Ok so on a whim a few months ago I decided to just buy a bunch of volume 1 manga that I didn’t know anything about and figured if I found something I liked I would continue it. This has backfired horribly. Not only did I like most of the series I started but I absolutely loved receiving a box in the mail full of manga to discover and going through them one at the time in the evenings. It was like a different adventure every day!
And then, I did it again… This is not a cheap hobby by any means! I should just read digital versions. I really really should. And to kind of slightly justify it in my mind, I want to at least share my experience with you guys!
And this week I thought I wuld share a relatively new release from Yen Press: Love and heart.
Why I Picked up Love and Heart
With a title like that you might wonder why I, of all people, was drawn to it. It should be noted that right now manga is sort of my comfort expense. I don’t go out at all. ‘ve been playing tons of Minecraft so not many new games to buy. I’ve cut down on a lot of expenses and decided to rechannel some of those extra funds into manga instead. This means that I buy random volumes for funsies.
When I saw a title like Love and Heart in the horror genre, I was intrigued!
After a messy breakup, college freshman Yoh Yagisawa returns home only to find she has an unexpected male roommate! Introducing himself as her old childhood friend who moved abroad, handsome Haruma Hirose is back to do a homestay. He’s totally hot, super nice, and always there when Yoh’s in trouble… but could Haruma’s timing be a little too perfect? Plus, the house next door, where he claims to have lived-didn’t the family there all commit suicide…?
My First Impression
Oh, tis is YOU in manga form. Cool.
What I liked
The suspense romantic thriller genre is something that’s fairly common. Aside from You, I think there are like a dozen new TV movies that come out in that style every month. But I don’t think I have ever seen it in either manga or anime form and I really wanted to know what a Japanese mangaka would do with it.
So far the suspense is handled well. It never gets quite so suffocating as to be unpleasant or ridiculous but it also doesn’t ever completely let up which had me turning pages one after the other.
The main girl is pretty cool. She learns her lessons pretty quickly has a healthy sense of self-preservation and actually does get suspicious when it’s warranted and she has a temper problem which is a pretty big clash with all the other main girls I have seen in this genre. Basically, she’s not the helpless bunny type and I think it adds a lot to the story.
The reveals are at times goofy or even a bit lame as is the nature of such things, but they all make sense. There was one twist towards the end of volume 1 that sort of makes you question everything and we’ll see how it’s handled in the future but other than that, volume 1 is amazingly plot hole-free. Like I said some explanations are a bit flat but they make sense, work with the timeline and plot and don’t go against any of the characterizations.
I hate to say this but for a thriller mystery, that’s pretty rare.
Other than Yoh, we don’t have much character development. Haruma is of course shrouded in mystery so that makes sense but Yoh’s friends are really just extras and I think that’s a missed opportunity. There is the potential for a pretty great group dynamic between all of them and it remains shallow in the 13 first chapters.
So this isn’t exactly a drawback per see. Love and Heart is still releasing. So far only the first volume is available in English (the second will be out soon). I’m not sure what chapter the original Japanese is up to. But you see, I feel like I’m well into the story after one volume. I can see it going on for another 2 volumes if you add in some flashbacks, maybe all the way to a total of 4 volumes by stretching it and really fleshing out those supporting characters but I don’t think this is the type of story that has material for much more than that. And I feel like it will get annoying if they try to stretch it out over a dozen volumes or so.
So far it’s really not that different from the thriller romances I have seen. It honestly is a lot like YOU and if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m reading a manga, I wouldn’t have thought this wasn’t created in the US. Again, that’s not really a drawback but it was a slight disappointment since I specifically got Love and Heart to see how the genre would be changed and interpreted by a mangaka.
I have to say, I did get into the story. It’s not really a genre that I gravitate to much. I didn’t manage to finish YOU and I never get really hyped about these types of stories but I liked Love and Heart well enough. Maybe I was just in the mood for it. This is a manga I would happily collect in digital format.
One last note, as I was editing this post (in late May) I found a number of posts that talked about Love and Heart as a romance. That’s what all these posts were framing and reviewing the manga as. I would say it’s a really poor romance. It never crossed my mind to see it as such and I think anyone that went in with those expectations, would be disappointed.