Love*Com Vol. #17 - Mania.com



Manga Review

Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translation Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 978-1421532349
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Love*Com

Love*Com Vol. #17

Love*Com Vol. #17 Manga Review

By Erin Jones     April 21, 2010
Release Date: March 02, 2010


Love*Com Vol. #17
© Viz Media

A set of stories that take place before and after high school, this volume isn't necessary to your Love*Com experience, but it's not a bad way to spend your time and money, either.
 
Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Aya Nakahara
Translation: JN Productions
Adaptation: Shaenon K. Garrity

What They Say
The comedy duo eventually evolved into a couple, but the pair had some growing pains to deal with before they met in junior high school...and before they were introduced to their other love, the music of Umib'zu! Plus: join the gang at the beach to see what they're up to after graduation

The Review!

Released in Japan as "Love*Com Plus" rather than part of the main series, this final volume of romcom insanity has four individual stories featuring our main duo at different stages in their life.  The first is a tale of Otani when he's in the seventh grade (the first year of junior high in Japan) and how he first begins playing basketball.  Without Risa present, we're introduced to a new antagonist: a tall seventh-grade boy named Yoshii who is far more successful on the basketball team than Otani.  Yoshii also connects this story with the second one, which has Risa as an eighth grader trying to navigate the dangerous waters of junior high friendship and romance when one of her friends gets a crush on Yoshii, who, in turn, seems to have a thing for Risa.  Neither story is particularly compelling, and the best moments usually come on the final pages, such as when we get to see Risa's first dating sim game experience.  It definitely cements the idea that it's Risa and Otani together that made this series.
 
The third story makes out a little better, as it focuses on a more recognizable feature: the pair's love for Umibozu.  It creates a new backstory for how the two first met without realizing it, and though it's silly, it's also pretty sweet.  The best part of the volume for me is the last chapter, which gives a small peek into the college experiences of Risa and Otani.  It's nothing original or unexpected; Risa begins to feel neglected because Otani has an entirely new "college life" while she's struggling to keep her head above water at fashion school.  Otani's denseness, which is mitigated a bit by a similar event in the third story, causes a lover's spat that is easily solved, and Risa manages to find a friend at her new school.  It's nothing that I needed, as I felt like variations of these problems were already presented and solved during the main story.  However, it's a final opportunity to see the two characters together again, and get a little taste of what their lives are going to be like.
 
In Summary:
This extra volume of Love*Com isn't necessary for a full understanding of the story or the characters.  The main draw of the series--the interaction between Risa and Otani--isn't even present for the first two chapters, and exists coincidentally in the third one.  Even the final story, the only one to take place after the completion of the actual series, is clearly an homage to the original, featuring several stock elements and scenarios that we've seen many times before (Otani is an idiot, minor fight ensues, a resolution is reached).  Yet that doesn't mean that it's not worth owning.  This installment is a delightful bit of nostalgia, and reminds us just how much the characters have changed over the course of the last sixteen volumes.  It's the sort of thing that will make you want to read the series--perhaps minus this particular volume--all over again, which is what a "sequel" ought to do.

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