Monday, June 29, 2009

Review: Love Com - Volumes 1 and 2

Volumes 1 and 2… Are you afraid? Well, maybe you should be! Get ready for some mad reviewing :D

Okay, Volume 1 was the introduction, and started covering most of what I’ve said in the general review. If you skim that you’d be able to get a quick idea and we can jump straight into the deep end of this kiddy-pool.
WARNING: Here there be spoilers. Well, I’m reviewing the story, so it’s like reading a summary, so you can read on if you haven’t read the manga and you don’t mind knowing the plot. However, if I’m about do reveal something SO undeniably juicy, I’ll put up another spoiler warning.

Right. You have the introduction of the two characters, Risa and Otani) They don’t get along, but when they find some common ground (they totally dig each other’s friend) they decide they can get along, join forces and put their backs into it. Risa has the hots for a guy taller than her, Suzuki, while Otani thinks that Risa’s friend Chiharu is a tasty little morsel (this is the second time I’ve referred to Chiharu as edible. Maybe it’s because I write these so close to lunch time?) By the end of the first chapter, they’ve made failed attempts to go for gold. In-between bickering like a 60 year old couple, they’ve spent their time enjoying each other’s company while completely forgetting about their goal.

Now, does anyone see what’s coming? No wonder everyone thinks they’re going out! They spend their time freaking out about the pool and fangasming over the waterslide together. Everyone’s kinda going “Only those two would be simple-minded enough to find that amusing” I’D tease them too.

As they keep trying, they realize Suzuki and Chiharu may have an interest in each other, rather than in Risa and Otani. One of my favourite moments happened when Chiharu reveals that because he’s so short, she doesn’t consider Otani to be a guy. Risa’s pep-talk with Otani just made my day. I think it was great because they’ve destroyed that helpless girl image and had Risa nail him a good one.

SO, Otani encourages Risa, and she increasingly admits what a lovely person he’s turned out to be, rather than some short jerk. I think it’s that tickle in the back of her head that doesn’t become as predominant until the second chapter is over. Now, I would’ve loved to have explained how this little tingle with Risa happened, but I think Laura of Heart of Manga (linked on the homepage!) captured the essence of the first ‘moment’ between Risa and Otani (no matter how small) in her Memorable Manga Moments, linked here:

I couldn’t have put it better myself. By the second chapter they’ve realized their efforts are in vain, and they’re just going to give it up. Chapter 3 is a huge fight just to get Suzuki to confess, which happens just nice and smoothly (Random note, I did NOT like what Risa was wearing when they went to the movies. Is it just me?) Suzuki and Chiharu hook up, Otani and Risa bicker again, and decide to make a wager. Who’s going to score first? Let’s find out, shall we? Chapter 4 is where they start trying. After some weird make-up issues, odd hairdos, a love machine that confirms their compatibility at 100% (Suzuki and Chiharu had a funny moment with that one) and some synced food, a goukon presents itself. Risa goes thinking she’s gonna score big, ends up finding a dog, a bird and a monkey (not literally) AND Otani. Lovely! It’s here that we unlock the source of all fangasm and unity between Risa and Otani: Umibouzu. No, I don’t need a tissue, it’s a band that only Otani and Risa seem to know and LOVE. After karaoke like mad people, they fangasm some more, and Risa makes this naïve little comment about Otani being good looking and just because their compatibility is 100% doesn’t mean there has to be love involved. Pssh. Girl, are you shitting me? Don’t kid yourself :P

At this point, I’ve written SO MUCH and I’ve only spoken about the first volume. So I’m going to speed through the rest. Volume 2! Dun dun DUN! Lovely plot device every shoujo mangaka loves to pull – the ex-girlfriend. Impossibly cute, sweet and nice, she turns up and puts a twist on EVERYTHING. At this point, Risa is playing cat and mouse in her head about liking Otani (“He’s great! He’s wonderful! He’s so nice! He’s cool! He’s – what? NO, I don’t like him!”) and then this little wonder comes along. She looks like Chiharu, turns out she was the basketball team manager at Otani’s old school and she dumped him. WELL. Since I’m fighting to keep this short, let’s go into Tarzan-Jane mode. Otani has Umibouzu tickets. Invites Risa on Christmas. Ex-girlfriend appears. Invites Otani to Christmas party. Risa freaks out about ex (“I don’t like him but I’ll take time to feel slightly subdued and maybe threatened!”). Risa encourages Otani to go and ‘reconcile’ with the ex. Risa goes to concert alone. Risa falls and cuts her knee. Risa on the verge of tears. OTANI! (I just had to put it like that :D) appears. Risa realizes Otani ditched ex for her. Risa bursts into tears. Otani holds her hand and takes care of her boo-boo.

NOW. In the middle of all this, Risa is slowly realizing her feelings because by the end of it, she says “Something might develop” Ooooh you know you want it! However, the volumes not over yet! If you thought Risa conquering the ex was one thing, conquer THIS.

Risa and Otani have been getting quite nicely until a new character appears! Haruka! Some childhood friend of Risa that she saved lots of times because he was such a pussy *cough cough* I mean, ‘girl’ that he got bullied lots. Okay. What does he want? He wants Risa! Like.. wants-wants her. I have to say, comedy-wise, some of the times I’ve laughed the hardest was with all the interaction between Otani and Haruka. It was so beautifully priceless that I couldn’t help myself. Volume 2 ends with Haruka telling Risa he’s going to confess to her soon. NOT that he’s confessing, no no no… He’s GOING to. Thing is, I really like Haruka’s presence as a character because he’s the boy dependant on the girl. That rarely happens – shoujo boys are usually manly and rigid beyond everything else, and the only time the girl would be dominant is if she was some sort of dominatrix, or completely madly evil out of her mind. But Risa’s not, so it’s a change.

After that, then like any other respectable mangaka, she leaves you hanging. That’s exactly those 2 volumes. Wow, to think I actually considered doing 4 volumes in one post. I’d be here all day, and so would you. So I’ll leave it here and you can simmer in all of that for now. I’ll be rolling in with Manga of the Month tomorrow, so watch out for that! It’s a recent release that’s been catching eyes and turning heads and will be one of the up-to-date mangas that I’ll be reviewing in the future on this blog! Take it easy, and don’t overdo the doki-doki moments :D


(Images © NAKAHARA Aya. None of these images belong to me)