Title:Love and Heart Vol. 3 Author: Chitose Kaidou Publisher: Yen Press Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 192 Genre: Romance, Thriller Publication Date: September 28, 2021
In volume three of Love and Heart, Haruma ends up cleaning up the situation with Kunie which, honestly, got resolved pretty quickly. Even though that part of the story is, presumably, over, it was rather satisfying to see Kunie get exactly what he deserved!
With that out of the way, what would this series be without any sort of conflict? Gears shift into a multi-headed direction here and we begin to see the makings of more than just a love triangle… we’re seeing a love parallelogram beginning to form!
In case it wasn’t obvious, Touya is in love with Yoh and he’s been doing his best to remain her best friend because he knows that Yoh is in love with Haruma. Despite this, Yoh is having a difficult time confessing her feelings towards Haruma so Touya is there to help encourage her. They even go out to the arcade and have some fun together and that’s when we are introduced to a new character named Wakana… an old friend of Yoh’s.
Wakana is a bit of an oddball; however, where things get interesting is that she ends up developing feelings for Haruma and even goes as far as to declare those feelings to Yoh! Yoh is now feeling the pressure and this ends up causing her to lash out at Touya because he’s been pushing for her to just confess her feelings. This ends up building up tension between the two of them and it causes our volume to end with Touya making a decision… and a major one at that!
I’ve said it in two reviews and I’ll say it in a third… I still don’t trust Haruma. At this point, it’s pretty clear that Haruma only appears dangerous. He’s said it multiple times in the past and even more so again in this volume… that he loves Yoh and will do anything to remove any obstacles between himself and her. Sure, he’s a bit devious but I think the running gag here is that you’re supposed to doubt him but, in reality, Haruma is genuine with everything he’s doing. However, I truly believe that this is what they want you to think and feel. I just have this sneaking suspicion that there is still something to Haruma and we are being led into a false sense of security by just accepting him as he is… a dark comedic character. I’m probably thinking way too much about things; however, I’ve just been fooled so many times that you learn to always question things.
As for Touya… you can’t help but feel bad for him. Touya is a pretty decent guy and the fact that he has to remain the “best friend” when he, obviously, loves Yoh is a tragedy. I say that because I’m sure we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. You find that one guy or girl that you think is absolutely perfect for you… that you’ve known for a long time… and then you find out that he or she is already dating someone and your heart just crumbles. That is Touya in a nutshell and you want to root for him but you just can’t because you know that Haruma is waiting on the other side.
This is another reason why I’m not really fond of Haruma as a character. His demeanor is both good and bad. In the case of Kunie, you are all for Haruma using his creep-level powers to scare him off so that Yoh could be protected; however, in Touya’s case, you wish he wasn’t like that so the obvious best boy can end up with the girl. You know that Touya x Yoh can never be because of Haruma and the way that he was set up. You know that if Touya ever makes a move, he’ll just become another Haruma victim.
In fact, let’s take the Wakana situation. She’s a bit out there but she is in love with Haruma; however, Haruma made it very clear that he was stringing her along in hopes that it would make Yoh jealous, and now that he’s done using Wakana for that, it’s time to erase her from the equation. So, rather than add Wakana as a legit threat, she just becomes nothing more than a tool for Haruma’s own machinations. That kind of degrades her character and almost makes her meaningless in the grand scheme of things… unless there are things on the horizon we haven’t really seen yet that says otherwise.
I am liking the love drama here but the only thing that’s stopping me from really buying into it all is Haruma as a character. Wakana competing with Yoh is a non-factor now that we know that Haruma was simply using her as a tool. Touya being a rival to Haruma isn’t confirmed to be over but with Haruma wanting to erase any obstacle between himself and Yoh, it’s pretty much a dead giveaway that Touya has no chance in hell.
It is almost as if Touya recognizing that he’s just a “best friend” is some kind of sixth sense that he shouldn’t get involved. This creates a problem because there’s no real typical love drama happening here. It forces the pairing of Haruma and Yoh through dark comedy but… this is why I mentioned that I still don’t fully trust Haruma. I still believe that we are being made to think that he’s pure in his intentions and just wants Yoh all to himself… which is basically just any guy’s feelings for the girl he likes. He wants to be the only one in her eyes and sometimes anyone else who tries to get close to our love interest makes us feel jealous and act in irrational and, sometimes, devious ways.
So, I get that this series is playing into that aspect of life and just putting a bit of a dark spin on it but there is just that doubting side of me that makes me question if this is actually who Haruma really is? There is still something more that we’re not being told here. This makes me wonder if Touya actually has a chance, to begin with?
We certainly won’t know more until more volumes come out but, right now, I’m kind of feeling hopeless for anyone else’s chances all because of the forced Haruma x Yoh dynamic. I’m hoping there’s a big swerve coming in the future because if this series ends with Yoh and Haruma together and the whole closing premise is “well, there was nothing nobody could do about it anyway,” I’m going to be pretty disappointed.
For a series this interesting, I hope it doesn’t go down the predictable route but we’ll see.