My Love Story!! Volume 7
It can be difficult to keep a love story going once it gets more than a handful of volumes under its belt, particularly if you (correctly, in this case) don’t want to break up the main couple. Kazune Kawahara (writer) and Aruko (artist) in this volume of My Love Story!! are exploring another possibility, which provides a valuable contrast to the happiness of Takeo and Yamato.
Takeo’s best friend Sunakawa is good-looking, so he gets plenty of attention from girls. He’s never met one that he wanted to get to know, though. Then Takeo finds out that one particular girl has been anonymously sending Sunakawa chocolates on Valentine’s Day for years, and now she’s following him.
Yukika was in preschool with the two guys, and she’s admired Sunakawa from afar ever since then, ten years ago. Takeo takes pity on her, and he wants others to be as happy in love as he and Yamato are, so he agrees to introduce her to his friend. Only she goes overboard and proclaims her love. To recover, Takeo sets up a double date to the zoo. There, Yukika can actually talk to Sunakawa and spend time with him, only she’s super-shy.
For a teen-aimed shojo manga, this story is remarkably mature. No one’s at fault here, unless it’s maybe Yukika for not taking advantage of the opportunities to hang out with Sunakawa Takeo sets up for her. But she’s made him up in her mind into something he could never be, so it’s not likely to work out anyway, and she can’t change her personality in just a few days.
Yukika’s not made fun of, which I liked. Her feelings and approach to life may seem messed up, but she explains enough of herself to Takeo that we understand that she was making the choices she thought she could make. I rooted for her to try harder, to seize the opportunities she was given, but her personality just isn’t right for that. Not everyone can be like Takeo and Yamato, which reinforces how lucky they are to have found each other. I had hope that Yukika could get a happy ending, but it wasn’t meant to be, and better to be alone than with someone merely tolerating you.
I really like the quiet but substantial love story at the heart of My Love Story!!, but taking a break to see one that didn’t work out so well made me appreciate it all the more.