- Series: Love at Fourteen (Book 1)
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Yen Press (December 16, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316336653
- ISBN-13: 978-0316336659
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,342,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Love at Fourteen, Vol. 1 Paperback – December 16, 2014
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About the Author
Fuka Mizutani is the manga artist behind the bittersweet manga series, Love at Fourteen.
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The tale is about two students, Kanata Tanaka and Kazuki Yoshikawa, who are in middle-school and are revered by the other students for their air of maturity, good grades, and so forth. They are, in fact, unbeknownst to most folks, childhood friends who hide their friendship due to the discomfort that the already too much attention they get separately from others.
This becomes harder once they start to develop strong romantic feelings for each other, and share their first kiss. Suddenly, they are trying their hardest to explore these feelings and at the same time hide their new relationship from others.
The story is engaging and fun to read. The sweetness of their love for each other and exploration thereof is really wonderful to witness. But the way it is presented in the illustrations and actions of the students is both a pro and a con. The pro is that they are written as very much older acting and more mature looking to make the point of why they stand out. Only one other student does so too, as he is kinda having problems with the two leads.
The con is the same part though. You see, the behavior of Tanaka and Yoshikawa is so much more sophisticated, and their looks so much older, that it is somewhat ridiculous. It gets to the point where the two of them, and their friend look like adults and the others (mostly) like little kids compared to them. While this differentiation makes them look different and helps them, it also makes everyone else look ridiculous by comparison, and that was hard to take seriously.
Overall, a fun story, if problematic in the above regard.
The combination of big arcs with intermissions and mini-comics was fun. The art isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s fine. The chatter from their classmates in the background of many scenes is often amusing. And I just wanted to pat both of the main characters on their heads and give them cupcakes because they’re just so freakin’ cute.
My husband warned me that some weird stuff goes on in future volumes, though, so we shall see what that’s all about.
What is Love at Fourteen? It's a light-hearted romance that's part coming-of-age and part slice-of-life. The series starts off with two teenagers, Kanata Tanaka and Kazuki Yoshikawa, who are not only best friends, but the most mature appearing students of their class. They initially think of looking mature as a sort of keeping-up-appearances game, but slowly start to realize that they are becoming more mature, which involves, of course, falling in love. The series primarily focuses on this couple, but later on includes other characters struggling with their unique first love experiences.
There isn't really a deep drama and most of the chapters are stand alone. It's like taking the best aspects from a collection of short stories and a serious shoujo title; each chapter delivers a powerful impact while continuously building on the same characters. Another series that comes to mind with a similar format is Yotsuba&!.
So what makes Love at Fourteen different from other shoujo/josei titles?
1) Fantastic artwork. Because of the nature of the industry, shoujo manga artwork often doesn't look great. There is a focus on the characters, but not so much on the environment. This is not the case here. Fuka Mizutani is extremely talented in her craft and you'll see great detail put into all her panels and fine lines with the character models. From start to finish, the art looks more realistic, and I applaud the author for that.
2) Approachable irrespective of gender. The narrative shifts from different perspectives of the female and male characters. This creates a fantastic dynamic that allows you to put yourself in the characters' shoes regardless of who you are. The story's subject matter is probably going to appeal to the female demographic, but as a guy, I still found myself enjoying the story immensely.
Love at Fourteen is a great series that continues to get better and better. I highly recommend that you try this title for yourself!