the girl that Raku made the promise with 10 years earlier. There’s already been two hints dropped that really make it seem like this would be the case. And from what I’ve read in Weekly Shonen Jump, I haven’t seen any clues that point in anyone else’s direction as blatantly as these clues do. If it turns out that my guess is right, then it’ll be disappointing that the truth could be figured out this early on in the series.

The remainder of Volume Three focuses on a school trip that Raku and the others take, and there are two plot points that happen here. First, Claude sneaks in and tricks Raku into going into the girls’ bath at the hot spring. Chitoge is the first one in and she tries to help Raku get out before the other girls find him. This is done for comedic effect rather than for drama. It works well for what Komi is trying to achieve, even if I didn’t personally care for it.

The last story in this volume focuses on a test of courage that takes place during the school trip. Onodera hopes it’s a chance for her to be able to get close to Raku, but something happens to foil her plan and Raku ends up being pushed a little closer to Chitoge. Raku finds himself in situations with Chitoge quite a bit. To me, this is just another indicator that Chitoge is most likely going to end up being the one that Raku had made the promise with 10 years ago.

Of the volumes and chapters of Nisekoi: False Love that I’ve read up to this point, this one didn’t evoke as much of the Ranma 1/2 comparisons that I’ve pointed out before. The whole promise made 10 years ago plot is relevant in this volume, so I still see the Love Hina influence in this volume. But readers who have read the first two volumes of Nisekoi: False Love and enjoyed them should also enjoy the stories that appear in Volume Three.

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