What happens when two teenagers living by themselves are forced to move in together? Aoi Nishimori is about to find out...
Aoi Nishimori does not like Shusei Kugayama as he rejected her best friend’s love confession and broke her heart. Unfortunately for her, she soon finds herself neighbors with him and is forced into involvement due to Shusei’s incapability to cook properly for himself. As if things had to get more awkward, following a mishap in the kitchen Shusei is forced to move into Aoi’s apartment and they have to deal with each other 24/7.
Fans of traditional shoujo romantic comedies are most definitely the target audience and will find appeal in the antics of the leading couple in LDK.
LDK’s first volume is the kind of book that you can essentially know exactly what it is going to be like by reading the back cover. I wouldn’t necessarily call that a bad thing in and of itself though, as if the back cover sounds interesting then there is a decent chance you will at least be entertained. To put it simply, LDK is very much for better or worse a stereotypical shoujo romantic comedy.
When Aoi Nishimori’s best friend is rejected by Shusei Kugayama, she confronts him but is immediately brushed off by the insolent teen. However, as fortune would have it they would run into each other again all too soon when they realize that Shusei has just moved into the apartment next door. This classic kind of romantic comedy setup is made slightly more interesting when Aoi accidentally starts a fire in Shusei’s apartment and he is forced to move in with her. I particularly enjoyed this concept as it helped make the story stand out a bit from other romantic comedies, even though other elements aren’t quite as outstanding.
The focus is primarily on Shusei since Aoi serves as a vessel for the target audience of teenage girls, as shoujo is wont to do. Aoi herself is fairly one-dimensional for this reason, which would be fine if Shusei picked up the slack. However, as a male lead Shusei is basically the same as many other love interests in this kind of series: he’s quiet, good looking, a bit rude, and has zero concept of personal space, something that is taken to a new level considering he and Aoi live in the same room. While being unoriginal isn’t in and of itself a deal breaker for any story, the classic tropes the characters utilize have relatively limited appeal and a more dynamic cast would make for more intriguing plot.
That being said, I wouldn’t make the argument that the stereotypical couple makes for terrible reading; Aoi and Shusei have an appealing chemistry that continues to advance throughout the volume, and the comedic moments that come with it are just as amusing as they would be with more original characters. There’s plenty of sexual tension as well, something that makes sense considering the fact that not only do both teens live under the same roof but they live under the same roof alone with each other since their families do not live in the same city. What it really comes down to, essentially, is that if you like shoujo in general then you will probably find something appealing in the story.
The primary conflict outside of Aoi and Shusei’s relationship centers around how Aoi and her friend Moe (who has liked Shusei for a while but was rejected) handle the situation, with several humorous segments or chapters interspersed throughout the volume as Aoi attempts to hide the cohabitation out of sympathy for Moe. Unfortunately, the story ends rather abruptly just in time for a cliffhanger to be introduced. This was annoying firstly because there was zero buildup whatsoever to the end and also because readers including myself are just going to have to wait for the next volume to find out what happens. Other than that though, outside of the cliffhanger the story is plenty workable for a romantic comedy and Aoi’s relationship with her friend is definitely a highlight of the book.
Overall, LDK felt slightly underwhelming to me personally. Originality is definitely not its strong suit, and the intrigue of the story definitely suffers as a result. However, if you are a big shoujo fan then there is still plenty of appeal to be found this volume with the relationship between Aoi and Shusei as well as the comedic elements of the narrative, so if you don’t mind the stereotypical leanings of the series so far then feel free to try this one out.
L♥DK Volume 1 was published by Kodansha Comics USA in English on October 10th, 2015. The series was has been serializing in Kodansha’s Bessatsu Magazine imprint since 2009 and the second volume will be released in English on December 15th.
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