Title: Love Me, Love Me Not Vol. 1
Author: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Slice of Life, Romance
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
We have a brand-new series from Ao Haru Ride mangaka Io Sakisaka called Love Me, Love Me Not (Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare). This series centers around a girl named Yuna whose best friend from middle school is moving away. On the same day that she moves, another girl named Akari is at the station and is also seeing a friend off. She forgot her wallet and ends up picking Yuna out of a crowd and asks her to borrow money. In exchange, she gives Yuna a bracelet as collateral and asks her to come back the next day so she can pay her back.
Upon showing up, the two walk home together and discover that they live in the same apartment complex as each other. There, they meet Inui, Yuna’s childhood friend who also lives there, and Rio, Akari’s brother.
Things become a bit odd as Yuna develops feelings for Rio but Rio is the kind of guy that only cares about looks. Inui can’t see himself and Yuna as a couple due to how long they have been friends. Meanwhile, Akari had a boyfriend in a long-distance relationship but they end up breaking up. Akari ends up picking up a part-time job and ends up in a situation with another guy that ends up having a rumor spread about her throughout school. This ends up putting a bit of a strain on her newfound friendship with Yuna.
So far, this has been a really good introduction volume! I enjoyed Ao Haru Ride so much that I started watching the anime! I see that Love Me, Love Me Not has a movie coming out in May of this year and I’m actually looking forward to it. That is how much of a good first impression the series has made on me so far.
The story starts off with a great introduction of the main cast of characters. We get to see their distinct personalities, the world that they live in and the development of series’ main plot. It does everything that a first volume should to draw in a reader but it does all of that oh so well. The story isn’t really deep, though. It’s pretty simplistic but simplistic works extremely well here. Unlike Ao Haru Ride with Kou being a really dark enigma, all of the characters here are pretty straightforward and not as deep but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting. I feel like having simple characters helps the story breathe a lot better and it clearly shows here in the first volume.
Speaking of the characters, let’s get into them!
First up is Yuna. Yuna is the kind of girl that you just want to hug! She’s sweet and caring but she’s extremely shy. She doesn’t have a boyfriend because her view on love is that there is true love and contrived love. She’s saving herself for the right person who she feels a deep connection with. She wants to feel true love. This proves to be an issue because she has trouble talking to people unless it’s someone she’s known for a long time, like Inui. She had a bit of trouble talking to Akari at first but she’s warmed up to her a bit since the first chapter. Yuna does love manga and can’t stop talking about it, though. She seems to have a certain button that when pressed gets her to open up but it seems to be very conditional. She’s an interesting main character and I’m loving her so far!
Akari is the polar opposite of Yuna. She’s really nice but claims that she’s not as nice as she’s letting on. She still goes out of her way to talk to Yuna and none of Yuna’s quirks seem to really bother her. Akari’s vision of love is just talking to anyone and everyone and finding common interests in order to try them out. It sounds like she gets around a lot but she really doesn’t. In fact, it’s this mentality that lead her into a situation at work that ended up being a huge misunderstanding. When her boyfriend broke up with her, she acted like it never bothered her but that was just her trying to project an image that she felt she needed to. She was really hurt on the inside which showed some dynamics to her character, making her not so one dimensional. While Akari seems like a nice person, it’s obvious that she has something to hide and the series wastes no time in pointing that out at the closing of the first volume!
Rio is Akari’s brother and seems nice on the outside but he’s the kind of guy who only likes girls because of their looks. Yuna becomes infatuated with him because he looks like a prince in a picture book she had when she was a kid. That prince was Yuna’s first crush so when Akari didn’t make fun of her for that, it made her happy. Still, it caused her to gaze at Rio each time she saw him but she knows that her love would go unreturned because of what Rio’s idea of love is. Yuna says that she feels it’s okay to love Rio and just not tell him. That’s kind of a painful way to look at love and a form of self-torture. Rio keeps on encouraging Yuna to tell the guy she likes that she likes him but Rio doesn’t understand it is him. That makes for an even more awkward situation and that ends up becoming the big hook for this series… that and the ending, of course, which might just complicate things! Rio is a bit of an odd character. I’m not really sure if I like him yet or not. I’ll have to see how he develops before I pass final judgment.
Speaking of needing more development, Inui just seems like a character that’s there for the sake of being there. We know he’s Yuna’s childhood friend but he doesn’t seem to have feelings for Yuna and vice versa. He does tease Akari by asking if she could fall in love with him but that was merely just to prove his point that people can’t fall in love that way. It was actually a more profound scene than one would expect because Inui single-handedly just disproved Akari’s sole beliefs on love itself. I’m wondering if this scene is going to play a bigger role in the future because having someone just up and prove everything you’ve ever believed about love with one simple statement has got to be a massive blow to your ego. Outside of this little scene, Inui just doesn’t really do much of anything. I’m sure we’ll see more because this is only the first 4 chapters out of a 48 chapter series so there is plenty of time to see how he develops.
As I said, phenomenal start to a new series! Io Sakisaka has done it again in the romance genre and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this will play out! Ao Haru Ride is great so far and Love Me, Love Me Not is shaping up to be something even better! This is Sakisaka’s second series after all (third if you count her character design work on Hal) and it shows that she took a lot of the lessons learned in Ao Haru Ride and applied them here to this new series.
With more simplistic, more relatable characters, a simple story that seems to be peeling back the layers and hinting at something deeper, to just the all-around feel, the first volume surely left a good impression. If you want to check out a series that’s just a simple slice-of-life romance story, then I would suggest getting in on the ground floor of this one!
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This item was provided for review by VIZ Media