Manga Review: My Love Story!! Volume One

My Love Story!! Volume One is a manga written by Kazune Kawahara and illustrated by Aruko, and it was published by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

My Love Story!! Volume 1
Written by: Kazune Kawahara
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 1, 2014

The main character of My Love Story!! Is a boy named Takeo Goda. He’s a very big high school student, but he’s also got a very big heart. His best friend is Makoto Sunakawa, who’s very popular with the girls but always seems to turn them down when they ask him out.

One day while Takeo and Makoto are taking the train, Takeo notices a guy who looks like he’s about to grab a girl’s butt and he intervenes. Takeo takes the groper off at the next stop, and Makoto and the girl come with them. When the groper says something offensive to the girl, Takeo punches him in the face. Unfortunately, a cop was there, so he ends up being suspended from school.

One day while Takeo is at home, the girl (Rinko Yamato) comes to Takeo’s house to thank him for his help. Takeo realizes that he’s in love with her. Rinko accidentally leaves her phone there, and she calls from a payphone, and they arrange to meet up so he can get it back to her. Rinko keeps contacting Takeo to offer him treats that she’s made, and he always brings Makoto along, thinking that Rinko likes Makoto. But Takeo is very surprised when Makoto tells him that Rinko’s in love with Takeo, and the two of them become a couple by the end of the volume.

But there’s potential for trouble when Makoto’s older sister, who’s had feelings for Takeo for several years, becomes jealous upon hearing that Takeo now has a girlfriend. Also, it appears that Rinko hasn’t entirely been upfront and honest with Takeo about something…

I got a preview of My Love Story!! when Weekly Shonen Jump ran a preview chapter in the issue that was released on June 16, 2014. After reading that preview, I thought that on the one hand, it kind of felt like there’s a typical shojo story setup. However, I could also see potential for the story to become something more than a typical story. I also found myself really liking Takeo by the end of the preview.

Now that I’ve read the entirety of Volume One, it appears my perceptions weren’t too far off. After reading that preview, I never would have guessed that Takeo had had a secret admirer for years; even if I had, I never would have guessed that it would have been his best friend’s older sister.

Getting to see Takeo even more than I had in the preview chapter, I came to like him even more. He’s a nice guy, but can be clueless when it comes to girls; however, this cluelessness helps to make him a rather sweet guy and a relatable character.

I also have to say I’ve been enjoying Aruko’s art style. While some of the characters and tropes fall into the typical shojo category, there are other elements that don’t; the most obvious of these elements is the design of Takeo. He doesn’t have the “beautiful boy” look that is generally associated with the male lead of a shojo manga series, and I find this to be a refreshing change of pace.

Volume One gets the series off to a strong start, and I’m hoping future volumes of the series will continue to keep these characters as endearing as they are now, as well as to keep the story intriguing enough to make readers want to continue reading the series. I hope this doesn’t end up becoming a series that has a strong start but then falters and loses steam as it progresses, because I really see a lot of potential for these characters and their story.

After reading Volume One, I would recommend My Love Story!! to readers who enjoy reading shojo manga that feature a character who’s normally seen as an underdog when it comes to love.

I wrote this review after reading a review copy of My Love Story!! Volume One that was provided to me by VIZ Media.

Additional posts about My Love Story!!:

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