Title: Love Me, Love Me Not Vol. 12 Author: Io Sakisaka Publisher: Viz Media Language: English Format: Physical Pages: 184 Genre: Slice of Life, Romance Publication Date: January 4, 2022
**THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS**
We’ve finally made it to the final volume of Love Me, Love Me Not. I was pretty disappointed with Ao Haru Ride’s ending so I was excited to see how Io Sakisaka would handle the ending to this series.
As I expected, the cliffhanger we were left with in the last volume wasn’t really a cliffhanger. It literally got resolved on the first page of this volume which made me headdesk. What I didn’t like was what followed afterward as Sakisaka leads you into false ending after false ending.
I had to use the spoiler tag in this one otherwise my review of this volume would have to end right here but I need to get my thoughts off my chest. So, if the tag at the start of this review didn’t warn you… then as plain as day… if you care about being spoiled then buzz off and come back when you’re done reading!
With that out of the way… Rio and Kazu announce that they’re moving after all! This is false ending number one because they end up revealing that they’re not moving to America but, instead, they are moving to a school dorm so that they can stay in Japan and be with Akari and Yuna. So, Sakisaka used shock value here only crack a sly grin with a “ah, thought I had you, didn’t I” attitude.
Get used to it.
Akari felt guilty about their father going to America alone… especially since she wants to be an interpreter. Akari and Kazu go out to dinner and they overhear two people speaking English. He asks Akari to interpret and she can’t. This prompts Kazu to tell her to go to America with her father so that she can learn properly. They get into an argument over that and end up breaking up!
Well… not really because that was false ending number two. Here, Kazu said that he only said that because he really wants Akari to be happy and to not give up her dream just for him. So, then Akari thinks about it and tells Kazu that she wants to be with him more than anything!
Aw… she’s staying!
Nope. False ending number three because she then turns around and contradicts herself by saying she’s moving to America to follow her dream… but at least they’re not breaking up! In the end, Akari and her parents move to America and we do a small time skip where Rio indirectly proposes to Yuna by telling her that she is going to be Akari’s step-sister in the future. Rio then just casually drops that Kazu went to study film in America and the series ends with Kazu and Akari reuniting.
Unfortunately, I didn’t care for the ending at all. It’s okay to use shock value in your story but when you use one piece after another after another in close succession like that, it becomes more annoying than emotional. I almost felt as if Sakisaka was doing it on purpose just to get a rise out of her readers. Had all of these issues been brought to the forefront and then worked through, it would have provided a smoother and more satisfying reading experience. Instead, it felt like you were in a car hitting speed bump after speed bump without any regard for them being there. It was a lot of stop-and-go emotions and that disrupted the flow more than it helped it.
Plus, why was the ending so focused on Akari and Kazu? Why did we only get a hint at Rio and Yuna’s future? It felt as if things were left a little unfinished in the end which didn’t sit all too well for me. For an ending to a story such as this, I like a hard conclusion. I don’t need massive details but a page or a panel that shows how everything ended up would have been nice.
While it was better than Ao Haru Ride’s ending, I still felt that this one fell a bit flat. I just didn’t get what I was expecting out of it which doesn’t make it wrong as everyone’s tastes and opinions are different but for what I like in the ending to a slice-of-life romance story, I just didn’t get enough to satisfy me. I’m sure there are those who will be fulfilled with it and that’s great. I just wanted something a little more conclusive.
The journey up to the ending, though, was pretty good. I still, to this day, do not understand why Sakisaka dragged out Akari and Kazu getting together. Putting them together in volume eleven and then subjecting them to all of this drama in the very next and final volume felt extremely rushed. If anything, I feel that was this series’ biggest flaw. There was too much artificial extension added to their build-up that the trigger should have been pulled much sooner. Imagine how much more impactful the final volume could have been had we been accustomed to the two of them as a couple for a longer period of time? Instead, this really felt like a “Why!? They JUST got together!” type of situation and that’s not a good look for a romance series.
As much as I am griping about the ending, I thought Rio and Yuna’s relationship was handled perfectly. I really loved how they came together and how Rio stuck to paying attention to her rather than flirting with all types of girls. I did find the whole gossip aspect a little weird. Maybe public displays of affection are considered taboo in Japan? Since I’m not from there, I’m not fully aware of all of the little nuances in their culture but to have an adult gossip about you is apparently not a good look. Here in America, people will have sex out in the middle of the street and passers will simply whip out their phones and put that on World Star. Holding hands on the way home in Japan is, apparently, 100 times worse.
Overall, Love Me, Love Me Not is a good romance series. I loved the characters in here more than I did Ao Haru Ride. Sakisaka just needs to learn to stick that ending. I’m still a fan and am looking forward to her next series!