by Ema Toyama
published by Kodansha Comics; $10.99 US
This installment of the series wasn’t as interesting for me as the first book, but I’m not giving up on it yet. Missions of Love is settling into its groove. Without having to introduce the characters and premise, the events become more typical, without the emphasis on odd elements that made the previous volume grab me.
Yukina blackmails Shigure into acting as her boyfriend. He goes along with it, but since he’s learned her weakness, he tries to teach her a lesson by ditching her in a crowd without her glasses (which serve as a kind of wall of protection for her). The two continue to turn the tables on each other by concealing how they feel, while they end up in situations that show the reader otherwise, using common conventions of the genre.
This was a fast read for me. So many of the pages have only three or four panels that it’s easy to move very quickly through what’s going on. The art works well for the content, but most of the time it’s just faces, without any distinctive flourishes or details that make it stand out or worth spending more time on.
This is a very serviceable manga volume. It provides the expected in a satisfactory fashion without doing more or setting itself apart from many other series. The theme, about how you can’t order someone into loving you, is obvious, but there’s a certain appeal to seeing Yukina discover it, even if it does take her from self-controlled woman who knows what she wants to simpering girl discovering romance for the first time.
I appreciate how the publisher included an introductory page with the characters and story so far; it’s a help in refreshing my memory of what’s going on without having to reread the first book. I also liked all the extras at the end, including a couple of translation notes and a short illustrated author’s essay.