Manga Review: My Love Story!! Volume Four

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My Love Story!! Volume Four focuses on Takeo Goda, a large high school student who has a very big heart. Unfortunately, every girl he’s ever fallen in love with turns him down. 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, Takeo saves a girl named Rinko Yamato from a groper on a train and he falls in love with her. It turns out that Rinko likes Takeo, and the two of them become a couple.

My Love Story!! Volume Four
Written by: Kazune Kawahara
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 7, 2015

Volume Four opens with Makoto’s older sister, Ai, returning home while on break from college. She is followed by Hayato Oda, a guy she knows from college who’s in love with her. It was established back in Volume One that Ai has a long-standing crush on Takeo, but she seems to have accepted the fact that Takeo and Rinko are together. Apparently, Ai was hypnotized at a party and admitted her crush on Takeo, so Hayato follows her in order to find out what Takeo is like.

This storyline sees Takeo, Rinko, Makoto, Ai, and Hayato going to the M.M. Land theme park, and the art makes it quite obvious that this park is this story’s version of Disneyland. Over the course of their time there, several hijinks happen that almost destroy the group’s fun. Hayato is determined to get Ai and Takeo alone so she can admit her feelings to Takeo in the hopes that she’ll move on, and Rinko is afraid of doing things as a couple with Takeo at the theme park because of a curse she’s heard about.

I’ve been cheering on Takeo and Rinko since the first volume of the series, and they’ve dealt with a few obstacles that come in the way of their relationship already. As I read this story in Volume Four, I thought it was an interesting quandary to place these characters in, but I suspected that in the end, Takeo and Rinko would prevail. Sure enough, I was right.

Volume Four also sees Takeo participating in the Swedish Relay for his school’s athletic meet. It’s a co-ed team, and Takeo ends up helping one of the girls on the team who is a slow runner. Meanwhile, Rinko is feeling insecure and wonders what she would do if another girl started showing interest in Takeo. Mariya, the girl on Takeo’s team, seems to develop an interest in him. Takeo is too clueless to pick up on her feelings, but Makoto figures it out and tries to do what he can to discourage her. Rinko has started going by Takeo’s school at the end of the day, and she keeps seeing Takeo and Mariya together. Rinko decides to do what she can to stake her claim. Near the end of the volume, it seems like Mariya is going to confess her feelings to Takeo, but she changes her phrasing at the last minute.

So far, this storyline with Mariya is probably the most serious obstacle that Takeo and Rinko’s relationship has encountered up to this point in the series. And even though Mariya may not have confessed her feelings, I suspect that she could continue to be a potential rival for Rinko as the series continues. There was just something about the last expression we see on Mariya’s face in this volume that makes me think that we haven’t seen the last of her or her attempts to get closer to Takeo.

Volume Four also includes a bonus story that features Takeo and Makoto as kids. It was really adorable, and there was a neat twist right near the end of it. While we’ve seen flashbacks of Takeo and Makoto as kids during My Love Story!!, it was neat to get to see a full story featuring these characters as their younger selves.

The art style in My Love Story!! includes some of the characters and tropes that are typically associated with shojo manga, but there are also elements that are rather atypical. The most obvious is Takeo’s character design, since he doesn’t have the “beautiful boy” look that’s generally associated with the male lead of a shojo manga series. I find this unusual choice to be a refreshing change of pace.

My Love Story!! should appeal to readers who enjoy reading shojo manga that feature a character who’s normally seen as an underdog when it comes to love. Readers who are already familiar with the series should enjoy the adorable interactions between Takeo and Rinko that have come to be expected in the series. Fans will also find themselves following both storylines in My Love Story!! Volume Four with intense interest.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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