Hako may not be his officially destined mate, but Io doesn’t care. He’s in love with Hako, and willing to date her in Earth fashion. There’s a lot less concern about his home planet (where he is the heir), and much more concern about making Hako happy. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with the situation. Io’s adviser, Argo, certainly isn’t, and he hunts down Io’s true mate, Tania. Tania is another over-enthusiastic alien, much like Io was when he first arrived. Hako and her friends now understand how to deal with such a person, which makes things a little bit easier. Unfortunately Tania’s people tend to transform into massive creatures, like gigantic apes, and she wreaks some havoc to get Io’s attention. They’re able to convince Tania to back off somewhat, partly due to the fact that Io and Hako’s wavelengths are growing closer together. Tania is really the least of their worries, however, as Io’s brother, Yuro, arrives to bring his brother back home. Yuro is far more violent than Io, and absorbs data by destroying everything around him, which is exactly what he intends to do to Earth. Io makes a deal with his brother to save Hako and the planet – Yuro can take all of his powers for himself, leaving Io essentially human. Yuro agrees, but unfortunately, without his Yupitian powers, Io can’t survive on Earth, and this time Hako has to make a deal to save him – her memories, for Io’s life.
Mindless fluff, but it’s cute enough. It’s only two volumes, so if you’re looking for a quick read, you could do much worse. Likely it will entertain you, but it isn’t likely to leave much of an impression after. Not everything has to, of course, but I prefer more substance. The story does have its moments. Io has matured a lot since he first appeared. He’s no longer obsessed with mating with Hako, but now has patience and is willing to do everything the proper Earthling way. Hako has come to accept her never ending streak of back luck, and even trains her strength and reflexes to fight back against it and protect herself, proving she’d be just fine with a human Io, or without an Io at all. If you’re interested in the side characters, they’re mostly left hanging. It’s suggested by Tanaka in a sidebar that the club President and Matchan might end up together eventually. The other girl in the club is just there to ground out the craziness of everyone else, and has no other impact on the story. Tania grows and learns a bit, and is quite taken with Hako’s little brother. Maybe when he’s older they could travel the same path as Io and Hako. Argo is sort of just…there. Watching over everyone. Io’s brother provided the big conflict and gave Io the push to make some important decisions, but he could have been anyone, really. Io and Hako are the only ones who really matter in this story, and their tale comes to a satisfying (open) conclusion.
Title: My Love Story
Author: Kazune Kawahara (story), Aruko (art)
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 4, $9.99
Vintage: April 2015 by Viz Media (previously by Shueisha)
Genre: Romantic comedy, slice-of-life
A new friend appears! A classmate of Ai’s, Hayato Oda, appears to check out his competition. He knows Ai is in love with someone named Takeo Goda, but hardly expected the massive high schooler to be the object of Ai’s heart. Hayato is in love with Ai, though, and with Takeo so obviously taken by Yamato, he wants to help Ai move on. The perfect opportunity arises when Takeo asks Yamato to go to an amusement park. There’s a legend that couples who go to the park always break up. so Yamato doesn’t want to go on a date there. Instead, the entire gang goes along – Ai, Hayato, Yamato, Takeo, and Suna. Hayato plans to get Takeo and Ai alone, so Ai can finally confess her feelings and move on, but Ai is fine with how things are and doesn’t want anything to change. Ai isn’t the only one to have an interest in Takeo, despite his protests that he isn’t popular at all. Takeo and Suna’s school is gearing up for an athletic meet, and Takeo is anchoring the Swedish Relay. Unfortunately, the girl in the race injures her ankle, and she’s replaced by Mariya, the slowest girl in class. Mariya starts skipping practice, embarrassed by how slow she runs, but once Takeo realizes what’s going on, he immediately offers to help her train. The training method eventually turns into Takeo chasing Mariya to make her run faster. Meanwhile, Yamato is growing a bit jealous of the time Takeo and Mariya are spending together, and seeks advice from her classmates. She has nothing to worry about, however, because Takeo only has eyes for Yamato! A bonus story shows Takeo and Suna having fun going on a camping trip as children.
How is this manga so cute? So, so cute. Everything about it is lovely. Takeo’s feelings for Yamato are so strong he can’t even spit them out. He keeps wanting to tell her how cute she is, but can’t manage to say it out loud. He’s too overcome by the cute. Let’s say it some more. Cute, cute, cute! To break up the monotony, some conflict is introduced this volume. Takeo isn’t as unpopular as he thinks. Ai has been in love with him for a long time. It’s mostly conflict on Ai’s part, though. Obviously nothing is really getting in between Yamato and Takeo, but it’s nice for the story to focus on the other characters. She does move on, in a way, by reconciling her feelings. She’s content to be an older sister figure to Takeo. Hayato is a decent addition to the cast, stirring things up a bit with his energetic nature. He’s the exact opposite of Suna in that respect. Suna doesn’t get much upfront time in this volume, though he makes delightful expressions in the background of a lot of panels. Mariya, aside from being adorable, serves to push Takeo and Yamato closer. Yamato gets worried that another girl, who’s able to spend more time around Takeo by default (as his classmate), might fall in love with her boyfriend. So she decides to “stake a claim,” so to speak, by getting matching cell phone charms. That’s usually a pretty big step in shojo-land. This manga always warms my little heart. And by the way, you can watch the anime weekly on Crunchyroll.
Review copies provided by Viz Media.