Manga Review: Nisekoi: False Love Volume Five

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. As the series has progressed up to this point, Raku has also acquired two more potential love interests: Marika Tachibana and Seishiro Tsugumi.

Nisekoi: False Love Volume Five
Written by: Naoshi Komi
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 2, 2014

Volume Five sees Raku learning that Marika is someone that he did know 10 years earlier as a sickly girl who he called Mari. His memory is triggered when Marika accidentally reverts to using a speech pattern that she’d stopped using in order to impress Raku now. A lot of this volume focuses on Marika scheming to find ways to get Raku away from Chitoge.

I’m sorry, but I find Marika to be an annoying and manipulative bitch. Of Raku’s potential love interests up to this point in the story, she’s the one I like the least. I’ve seen some later chapters thanks to reading Weekly Shonen Jump over the past few months, and I can say that while Marika seems to have dialed herself back a bit, she’s still annoying when she does appear in those later chapters.

It’s also revealed that Raku, Chitoge, Marika, and Onodera all knew each other 10 years ago and were all actually good friends back then, and that all three girls made promises with a boy they can’t remember and all of them have a key to a locket. At this point, Raku’s pendant needs to be fixed. However, especially at the point I’m at in Weekly Shonen Jump, I wonder why they haven’t just tried the various keys to see if any of them unlock his locket. The real world reason, of course, is that this would bring the series to an end. However, what is the reason in the world of the series?

At this point, I almost expect Komi to troll us all in the end by revealing that NONE of the keys work with Raku’s locket, or more than one key will work with it, or that this whole series has been Raku’s dream or something along those lines. At this point, if I had to choose which girl Raku would end up with, I’d have to go with Onodera.

Speaking of Onodera, she asks Raku to help at her family’s sweet shop one day because their employees can’t make it. Onodera’s mother has to leave, and is unable to make it back before a big storm hits. Raku has to stay at Onodera’s while the storm is going, and it leads to awkward moments between Raku and Onodera. This was one of those moments where it leads me to believe that Raku should end up with Onodera. They both legitimately like each other and there are no pretenses or hidden agendas involved.

There’s something that’s been bugging me about Nisekoi: False Love for a while, but I just couldn’t quite place my finger as to what it was. After my almost 17-year-old daughter read this volume, she talked to me and succinctly told me what it was that I wasn’t quite getting. She said something to the effect of, “This manga author is trying to do too much in this series.” I realized that she was right, but I also found it kind of sad that she picked up on that after only reading five volumes of the series. I did provide a couple of spoilers to her that I know about from reading more recent chapters, and she exclaimed, “More love interests?” I think there might have been a facepalm in there as well. As she was saying to me, while Ranma 1/2 may have more love interests and more complicated relationship webs than Nisekoi: First Love has, the story in Ranma 1/2 is much simpler and doesn’t have the excess that this series does.

At this point, I still soldier on with Nisekoi: False Love in order to fill in the gaps and catch up to where I started following this series in Weekly Shonen Jump. Also, following this series also provides me with a more recent manga series to cover on my blog.

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