Nao Kogure doesn’t like delinquents. They frighten her, and she wants nothing to do with them. So it is with terrified reluctance that she agrees to date the scary looking Taiga Onise; she’s afraid of what he’ll do if she turns him down. Things start off normal, if awkward. Onise greets her in the morning and wants to eat lunch with her – lunch that he made, filled with heart shapes and octopus weenies. Turns out, Onise is incredibly kind and good-hearted, his most notable act of violence explained away as self-defense and turtle assistance. He’s shy and awkward, but he really likes Kogure, and so she agrees to start over as friends. Being friends with Onise doesn’t help Kogure make friends with her classmates, however. So when it’s time to partner up for the school field trip, they’re the odd ones out. Surprisingly, a girl named Kayo Yashiro volunteers to be in the group, and Onise literally drags in a classmate of his own, Ayumu Misaki. Yashiro is quiet and anti-social, while Misaki is loud and tends to swear when he’s frustrated. Onise wants everyone to enjoy the trip, so he works hard to make an itinerary, though it isn’t exactly appreciated by everyone. A concerned Onise loans out his jacket during the trip, and comes down with a cold, preventing him from joining his group on the scare-dare. Kogure is unfortunately abandoned when Misaki runs off scared, dragging Yashiro with him. As she sits alone in the woods, Kogure is reminded of her past, when her parents left one day to run an errand, and never came back. Someone does come back for Kogure, though – Onise. He comes to the rescue yet again when Kogure’s guardian and uncle sprains his wrist, making him unable to properly run the cafe the family owns. It’s one little boy’s special birthday, so Kogure calls on Onise and his cooking skills for help.
It’s safe. That’s probably the most positive thing I can say. It kind of plods along in a dull way – there’s nothing shocking, nothing super interesting, nothing noteworthy or unique. Just innocent fluff. To be honest, it would probably be a good manga introduction for a young teenage girl. I wouldn’t choose to read it myself. The art isn’t anything special, and in fact is evidence of early career work. Meguro has a lot of room for improvement. Characters are rather lumpy, and they all appear to be drowning in their clothing. There are some nice expressions here and there, and that may end up being Meguro’s strength. I can’t find a lot to exactly complain about. There’s nothing bad, nothing that makes me scream in anger – it’s just…safe. Maybe it will sell well, maybe it won’t, but it isn’t likely to have an impact on the rabid love or scathing hatred sides. It’s a mediocre title that simply exists. The main characters are a generic shojo girl and a really scary looking guy who turns out to have a heart of gold. Misaki, the boy who turns foul mouthed when he’s embarrassed, is kind of cute, and even Yashiro seems to have more depth than Kogure. I am happy to report that despite the love Kogure expresses for her uncle, there’s no creepy incest stuff in here. Kogure seems to be mistaking platonic (or merely familial) love for being “in love,” and I expect there will be some later recognition and transition there. One real point of contention – Why is there an overnight school field trip in the first volume? These are usually reserved for later, to add some tension or excitement to a story. It feels entirely too early, and the purposes served could have easily been done in any other situation. That’s just me being nitpicky, though. I’d put this in a middle school library; that’s an age that would more likely enjoy it, and it’s nice and clean. For anyone else, there are better titles to spend your time and money on.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.