My Special One Volume One is a shojo manga about an average girl and the handsome pop idol that comes into her life.

My Special One Volume One
Written by: Momoko Koda
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 7, 2023

The main character of My Special One is a high school girl named Sahoko Wakaume, who is determined to not have a boyfriend and wishes the beautiful and arrogant men of the world would become fat and bald. Back in middle school, she had developed a crush on a handsome and popular boy and gave him a love letter to confess her feelings. The boy shared the letter online, and Sahoko saw the boy’s friends making fun of her for writing it. This event hurt her so much that she has decided to never fall in love in order to avoid getting hurt again.

Sahoko’s best friend, Yuko, is a fan of an idol group called Like Legends, and her “bias” member for the group is Kouta Kirigaya. Yuko believes that with how much Sahoko goes on about not wanting a boyfriend or love, it means the deep down she really wants those things.

Sahoko’s family runs a restaurant, and one day, Kouta Kirigaya comes there to have something to eat. Sahoko recognizes him from just seeing him on a television show, and she asks for his autograph. It’s really for Yuko, but she doesn’t say it’s for her friend. Kouta thinks she’s one of his fans, but Sahoko loudly protests that isn’t the case. Kouta makes it his mission to make her one his fans, so he keeps coming back to the restaurant.

But as Sahoko spends time around Kouta, she gets to see that he’s not like the stereotypes she had in her head about how idols and “beautiful boys” are like. These two have various run-ins, which culminate with Kouta helping Sahoko out of a tight spot when she has an encounter with the boy she had a crush on in middle school and his girlfriend. At this point, Sahoko is willing to be friends with Kouta.

After Sahoko sees Like Legends in concert and at a radio show appearance (where Kouta happens to answer a question sent in by Yuko that’s about Sahoko), Sahoko can no longer deny that she’s been falling in love with Kouta.

Sure enough, My Special One is a shojo manga. At least I have to give it some credit for the fact that the series doesn’t start right from page one with the protagonist already being in love with the male lead or falling for him early on in the first volume. It’s not until around the halfway point of Volume One before Sahoko can truly admit to herself that she’s falling for Kouta. After Sahoko realizes how she really feels, she does something surprising at the end of the volume… and Kouta’s response to this was a twist that I hadn’t been expecting.

When it comes to the art, Kouta and his bandmates all have that “bishonen” look you would expect not only from a shojo manga, but from the Japanese idol industry as well. Sahoko looks like an average girl, while Yuko looks like the stereotypical popular teen girl. While the character designs are on the expected side, I think the fact that Yuko, a girl who looks like she could be popular, is friends with Sahoko makes a bit of a statement. Yuko probably could have fit in and become friends with the “cool kids,” but she chose to make friends with Sahoko instead. While this is never blatantly stated in the manga, I think the idea comes through with their character designs.

My Special One Volume One is off to a good start, and I would be more than willing to read future volumes if VIZ Media makes review copies available. I hope that the series continues to utilize the shojo tropes but finds ways to make them feel less like tropes, like it does in this first volume.

If you enjoy shojo manga series featuring high school students and/or idol singers, then you’ll likely find appreciation for My Special One.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media