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My Love Story!!, Vol. 1 Paperback – July 1, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Takeo is big and manly in a macho kind of way. His best friend, Sunakawa, is handsome in a pretty/pointy-haired way, which means that girls always find him attractive. One day Takeo rescues a girl named Yamato from a groper on the train, and she starts falling in love with him. Unfortunately for Takeo, he is too dense to realize this and spends most of the story convinced that Yamato is really in love with Sunakawa. This event and the subsequent misunderstandings make up about 90 percent of the plot, but then there is a twist at the end that takes the romantic story in a much different direction (avid manga readers won't be quite so surprised). Aruko's illustrations capture and heighten the farcical nature of the tale, to the extent that Takeo often looks ugly to the point of ridicule. In an author's note, Kawahara shares that she thinks the protagonist is handsome, but readers might find themselves repelled or at least distracted by his bushy eyebrows, big forehead, and enormous lips. This is a quick read for manga fans who are looking for a light and simple work but not for deep characterization.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
About the Author
Kazune Kawahara is from Hokkaido Prefecture in Japan and was born on March 11th (a Pisces!). She made her manga debut at age 18 with Kare no Ichiban Sukina Hito (His Most Favorite Person). Her best-selling shojo manga series High School Debut is available in North America from Viz Media. Her hobby is interior redecorating.
Aruko is from Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan and was born on July 26 (a Leo!). She made her manga debut with Ame Nochi Hare (Clear After the Rain). Her other works include Yasuko to Kenji, and her hobbies include laughing and getting lost.
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This charming tale opens on the day of middle school graduation for Gouda Takeo, the burly Judo captain. He is attempting to escape from his adoring kouhai to find the girl he is in love with—A classic confession scenario. When he catches up with her, however, he finds that she is already confessing to someone else: his best friend, Sunakawa Makoto. He can only look on as Makoto openly rejects the girl, in a manner that Takeo finds stunningly hurtful.
As the two head for home (they of course live in the same apartment building), Makoto points out a groper on the train. Angered, our Takeo stomps over and easily strong-arms the pervert off the train at the next station. The police arrive to question the parties involved, when the groper quips that the girl was ‘asking for it’ because she was wearing an ultra-mini. At this point, Takeo loses his cool and actually punches the guy smack in the middle of the face—And with a meaty hand like his, it looked as if the point of impact was pretty much the entire visage itself!
The next panels are of the following day: Takeo lounging around his room eating junk food due to suspension for the violence (in front of the police, no less). Makoto drops by to pass on the notes from school that day, when Mrs. Gouda pops in to announce the arrival of a guest, named Yamato Rinko. Neither boy can place the name, but it turns out to be the girl from the station… And when she enters Takeo’s messy room, his love is born.
Rinko explains that she asked the cops for Takeo’s information so that she could thank him properly. She takes out a homemade cheesecake and the trio eats together. Accidents bring them together a few more times, while Takeo struggles to come to terms with the fact that a girl so pretty, talented and sweet would never fall for him.
But let’s cut to the chase: this series is called “My Love Story”, and Takeo is the main character. I could never ruin that sweet, also accidental, confession scene for new readers, so I will just leave it at that! In any case, this book is a touching view of the oft-overlooked self-critical male.
Now, shoujo’s target audience is girls and women, but there are a few men out there who enjoy a sweet story every once in awhile. Taking a gander at my manga collection, I found a ratio of exactly two male-centric shoujo stories for every eleven female-centric. This is a quite a staggering number, considering that shoujo claims to be story-oriented (a feature any gender can enjoy), but usually only depicts the theme-du-jour from a female standpoint. What about us guys who yearn for a cutesy, dramatic, intricately-woven slice-of-life? There are just not many books out there for people like us.
Shonen, power-of-friendship sagas are a dime a dozen, but you have to really dig through the plethora of manga now on the market to find a spectacularly ordinary story that can whisk you from the confines of your reality, to the hopes, dreams, and desires of someone in another place. And when this occurs, we start to realize how similar we all truly are. Because when it comes down to it, we have all traipsed through feelings of inferiority or unworthiness at one point or another. These darker times are part of what makes us human; our experiences build us into the complex people who we are today. In this series, there are some brilliant moments brimming with unanticipated optimism, and the first volume of “My Love Story” does a truly marvelous job of encapsulating a turning point in Gouda Takeo’s life.
(And for a similar series, just with two guys instead of a guy and a girl, check out His Favorite.)
As of this volume, we haven't seen much of the pair together, but honestly, these two are adorable. Both characters are heartwarming innocent, and all of the supporting characters are super likeable as well. Also so far, the manga hasn't dragged, and its nicely paced. Things move quickly, but not in a confusing manner.
So far,I strongly recommend this series to anybody who likes shojo manga. It's refreshing, charming, and overall enjoyable. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up!