Love Roma Vol. #05 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 0-345-49251-X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Love Roma Vol. #05

By Jarred Pine     April 04, 2007
Release Date: February 28, 2007

Love Roma Vol.#05
© Del Rey

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Minoru Toyoda
Translated by:David and Eriko Walsh
Adapted by:David and Eriko Walsh

What They Say
Love at first sight doesn't always last. But it has for Hoshino and Negishi. They've made it to their senior year of high school as a couple, and their relationship has only gotten stronger. Now that they've learned so much about love "about trust, affection, and friendship "it seems like they're always going to be together. But with graduation approaching, some big changes are ahead. Even though their classes are over, Hoshino and Negishi might still have to learn their hardest lesson yet: how to say good-bye!

The Review
Love Roma is, has, and always will be a comedy-first manga. Sure, Negishi's and Hoshino's romantic interludes may provide a great deal of charmand cuteness, but the depth of their relationship is quite shallow in its portrayal. Dates at amusement parks and fighting over porn videos don't have huge entanglements of complications to deal with. But let's be honest, just how complicated does a high-school romance really get? The relationship between Negishi and Hoshino is, as their friend Yoko put it, a boke and tsukkomi routine who "could make money as husband and wife comedians". Hoshino's deadpan straightforwardness, like nonchalantly letting Negishi know that he is going to watch porn with his friends because he must explore certain feelings, serve as a setup for Negishi's quick outbursts and frequent smacks upside Hoshino's head.

So what happens when Minoru Toyoda decides to tackle a more complex topic like sex and losing ones virginity? He sticks with his two guns, Negishi and Hoshino, and allows the scene to play out just as you would expect. And to be quite honest, this was probably the most realistic first-time scene that I have read in all of manga. I think it would be safe to assume that if one were to look back at their first time, there would be no flowery screen tones or orgasmic fantasies. You'd hear a voice similar to Negishi's as she screams out, "[I]t hurts, you bastard!!", and then smacks Hoshino on the head. Boke and tsukkomi, even in their most intimate moment; and quite frankly I'm glad that Toyoda decided against attempting to handle the matter with drama that just would not have fit within the rest of the story.

Some may grow tired of the routine repeated each and every chapter, but I can't help but feel more connected to these two young lovebirds than most other romantic manga out there that take the more angst-filled, drama route. Negishi and Hoshino do have their own personalities, even if their development across the story was more procedural than organic. Like the volumes before it, each chapter is essentially a sketch comedy routine fixated around a simple problem that young couples in love face, pulled off with charm, a sense of nostalgia, and of course comedy first.

The last volume of Love Roma arrives, with Minoru Toyoda bringing his "love-comedy" routine to a close as just the right moment. Had this story been stretched any longer, the issues with shallow character development and repetitive comedy sketches would most likely have come to head. But at five volumes, Love Roma feels just right when you are in the need for a manga that will undoubtedly put a genuine smile on your face. Much thanks to Del Rey for bringing over this lovably quirky manga.


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