Raku’s beatdown by his female high school classmates continues.
During the festival, Haru overhears a conversation between Ruri and Maiko that reveals the fact that Raku and Chitoge aren’t actually dating. Realizing that she has misunderstood Raku all this time, Haru re-evaluates her feelings for him. In other recent events, a police force captain asks Marika for love advice, Tsugumi discovers more candy modified by the lab to induce love sickness, and Ruri’s grandfather wants to meet her non-existent boyfriend.
Fans of the classic romantic comedy story will find quite a bit of appeal in Nisekoi’s take on classic tropes.
Nisekoi continues where the previous volume left off, with Haru discovering that Chitoge and Raku aren’t really together. Although I wouldn’t call it a ground-breaking progression, it’s been a while since a previously existing character in Nisekoi actually had legitimate progress in their character arc, so Haru’s shifted opinion of Raku was a breath of fresh air and definitely an appealing way to begin the volume. That being said, while Haru’s feelings towards Raku have certainly changed, the chapters following shows that the actual dynamic between her and Raku isn’t actually all that effected, as Haru still behaves very stereotypically tsundere towards Raku, just now she no longer hates him.
Unfortunately, that’s the only actual progress the primary story makes this volume as the narrative shifts back to the episodic comedy that Nisekoi so loves. As I’ve said before, that’s not necessarily a bad thing; if you’re still reading the series, by this point it is likely you would be surprised if there was something other than episodic comedy. The chapters focus on individual members of the cast (with Raku always unwittingly pulled into whatever it is they are doing), and short stories such as the Tsugumi-centric love potion jellybeans chapter and the Marika-centric dating advice chapter all offer the usual fare of romantic comedy.
While I personally haven’t minded the lack of progress in Nisekoi, it is starting to effect the quality of the writing in unavoidable ways. Since characters never make progress, their development by this thirteenth volume is pretty much capped outside of small details, so many of the chapters that focus on the emotions of the characters are beginning to merely feel like rehashed versions of previous parts of the series. For example, Marika pushing Raku into uncomfortable situations in order to get him to act like her boyfriend is funny, but the shtick of the routine has been repeated so many times with little change in Marika or Raku or their respective situations that it just isn’t as funny for me anymore.
To counter this slightly, Niskoi has featured some of the slightly less prominent characters more in recent chapters, with Ruri getting a pretty long chapter entirely focusing on her relationship with her old and boyfriend obsessed grandfather. These chapters are interesting since the characters involved often have a bit more wiggle room to develop even though the story hasn’t progressed, and they are some of the more interesting chapters in more recent volumes. Of course, the ones featuring the main girls are still plenty interesting at times, but these others feel a bit less stale now that we’ve hit the thirteenth volume.
Nisekoi has been stagnant for a long time. Thankfully, this most recent volume began with legitimate progression for Haru Onodera. Although this was the only relatively big plot point to occur in the volume, the rest of the stories within were of decent quality in hilarity. While it is true that the lack of progress makes Nisekoi feel a bit stagnant at the moment, the thirteenth volume is still a decent read for fans of the series.
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 13 was released on January 5th with volume 14 planned for April 5th.
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