Title: Lovely Complex (Love*Com for short)
Author: Aya Nakahara
Licensed: Yes (Viz)
Release Date: July 3, 2007
This series is about Risa Koizumi and Atsushi Otani, Risa is very tall for a girl and Atsushi is very short for a boy. Because of this, they are called the “All Hanshin Kyojin” after a popular comedy duo that has a similar height difference. They happen to be in the same class and people seem to find it humorous to pair the tallest and shortest kids next to one another. Risa comes across a boy from another class during summer school that she develops a crush on and since Atsushi has a crush on her friend they plan to help each other become successful in love despite their heights.
*Puts hands on face…Puts head in lap…Starts crying*
I HATED this manga! Oh god it was awful! First off I think the art style is unattractive. The characters’ bodies all look awkward, and it doesn’t help that the clothing looks like it fits them oddly. I dislike how all the faces are drawn, when they make funny faces I don’t think the faces are particularly cute. A manga-ka’s ability to draw cute/funny faces during a joke is VERY important to me, a face drawn especially funny is the difference between whether or not I crack a smile at the joke. I ESPECIALLY dislike that when the characters blush she draws in a big black circle on each cheek! A blush should have a subtle/cute coloring, not make them look like they have liver spots on their cheeks! The art that goes on the front covers of manga (in general) tend to be the best drawn images…but the art on these covers looks awful. I mean just look at the drawing on the 1st volume above. I don’t mind how this manga-ka draws hair though.
The two main characters fight all the time, and everyone around them finds it endearing and funny…it’s just annoying. I don’t mind an occasional bickering in a story, but it seems like all these two characters do is have fun insulting one another and lick each others wounds about how unhappy they are with their heights. They recognize how highly compatible they are but can’t seem to overcome that he is short and she is tall…what an idiotic reason. Although later on in the series they may have a revelation that they were only using their heights as an excuse not to fall in love, but either way it’s stupid.
Now I’ve only read the first volume of this series but I really can’t read anymore, I’m not attached to any of the characters, and I’m not curious about what will happen to them in the events in the future. Making a good impression on the first volume in a shoujo manga series is VERY VERY important. It’s where you get to know the characters before everything around them starts to whip up into a whirlwind of angst and drama, which may then cause them to say/do things you may not necessarily like. If that initial love for the characters isn’t properly nutured then there is no hope for the rest of the series for me. I happened to be a fairly tall girl in high school as well (5′ 8″) and my height never bothered me even when I was awkward and nervous about most things about my appearance. I really can’t relate to feeling so traumitized over the height thing.
I’ve never been this harsh on a shoujo manga in my whole life. This experience is very surprising for me and may be an indication that I’m getting old. After all I’m closer to 25 then I am to 15 these days, maybe my outlook on life is too mature for me to relate to these characters. Although I’m not sure how mature a childless adult with nerf guns and foam swords in their living room could possibly be…My only comfort is that I got this volume for free and didn’t buy any more before I read this one (I amost did). Also if there are fans of this series out there that feel like I’ve just bashed their favorite series, don’t feel bad because I am by far in the minority in my dislike of this series. This series won the Shogakukan Award!! Not only that but it was licensed by Viz, and they tend to snatch up the best new Shojo series these days.
Maybe it’s not the manga maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see anything redeeming in this series. If I continue to hear amazing things about this series I may try to force myself through a bit more and see if it takes, but as of right now this is my least favorite manga series (ever).