My Love Story!! Volume 10
Too often, Yamato seems like the perfect, quiet girlfriend. All we really know about her, beyond her deep devotion to Takeo, is that she likes baking desserts, and she’s pretty good at it. So it was a great thing when she got a summer job at a local pastry shop. Unfortunately, the star chef there decided that she was his muse and she needed to be with him instead of Takeo.
Now, this storyline doesn’t do much to show us more of Yamato’s personality or motivation, since she’s literally treated as a prize, with the chef vowing that he will declare his feelings if he wins some big-deal dessert competition. And of course, he’s enough of an ego maniac that he’s convinced he can get her if he wants her. This is where, thankfully, the plan falls down.
Still, at least this story gives Takeo a chance to show what a nice guy he is, helping the chef get what he needs to compete in spite of what a win might conceivably mean to his future. And the message, that love isn’t predictable or based on similar skills, is a comfortable and comforting one. You can’t put people together just based on their interests.
Once that challenge, of the superficially better-suited rival, is put down, Takeo gets to work on himself. He knows he needs to improve his emotional awareness, to see if he can get better at noticing how other people feel, even it they can’t talk about it. And he wants to pay more attention to making sure his best friend is happy as well as his girlfriend.
It’s these straightforward, heartfelt discussions of deep feelings that make this series so appealing. The characters are self-aware enough to know their emotions but still charmingly immature about being sure when to say what they’re feeling.
Then comes a chapter that’s much more visually oriented. Yamato’s class is putting on a police cafe as part of a school festival, so Takeo puts on a cop uniform, enforces order, and draws attention. Just as when Takeo works at the macho man cafe in his summer job, this seems an excuse for Aruko to draw him, muscle-bound and bursting the seams of his official-looking costume. But hey, why not put the exaggerations of your main character to good use? It’s a light touch that keeps the story from getting too deep and emotional.