My Lovesick Life as a ’90s Otaku Volume 1

My Lovesick Life as a '90s Otaku header

I loved the idea of My Lovesick Life as a ’90s Otaku as soon as I heard about it. Nico Nicholson gives us the story of Megumi, a 40-something divorced mother who can’t believe she’s now living in a world where being an otaku isn’t something to be embarrassed about. Anime and manga fans can be open about their likes; heck, they’re even sought after as customers worldwide. Her daughter Sakura takes full advantage with buttons and charms and an anime fan fashion style.

I could relate. We’re living in a similar world when it comes to comic fandom. But the majority of this book is a flashback to Megumi’s teen years, 26 years ago, when she tries her best to fit in and hide her geeky interests so she won’t be thought of as weird or creepy or antisocial.

The class president, who looks scary but is also a basketball star, breaks the ice by talking to her back then. She keeps comparing him in her head to manga characters (thankfully, detailed end notes explain the references) but he despises otaku.

My Lovesick Life as a '90s Otaku Volume 1 cover

At least young Megumi has a pen pal she can enthuse and sympathize with. Only she thinks she’s a she, but she’s a he. There’s another otaku in her class, someone who’s open about her interests, who tries to convince her not to be ashamed. This girl, Miko, says

One manga can stir a person’s soul… or even save their life. When something has such power… why is it bad to love it so fiercely?

I liked her attitude, although she was rather demented about it.

The middle-aged woman looking back is a clever way to put a different spin on a schoolgirl romance manga, although I wanted to see more of the contrast between Megumi and Sakura. The framing sequences, before Megumi flashes back, are my favorite parts. Still, with young Megumi’s dreams of romance, and her fan friends, there’s a lot of potential for future volumes. All the memories of what she loves and still tries to hide are entertaining. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)

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