It’s business as usual for Raku as he finds himself in numerous unfortunate situations with his classmates.

Things are rarely quiet at Bonyari High. Raku finds himself faced with a variety of interesting situations, from Chitoge’s internal struggles to Onodera’s sweet shop troubles to Tsugumi’s unfortunate problems.

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Fans of the classic romantic comedy story will find quite a bit of appeal in Nisekoi’s take on classic tropes.

Nisekoi’s 12th volume is mostly devoid of any actual progression (surprise, surprise) until the very end with Haru Onodera, but that doesn’t stop it from being entertaining as per the usual. Although the series has been treading water for some time now, this volume remains interesting as it is a mixture of unrelated chapters that take advantage of different members of the large cast of characters.

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Of the nine chapters in the volume, only five are actually devoted to the primary triad of females. Fortunately, four of the five chapters are quite good, with the weakest by far being “Test”, when Chitoge contemplates potentially confessing to Raku. The entire chapter is more-or-less a highlight of the most frustrating parts of Nisekoi, especially the repeating of overused tropes and whiplash when the narrative cuts off potential romantic progression at the last moment.

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Outside of the bad egg, all of the eight remaining chapters in this volume have their own merits and comedic moments. Chitoge’s other chapter in the story, “Search”, is a sweet story about her losing her classic hair ribbon and mostly makes up for the abysmal moments from her earlier spotlight chapter. My favorite portion of the volume was definitely Marika’s “Raku Dearest”, as Raku is forced to take care of her pet parrot which she has trained to say lewd things about her and Raku’s relationship. That being said, Onodera actually has two strong chapters, one when a competing sweet shop opens up and one when she wishes Raku would go out with her during the Japanese Tanabata festival. Both are amusing and the second serves as an excellent character spotlight, even though it doesn’t really add much to her character outside of what we already know.

To put it simply, Nisekoi’s twelfth volume is really just more of the same again, for better or worse: excellent illustrations, amusing comedy, and little progression. Plenty of more minor characters get the spotlight, from Tsugumi’s temporary weakness to Paula’s exposed picky eating. Even Ruri gets a chapter dedicated to herself, which is actually a very quality character progression that steps outside of the norm and explores her motivations for her behavior and her general outlook. The very end does hint at actual plot progression (although it will likely be minor) as Haru might be about to discover Chitoge and Raku’s secret, which makes for a decent cliffhanger.

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There isn’t much more to be said this volume. If you like Nisekoi and can get over its minimal plot to enjoy the comedy and characters, then you will likely enjoy this book, so be sure to give it a read. If you are tired of the current trend in the series however, then you will unfortunately just find more of the same.

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What do our scores mean?

Nisekoi is an ongoing series in Shueisha’s Weekly Shounen Jump, and began serialization in November 7th, 2011, before receiving two anime adaptations by animation studio Shaft in the Winter 2014 and Spring 2015 seasons. The manga is also currently serialized in Viz Media’s Weekly Shounen Jump imprint, and volume 12 was released on November 13rd with volume 13 planned for January 5th.

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