by Wataru Mizukami; adapted by Jamie Jacobs
published by Del Rey Manga; $10.99 US
Sachiro has just declared her love for an upperclassman, because she thinks he’s adorable in his glasses, but he turns her down flat. Then she moves in with her mother, whom she’s never met , Mom’s new husband, and her new stepbrother … who turns out to be the same guy who just rejected her. But wait! That’s not the only weird element of the premise: The guy, Akihiko, has a bartending job where he doesn’t wear his glasses and is worshipped by all the girls who see him. Sachiro is rescued by him but doesn’t recognize him.
 This sounds more complicated than it is. Sachiko’s mother bailed when she was an infant. She was raised by her dad, who recently passed away. This is explained in only two panels.
This story is full of “only in fantasy stories” elements, and none of these concepts are explored in any depth, but if you can suspend your disbelief, it’s not a bad read. Light and silly, true, but full of good-hearted escapism. The characters keep getting thrown together through suspicious plot devices: a couples contest, a prize vacation trip to a hot spring, etc.
The idea that someone looks completely different without their glasses, so much so that they’re unrecognizable, is unbelievable but a staple of romance fiction. The book is full of teen girl fantasies like that: What would it be like to live under the same roof as the guy I have a crush on? What if that shy guy at school had a “secret life” as a stud who would single me out from the crowd for his attention and take care of me? And so on.
Given the focus of the premise, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that the art is full of huge glistening eyes. Sachiko is the typical “find the optimism in anything!” manga young lady, inspiring those around her to love and protect her. Akihiko puts up with her because she’s the only one who sees the real him under his two personas. For a first manga romance, perhaps for a young teen reader graduating up to love stories, I think this is a fine choice.
There’s an unrelated backup story in which a girl has to clean a rich boy’s house, which leads to her getting a makeover and him giving up his player ways for her. See? Total female fantasy. (The publisher provided a review copy.)