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May 12, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: Crown of Love vol. 2

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Crown of Love
Author: Yun Kouga (Loveless)
Publisher: Viz Media
Volume: Volume 2; $9.99.  Volume 3 is available in August, and is listed in May’s Previews.
Vintage: May 2010; in fact, it just came out last Wednesday, on May 5th

Now, you may remember my review of volume 1, which wasn’t entirely favorable.  I’ve been given a copy of volume 2, so I’m now able to give it a second chance.

The story so far:  Hisayoshi Tajima fell in love with idol Rima Fujio at first sight.  He quickly became obsessed with her, and learned everything he could about her from fellow fans.  Desperate to get close to her, he agreed to become an idol in Rima’s agency when he was scouted by Rima’s former manager, Ikeshiba.  Because his classical musician father disapproved of his son entering show business, Tajima ran away from home and moved into Ikeshiba’s house.  When he was finally able to meet with Rima again, she angrily lashed out at him, and harshly rejected him.  To get close to her again, Tajima has offered to tutor Rima and help her get into his high school, which has an advanced arts program.

That leads us straight into volume 2, with Tajima attempting to help Rima prepare for the school’s entrance exam.  Rima works hard, but she’s not used to studying.  Tajima, getting a tad annoyed by her repetitive mistakes, tells her to just memorize the facts and formulas like she would a script.  Tajima is still hopelessly in love with Rima, so helping her get into his school suits his own ends as well.  Still, he holds himself back emotionally, as Rima has told him she doesn’t want his love (if you remember from volume 1, his forceful feelings make her uncomfortable and she doesn’t know how to deal with the attention she gets from fans).  Back in the professional world, Tajima is moving forward at an incredible pace.  Ikeshiba has lined up a job for him – he is to star in a series of commercials for a new dating sim video game alongside former child star (making a come back) Akira Chidori.  The commercial goes well, and he is soon called in to assess his singing skills.

Rima works hard to get into school, but she is still dealing with her feelings for Ikeshiba, the pressure of having Tajima around, and now her mother has disappeared without a word.  Balancing school and work is difficult, but she seems to be handling it well, and her career gets a lift when a popular song writer who doesn’t usually write for other artists writes a song for her to sing.  She is grateful for Tajima’s aid, but things come to a head when Rima receives a love letter from someone at school.

Ikeshiba is back…and is still an enigma.  I still can’t figure out his angle, or whose side he is supposed to be on.  The little rich kid, Shingo Tachibana, is back.  Again, I’m having a hard time figuring out what his purpose in the story is beyond being a little annoying and adding (out of place) comedic relief.  Akira Chidori arrives to form a love quadrangle, the third girl (if you count Rima, and you might as well) to have her eyes on Tajima (along with his classmate, Yurie).  There’s another new addition this volume – photographer Minoru Tokugawa, who looks way too old for his age.  He’s just sort of along for the ride right now, but he’s getting chummy with Tajima, and looks to be a voice of reason for Tajima’s one-track, Rima-filled mind.

Finally, some real, honest to goodness, disturbing, obsessive behavior! Tajima reacts to Rima's love letter in vol. 2 of Crown of Love.

Rima does seem genuinely grateful for Tajima’s tutoring, and she even depends on him as a friendly face at school.  But she still refuses to acknowledge his affections, and even begins to see him more as a professional rival.  Tajima finally shows some serious aspects of his obsession in this volume, right in front of Rima, when he reacts almost violently to a love letter she receives.  Otherwise he just seems like a normal kid in love, so again, the title isn’t making a real impression on me.  There’s one moment in the story where he makes a disturbing observation that doesn’t bode well, where he realizes Rima is codependent, and that no matter what he says or does, it won’t have a negative effect.

However the book is, again, a disjointed mess as far as the story and pacing go.  The heavy tones and inking are not helping the art.  Occasionally there’s some confusing dialog, where either what a character is saying isn’t making total sense, or where it’s unclear which character a series of inner thoughts is coming from.  So the title still isn’t doing anything for me.  There’s just something missing; it’s not making enough of an impact.  It feels kind of empty, and I want a series with more heart.

Hmm…Monday will probably be TOKYOPOPS’s Songs to Make You Smile (current plan, could change), so be sure to come back for that.  That’s a book that does have heart, and quite a lot of it.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



  1. […] Stone on Blue Spring (Trouble with Comics) Kristin on vol. 2 of Crown of Love (Comic Attack) Emily on Fine! (Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page) Shannon Fay on How to […]

  2. So that is how the second volume is.

  3. […] Stone on Blue Spring (Trouble with Comics) Kristin on vol. 2 of Crown of Love (Comic Attack) Emily on Fine! (Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page) Shannon Fay on How to […]

  4. Kristin

    Yes…. I still don’t like it very much. But I was happy to see that he finally exhibited some genuine unhealthy, obsessive behavior toward Rima. Wish there was more of that; I’d be more interested if it was more twisted, but I still think it’s kind of bland.

  5. Oh high schoolers.

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