The school festival is on! Kae is excited about the prospect of seeing her four admirers in costume but the guys have other plans as they each make their moves to win her affection.
Self-proclaimed fujoshi (girl who is crazy about boys-love stuff) Kae Serinuma’s life changed forever when she lost a tremendous amount of weight from depression caused by the death of her favourite anime character. Suddenly, the hottest guys at her school are starting to see her in a different light, but it isn’t all for the best because she wishes they would be affectionate to each other instead of chasing after her! Kae seizes the opportunity to dress up all of the guys in cosplay outfits for the school festival but the guys each have their own plans to make their move on Kae. Later, the boys find themselves a little out of their element as the group heads to winter comiket to pick up all of Kae’s boys-love comics for her.
The story of Kae and her four boys continues enjoyably in this volume as they all get ready for the school festival. The humour continues to be strongly based around Kae’s status as a fujoshi being played for laughs as her desired reality clashes with the intentions of her suitors. Although I laughed plenty of times, I didn’t think the humour was quite as snappy in this volume as a lot of it was based around the boys’ clumsy attempts to make moves on her rather than their reactions to the consequences of her fujoshi interests. However, the overall feel of the comedy remains extremely similar to the first, so if it didn’t resonate with you the first time around this volume isn’t likely to change that.
That said, their group trip to comiket was thoroughly enjoyable as the boys go through a hilarious experience as they buy boys-love manga, and I thought that this the strongest chapter because it channel the fish-out of water aspect perfectly. I also enjoyed that several of the gags were rooted in reference to the personality of each respective guy, helping to emphasize their characters in a fun way. The series is stronger when the comedy comes from the reactions of these boys rather than physical humour (ie. one guy tripping and falling on top of her), and with the exception of this final chapter, I felt this volume was just a little less clever than the first volume. However, the humour continues to be generally well-constructed thanks to some of the punchier payoff moments which perfectly emphasize the disconnect between Kae’s expectations versus those of her suitors to funny effect.
Although the series continues to be centred around its gags, the school festival provides an interesting catalyst for some plot development in this volume. The boys haven’t had their personalities overly developed so far, but we begin to see their personalities shine through more as they attempt to make their moves on Kae during the festival. This is most apparent with Igarashi, who finally breaks the false pretense that he and the rest of the boys are all friends hanging out with Kae. It was interesting to see how affected their collective relationship, as each boy reacted differently in a way that provided a little more depth to each of their personalities. I was thankful for this emphasis, and I felt like this provided some good moments of comedy when the humour would play off of their personality traits.
This volume’s art does the job relatively well, alternating between more detailed character designs in serious moments and simplified facial expressions in reaction to jokes. I loved how these simplified expression were used to exaggerate the reactions of these characters, making some of the funnier moments feel extra outlandish. Kae’s expression were the best of the bunch and excellently portrayed the extent of her fujoshi reactions to things in a vivid way that always put a smile on my face. The more realistic drawings weren’t anything particularly special, but I liked how they appropriately emphasized some of the more serious moments appropriately in contrast to the comedic moments effectively.
Kiss Him Not Me! Vol. 2 is an enjoyable continuation of this series as each of the boys pursues Kae despite her burning desire to see them love each other instead. Although the humour is not quite as on point as the first volume, it was still enjoyable to see the boys out of their element as their attended winter comiket. It was interesting to see some progression in each of their personalities during the school festival, making for an enjoyable scene. Just as with the first volume, how much you’ll get out of this series will depend on your enjoyment of seeing the expectations of these boys played for laughs against Kae’s obsession with boys-love. In the end, those who enjoyed the first volume will find plenty to like here.
Kiss Him, Not Me! Volume 2 was published in English by Kodansha Comics USA on December 15th, 2015. The series has been originally serialized by Kodansha in their Bessatsu Friend magazine since 2013, and is also distributed for online simulpublication by Crunchyroll. Volume 3 was released on February 3rd, 2016.
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