Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku Volume 5

Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku Volume 5

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku. It’s not a manga series that inspires a lot of “must read now” emotion in me, but it’s probably the one that I can most relate to, as it’s about a small group of adult friends being geeky and fannish.

Hirotaka and Narumi began by pretending to date, as she was afraid no guy would be able to tolerate her fandom behavior. By now, though, they’re pretty much dating. All Hirotaka wants to do is play video games, and Narumi has been drawing BL. The first chapter, where they feel bad they haven’t done anything stereotypically summery, is one many adults can relate to, where you still feel that summer vacation should be a thing but in the working world, it’s not so much (and it’s often overtaken by events).

Their friends Hanako and Taro are also a couple… and the big conflict in this volume, #5, is that they’re getting married and arguing about how open to be about their behaviors. She wants to cosplay at the reception, because it’s a big part of her life that’s important to her. He wants to be more “normal”. I can see both sides.

Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku Volume 5

This volume, like the others, is two-in-one (double-length), and at the end of the first half, the author’s notes (circa summer 2020) make reference to how the world has changed. So I shouldn’t have been surprised that the second half early on had a virtual (on-screen) happy hour, with all the characters dialing in together. That’s the kind of chapters this series has — each of the group does something similar with a different opinion or reaction. It was a little odd to be reminded that my escapist reading was also copying with the pandemic, but it also made sense for them.

The couple on the cover, by the way, are Naoya, Hirotaka’s little brother who’s bad at games, and Ko, who’s great at them. I like them for being atypical. She’s super-shy and he’s too good to be true. They’re trying to figure out how to be more certain in their friendship, and whether to move to a different kind of relationship. Their sweet innocence is a nice contrast to the jaded behaviors of the older characters.

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