Romantic Killer Volume One is a full-color manga that won first place in Shonen Jump’s 2nd Vertical Scroll Manga Award.

Romantic Killer Volume One
Written by: Wataru Momose
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 4, 2022

The main character of Romantic Killer is Anzu Hoshino, a first-year high school student who’s more interested in playing video games, eating chocolate, and her cat than in relationships with boys. One day, a magical creature transports Anzu to an altered reality where she no longer has access to her games, chocolate, or to her cat. The magical creature sets her up with a life right out of a shojo manga, which includes finding a way for her to live alone and to encounter a “hot guy” that she can start getting to know.

The “hot guy” is a transfer student named Tsukasa Kazuki, and he has girls fawning over him… but he’s not interested in any of them. Anzu keeps having run-ins with Tsukasa, which are caused by the magical being’s interference. It gets to the point where Tsukasa has to stay the night at Anzu’s, because the magical creature is manipulating the weather. But during that time, Anzu finds herself starting to feel comfortable around Tsukasa and thinks they could start becoming friends.

Well, the magical creature has taken things a step further, and has caused massive flooding at Tsukasa’s apartment, and nothing new is available for a month. Which, of course, means that Tsukasa is stuck staying at Anzu’s place. Things are awkward until Tsukasa says he’s not interested in romance, and Anzu thinks she’s beaten the magical creature. But, right at the end of the volume, the magical creature creates a previously non-existent male childhood friend for Anzu who has a crush on her. And thus begins a “reverse harem.”

While this story may be on the fantastical side, I do have to give Momose credit for the setup as to why this is happening to Anzu. It involves the innocence of human children’s hearts as an important energy source for the magical creature’s world, and since Japan has been suffering from a declining birthrate, the Japanese branch is having energy shortages. The magical creature is in the middle of a project to make people like Anzu (who prioritize their hobbies are careers) fall in love to help increase the birthrate. I thought this was an interesting way to incorporate a societal issue in Japan into a manga.

I also liked Tsukasa’s portrayal of being cold and distant, but not because he’s a jerk. It’s due to the girls who keep trying to hang around him and him trying to get rid of them. Unfortunately, they don’t take the hint. But as he spends time with Anzu, he lowers that cold façade around her. By the end of this volume, I don’t think he’s become interested in her romantically, but that could possibly change with the addition of Junta Hayami, the “childhood friend.” Of course, since Junta was introduced at the end of this volume, it begs the question of whether or not we’ll see the magical creature add any more “hot guys” into the mix in future volumes of the series.

Romantic Killer is done in a comedic way, and it’s a nice light-hearted manga that you don’t have to think too much about as you read it. In some respects, the art isn’t quite as strong as it could be, but the fact that this title is in full-color helps to blunt some of that criticism. I also thought it was an interesting visual choice to give Anzu male-leaning facial features whenever she feels cocky in her interactions with Tsukasa.

This series has an interesting concept behind it, even if it comes off as a little goofy and fantastical at times. However, I’d be more than happy to read future volumes of the series if VIZ Media makes digital review copies available for them, because I’m genuinely curious to see how this story progresses. According to the publisher’s writeup about the series in the back of the volume, there are only four volumes of Romantic Killer, so it seems like there’s the potential for the concept to not get run into the ground and become stale.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media