My Love Story!! (vols. 1-2) by Kazune Kawahara, illustrated by Aruko, translated by JN Productions, English adaptation by Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane
Takeo and Sunakawa have been best friends and neighbors forever. As close as they are, they couldn’t be more different: Takeo is a boisterous, gentle giant with as large a heart to match. Suna always seems to be the object of every girl’s desire – even as toddlers! – although he’s unreasonably aloof to each one of them. Now in high school, their best-buddy bond is as strong as ever.
On the train one day, Takeo saves a girl from a lecherous groper. Grateful for his help, Yamato arrives at his door bearing a homemade cheesecake. Takeo is utterly, completely smitten as he has never been before. But he also accepts that with Suna around, Yamato will most likely be falling for his debonair friend, just like every other girl.
Yamato, however, is different. She regularly, devotedly bakes the most amazing cakes and cookies and sweets with which she surprises Takeo. He, in turn, always shares with Suna. The three make an interesting triangle, with only Takeo unaware of Yamato’s true feelings.
In between two of the three falling madly in love, Takeo and Suna face their own relationship challenges. Suna’s rejection of his countless groupies is revealed to be an act of earnest loyalty. Takeo’s concerns about his friends’ happiness is sensitively devoted. Between escaping fires, winning judo matches, planning a perfect birthday, the three friends learn to support, nurture, care for one another in unexpectedly complex ways. This isn’t just a love story about a star-crossed couple, but a celebration of all the many ways we share love – between new and old friends, between a parent and child, between siblings, and yes, of course, between would-be lovers.
Exuberant and silly, adorable and inspiring, here’s an ongoing love story with many facets yet to explore in volumes to come, least of all a smitten (slightly) older woman …
Just one ending thought: what’s with the color changes (yōfuku demands lighter hair than wafuku?) from volume to volume? Jarringly different they may be, but this is one series you shouldn’t judge by the cover: color aside, let the charming, engaging pages speak sweetly.
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult
Published: 2011 (Japan), 2014 (United States)
Ore Monogatari!! © Kazune Kawahara, Aruko
Original Japanese edition published by Shueisha, Inc.