My Love Story!! Volume 3
I continue to adore this cute and happy series by Kazune Kawahara and Aruko. Even when events become exaggerated — as here, where the young couple go picnicking and end up trapped in the wilderness after falling off a cliff — the love between gorilla-ish Takeo and fairy-ish Yamato is inspiring and heart-warming.
Their innocence is adorable. Yamato’s friends assume that the two have lied to their parents so they can spend the night together, but the sincere young couple is more concerned with each making sure the other is happy. They’re so encouraging and optimistic, like a paired version of Yotsuba. Instead of being fearful at their stay outdoors overnight, they appreciate how much better they can see the stars away from the city, and Takeo enjoys reassuring Yamato he’ll protect her.
The second chapter of My Love Story!! volume 3 takes on the classic manga trope of the beach trip. Everyone’s obsessing over what to wear — the boys want to see the girls in their swimsuits, and Yamato wants to look cute for Takeo. The problem is that Yamato and Takeo hilariously freak out when they see each other in swimsuits. Then the couple tackle jealousy, when an old friend of Takeo turns up, and plan for a college future together. That’s also the chapter where Takeo’s parents meet Yamato and go overboard showing how happy they are.
It’s the small touches that entertain me, whether it’s a panel of Takeo looming over Yamato, waving his arms around to keep her from being bitten by mosquitos, or the scene cuts to Takeo’s parents, totally unconcerned that their son is still out because “he’ll be home eventually.” My Love Story!! isn’t like any other manga I read, and I like it all the more for that. (The publisher provided a review copy.)