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May 25, 2015

Bento Bako Weekly: So Cute it Hurts volume 1

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Written by: Kristin
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socuteithurts1Title: So Cute it Hurts!
Author: Go Ikeyamada
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 1, $9.99
Vintage: 2012 by Shogakukan, June 2015 by Viz Media
Genre: Romantic comedy

Twins Megumu (Mego) and Mitsuru couldn’t be more different. Mego is studious and a major history fanatic, especially when it comes to men with eye patches (like Masamune Date). Mitsuru is a total playboy and one of the strongest guys at his school. So when Mitsuru finds himself failing history at his school, he begs his sister to trade places with him and take the makeup exams in his place. She refuses, but he leaves her with little choice when he leaves in her uniform the next morning, and leaves his own behind. Mitsuru finds himself pleasantly surrounded by cute girls and Mego’s otaku friends (one loves idols, the other yaoi), but Mego ends up in an all boys’ school filled with delinquents. Not only that, but it seems Mitsuru had been dating someone else’s girlfriend, and the guy is ready to beat the crap out of the offender. All Mego can do is run, and she runs right into the arms of eye patch-wearing Aoi Sanada, who also happens to be the strongest boy in school. It’s love at first sight for Mego, especially when she gets to see Aoi’s softer side around animals. Meanwhile, Mitsuru immediately picks a fight with the most popular girl in school, Azusa Tokugawa, whom he catches picking on another classmate. This classmate is the shy Shino Takenaka, a deaf transfer student. Just like his sister a school away, Mitsuru falls immediately for Shino, and after learning she’s deaf, searches out sign language books to study so he can talk to her. While Mego finds herself the third strongest student in the school, Mitsuru finds himself with a new friend, and the twins exchange their experiences after school. Realizing that when they switch back, Shino will expect them to be friends, Mego decides to study sign language along with her brother, marking virtually the first time they’ve actually done something together.

A charming school love story, perfect for fans of cross-dressing characters, love triangles, with some easter eggs for Warring States era fans. The twins have distinct personalities, with Mitsuru clearly the more outgoing of the two, while Mego prefers studying history and playing video games. There’s a sense that they don’t quite get along, or, at the very least, don’t spend much time with each other. When they switch places, they quickly learn more about each other than they’ve likely ever known. Mego finds herself in a ranked battle for the strongest student in school, as well as running from angry boys whose girlfriends Mitsuru has been hitting on. Mitsuru discovers that his sister has two fantastic, supportive friends at her school. Unfortunately, they both shake things up on their first day, and have to quickly repair the damage before they switch back. Mego finds a way to soothe the ego of the boy she accidentally picked a fight with, and Mitsuru sets about ensuring Azusa won’t pick on his sister for his actions. Mego’s actions are more a means of her own survival, but it’s nice to see Mitsuru cares about his sister’s well being. As for the romance part of this romantic comedy, the cross-dressing element is the least of their problems. There are already love stories happening before Mego and Mitsuru interfere, and they create one or two more they didn’t intend. They aren’t totally necessary conflicts, since a pretty major one already exists, but it’s also nice to have something extra going on in the story. Is the book “so cute it hurts”? Well, it has its moments. It’s well drawn, the sign language elements are illustrated well, and the characters are engaging (though there’s not much depth to them yet). I’d recommend it over some others, but I also wouldn’t put it at the top of my list, unless it hits all your shojo interest points.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



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