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June 20, 2012

Bento Bako Lite: Ai Ore! volume 5

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Written by: Kristin
Tags: , , , ,

Title: Ai Ore! Love Me
Author: Mayu Shinjo
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 5, $9.99
Vintage: 2008 by Kadokawa Shoten, May 2012 by Viz Media
Genre: Romance, comedy, gender bender

[Previous Ai Ore! reviews.]

Huh…I guess I missed volume 4? I didn’t even notice. I don’t feel like I missed anything. But then again, I’ve made my feelings on this series pretty clear. Well anyway, looking back at my last review, Akira quit the band because he felt Mizuki wasn’t seeing him as a man, and was therefore confused about her feelings. Somewhere in volume 4 they got back together and Akira rejoined the band. I don’t really care why. Akira and Mizuki bounce around more than a kid on a pogo stick. The point is, they’re back together and hunky dory at the beginning of volume 5. It’s time for a new ridiculous conflict to show that these two have no trust or faith in each other. Akira’s former tutor has returned, and Kasuga isn’t really impressed with the manly progress (or lack of) that Akira has made since he’s been gone. Right off the bat, it’s clear that Kasuga forced Akira into something unpleasant before, so Akira is not at all thrilled to see him. Unfortunately, Akira appears to be traumatized by whatever happened, and is dead set on Mizuki never finding out. She’s a little preoccupied, though, as St. Nobara is getting a new teacher…and it’s a man. Typically that’s against school rules, but this teacher is supposedly gay. He’s also Akira’s tutor. Mizuki met him while on a date with Akira, where Akira explained Kasuga was a womanizer. Now, already bothered by the fact that Akira is obviously keeping something hidden about his relationship with Kasuga, Mizuki becomes even more perturbed when she confronts Kasuga at school and he says he is indeed gay. Like a good girlfriend, she immediately distrusts her boyfriend over the guy she just met. Wait, what? That’s a little backwards, Mizuki. Drama ensues as Mizuki’s imagination runs away with her, and she ends up accusing Akira of cheating on her with Kasuga. I think. It seems too outrageous, but she really jumps to conclusions and that’s the one she settles on. Akira gets angry (How much clearer can he get than “I love you, Mizuki”?) and tells Mizuki he can’t stand to look at her, so she runs away, thinking he’s just broken up with her. Mizuki then sinks into a depression only rivaled by Bella Swan. She refuses to go to school, or even just leave her room or get out of bed. After several days of this, she finally returns to school, looking like a zombie. Kasuga, feeling a little guilty over screwing up Akira’s relationship, goes to Mizuki and tells her that he really is a womanizer, proving Akira right. So, of course, Mizuki suddenly realizes Akira wasn’t lying to her after all, and hurries off to apologize. She follows Akira to the park where they met as children, but just before she’s about to talk to him, an older women appears and smothers Akira with a hug. A teaful Mizuki blurts out that she’ll try to become more like the mystery girl, dress more feminine, trust him (oh, there’s an idea), etc. Frustrated, Akira pulls Mizuki aside to tell her what’s really going on. Apparently, Kasuga brought the woman over a couple years ago to teach Akira to be a man (ie: have sex with him), but he wasn’t able to…get it up. Behold Akira’s big secret! Mizuki isn’t bothered at all, and now that things are out in the open, there relationship can return to normal. Including a return to cross-dressing Akira, who has gotten a job dressing up as a maid in a cafe so he can save money for a summer trip with Mizuki. Not everything goes as planned, however.

Is this series over yet? I really don’t want to read it anymore. I’ve sort of moved beyond indignation and into the “I’m just so bored with this already” territory. I’m finally starting to see just how insecure the main pair really are (and they are incredibly insecure for incredibly popular people), but I just don’t care anymore; I don’t like them. I’m fed up with Akira complaining about people not seeing him as manly, and yet running around dressed in a manner that perpetuates that. Even when he’s said several times he doesn’t like dressing like that; he keeps doing it. I’m fed up with Mizuki’s lack of trust in a guy that, while kind of scummy, is upfront about his feelings for her; yet she continually reverts to a state where she doesn’t trust him, or seems to forget that Akira has confessed his true feelings. Multiple times. She continues to trust virtual strangers over her own boyfriend, which creates needless drama. The one different, decent thing I can say about this volume, is that Akira isn’t manipulative in it. At least not as far as Mizuki’s feelings are concerned (he does manipulate Rui a bit). So hooray for that. He’s actually not a total ass this time. And he spends time hanging out with Banbi (the tall, yakuza-looking fellow who is Akira’s roommate), who is probably the only decent male in the series. Maybe his better nature will rub off on Akira. Most of the reasons I dislike this series repeat themselves in this volume, so rather than, well, repeat all of them, just read my previous reviews.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



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