Manga Review: Nisekoi: False Love Volume Eight

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Nisekoi: False Love Volume Eight focuses on Raku, the son of a yakuza boss who made a promise 10 years earlier with a girl that they would get married someday. The girl gave him a locket, and she holds the key to open it. Raku hasn’t seen her since, and 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 gang and Chitoge’s father’s gang. During the series, Raku acquires other love interests, who all just happened to make a promise with a boy 10 years earlier that included a locket and a key.

Nisekoi: False Love Volume Eight
Written by: Naoshi Komi
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 3, 2015

Volume Eight starts out with Raku and his friends helping at a local shrine on New Year’s Eve. The priestess discovers there’s a demon haunting Raku that needs to be exorcised before the end of the year. If the demon isn’t exorcised, Raku’s life could be in danger. The chapter focuses on the hijinks and competition the girls in Raku’s harem experience as they try to be the one to exorcise the demon from him. This chapter would have been more amusing if I hadn’t already seen several stories in this series with a similar setup.

On New Year’s Day, Raku’s friends drop by his place to have lunch. Raku finds some candy that he offers to his guests, but he neglects to look at the wrapper to see that they’re whiskey bonbons. Raku’s love interests get drunk on the candy and act differently, making Raku uncomfortable. Komi tries to make it look like Raku had a dream, but the very last panel seems to show that Raku’s friends are hiding the truth from him. This story didn’t feel realistic, because I don’t think it’s possible for the girls to get this drunk off of eating candy with some alcohol mixed in.

Raku and his friends return to school after winter vacation, and their teacher decides it’s time to change seats. The entire chapter focuses on the members of Raku’s harem not being happy with their new seating arrangement, so the class is forced to go through the seat assignment process several times. The first couple of seat changes were kind of entertaining, but after that the gag lost all its humor.

The next two chapters focus on Valentine’s Day, and Raku’s love interests try making chocolate and give it to him. For Onodera and Chitoge, their biggest challenge is simply getting the chocolate made, since neither of them is good at cooking. While they succeed at that step, they still have to get up the courage to actually give it to him. Marika adds to the hijinks when she chases after Raku with her gift. The Valentine’s Day chocolate story is pretty standard, but in Nisekoi: False Love Volume Eight, the absurdity level is increased with this storyline. Of the various stories that appear in this volume, I would have to say that the Valentine’s Day one is probably the best.

Tsugumi is given experimental explosive handcuffs by Claude. Even though the Beehive intends to get rid of them, he suggests that she might have a use for them. For whatever reason, Tsugumi takes the handcuffs to school, but then decides she wants to get rid of them. Tsugumi accidentally bumps into Raku and somehow the handcuffs snap shut and trap the two of them. I had a hard time with this story, because the setup just felt forced. I also know that a similar setup to this is recycled in a later chapter of the series. As I read Nisekoi: False Love, I’ve picked up on the fact that Komi has a tendency to recycle story setups and gags on a somewhat regular basis.

The final chapter sees Raku and Chitoge going to a diner and discovering that Marika is working there. After they get there, members of both Raku’s father’s yakuza and Chitoge’s father’s yakuza arrive at the diner. Both groups are itching to have a fight, and things only get worse when the police arrive. The humor in this chapter is supposed to derive for Marika’s issues doing her job and from the gathering of the yakuza and the police. I didn’t care much for this chapter, because I’m not a fan of Marika. She’s my least favorite character in the series, because I can’t stand how manipulative she is.

With Nisekoi: False Love, it’s easy to see that Komi blatantly borrows concepts from other manga. For example, the promise with a girl years earlier that Raku doesn’t remember comes straight out of Love Hina. The relationship set up between two fathers, and the fact that the girl Raku’s set up with can’t cook, come straight out of Ranma 1/2.

Nisekoi: False Love isn’t necessarily a bad series, but it feels derivative to me since I’m familiar with other series with similar concepts. If I didn’t have knowledge of these other series, I might be able to enjoy it more. And the fact that Komi recycles story setups and gags from his own series doesn’t help matters. Readers who may not be familiar with series like Love Hina or Ranma 1/2 might be able to enjoy Nisekoi: False Love more than I do.

I may not have enjoyed Nisekoi: False Love Volume Eight very much, but I think readers who actively read and follow the series will like the hijinks and interactions that Raku goes through. The volume also contains the stories and humor that fans of Nisekoi: False Love have come to expect from this series.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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