My Love Story!! Volume 5 focuses on a large high school student named Takeo Goda and his girlfriend, Rinko Yamato. The series follows what happens to them as their relationship progresses.
Volume 5 focuses heavily on Mariya, the girl Takeo trained when they were competing in the Swedish Relay. For about half of the volume, Mariya tries to hide the fact she’s fallen for Takeo from everyone. Rinko is having fears of someone else falling for Takeo, but when she hears that Mariya told Takeo she “likes him as a person,” Rinko is willing to try to be friends with Mariya. But Makoto sees through Mariya and questions how she can keep this hidden and not have it affect her.
Mariya ends up confessing her feelings to Takeo, and this becomes the first real test for his relationship with Rinko. While there have been other tests for Takeo and Rinko in previous volumes, they were generally tests more of their own making through misunderstandings. This is the first time in the series that an obstacle was placed in front of their relationship through a third party. As you can imagine, this is rough on Takeo, but I believe he ultimately did the right thing in this situation.
The next story sees Rinko and Takeo deciding to throw a Christmas party for their friends. However, the focus isn’t so much on their relationship as it is on Takeo and Rinko trying to play matchmaker for friends who like each other but haven’t been able to confess their feelings. Takeo and Rinko end up learning an important lesson about interfering with other people’s relationships. But even with them learning this lesson, this still turns out to be a cute story.
The final story is set on New Year’s Day, which just also happens to be Takeo’s birthday. While Rinko is looking forward to celebrating his birthday, she also finds herself wondering why she and Takeo haven’t kissed yet, even though they’ve been going out for a while. Rinko does something I hadn’t expected her to in this story, and it’s actually amusing how clueless Takeo was when it happened. It becomes even more humorous when Takeo mentions what happened to Makoto later, and his friend points out what it was that Takeo hadn’t picked up on. But this little event marks a major progression in Takeo and Rinko’s relationship. The volume ends with Takeo realizing the significance of what happened, so we won’t know how this will truly affect Rinko and Takeo going forward until Volume 6 is released.
Takeo and Rinko can both be goofy protagonists at times, but this is what makes them endearing characters. They’re both innocent and naïve, and that helps to make them relatable. I think their personalities and relationships also set a good example for the series’ teen girl demographic.
While the art in My Love Story!! Volume 5 includes the usual tropes and styles associated with shojo manga, I actually liked the character design for Kurihara, Takeo’s friend from the Christmas party story. Aruko, the artist, gave him a hairstyle that looks like an afro. It’s a hair style that’s normally not seen on characters in shojo manga, so it was a pleasant surprise. Aruko is willing to take chances on character designs, which was evident with Takeo, who doesn’t look anything close to a typical male lead in a shojo manga.
Even though the target demographic for My Love Story!! is teen girls, I believe that older readers can also appreciate what the series has to offer. Readers already familiar with the series and have been following it from the beginning will enjoy the events in My Love Story!! Volume 5.
The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media