Big-time ‘good guy’ Sunakawa has mostly played third wheel when it comes to Takeo and Yamato’s relationship, but is he about to discover his own love story!!?
Takeo realizes that Sunakawa’s secret admirer is a girl named Yukika who has gone to the same school as them since preschool. When he realizes Yukika’s feelings for Sunakawa, Takeo immediately agrees to help, but what can he do to encourage the extremely shy Yukika, and is she really the right match for Sunakawa?
Fans of shoujo romance series will enjoy My Love Story!!, especially those that lean towards an emphasis on the trials and results of romantic relationships instead of the build up to them.
My Love Story!! has a reputation for being one of the more idealistic shoujo romances being published right now, and that claim is not without substance, as clearly seen in this most recent volume. However, what makes me feel like the seventh volume in particular sticks out a bit from other recent volumes is the way the primary conflict this time around is handled. While the relationship between Takeo and Yamato has been the primary focus, at the end of the sixth volume Takeo discovered the identity of the girl who had been sending Sunakawa anonymous love letters. The shift to a slightly different focus was an intriguing way to begin this volume, and I feel like it was an excellent way to prevent the series from feeling stale.
Yukika, Sunakawa’s anonymous admirer, has had a crush on him since preschool but hasn’t talked to him at all in about ten years. As you might imagine, she’s incredibly shy, and the contrast between her and her now-supporter Takeo adds a comedic flair on the already running gag of Takeo’s over-enthusiasm. Other moments, such as Takeo’s time at the gorilla exhibit when they visit the zoo with Yukika, continue to utilize Aruko’s interesting character designs to bring out the hilarity in the characters’ interactions and reactions. Clearly, the comedy is not slacking off in this volume, but it’s not the only high point of the book.
The real highlight of the volume is Yukika’s personality for a different reason: the way it shapes her relationship with Sunakawa. As I said earlier, My Love Story!! is often one of the more idealistic shoujo romances. While it is definitely good at what it does, I was glad that a small dose of realism was tossed in this volume when it came to Yukika and Sunakawa. Sunakawa doesn’t know Yukika much at all, and their personalities are entirely different. In this manner, the story managed to feel slightly more cerebral. Takeo remarks early on that it feels like Yukika has put Sunakawa on a pedestal, and while she definitely harbors feelings for him, it isn’t enough for a relationship to just be obsessed with the person. Naturally, it wouldn’t make sense for things to simply work regardless of whether or not Takeo and Yamato ‘ship it’, and I was glad that My Love Story!! went with this idea in the narrative.
The difference between Yukika and Sunakawa also served as an excellent way to re-illustrate the uniqueness of Takeo and Yamato’s relationship and how fortunate the two of them were in their pairing. It’s true that Yukika and Sunakawa’s plot is less than ideal when ‘ideal’ is defined as two individuals clicking and working as a couple. In this way though, the narrative actually added additional support to the ideal relationship of the primary couple and, if anything, increased the sweet romantic idealism that makes the series so appealing for many readers. To tie everything in a nice bow, the arc even reached a satisfying conclusion at the end of the volume, with no cliffhanger like the previous entry.
My Live Story!! continues doing what it does best, with a slight alteration in the formula this time around. The contrast and interactions between Yukika/Sunakawa and Takeo/Yamato makes for interesting reading both on the romantic and comedic side of things. If you want more of My Love Story!!, then you’ve definitely come to the real place as this volume successfully delivers while still managing to differentiate itself just enough from the rest of the series.
My Love Story!! is an ongoing series written by Kazune Kawahara and illustrated by Aruko in Shueisha’s Bessatsu Margaret imprint. It began publication in October 2011 and received a two-cour anime adaptation in the Spring and Summer 2015 seasons. Volume 7 was published in English by Viz Media on January 5th, 2016, and volume 8 has a planned release date of April 5th.
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