My Love Story!! Volume 1
Takeo Goda is a GIANT guy with a GIANT heart. Too bad the girls don’t want him! (They want his good-looking best friend, Sunakawa.) Used to being on the sidelines, Takeo simply stands tall and accepts his fate. But one day when he saves a girl named Yamato from a harasser on the train, his (love!) life suddenly takes an incredible turn! Takeo can hardly believe it when he crosses paths with Yamato again, and he finds himself falling in love with her… But with handsome Sunakawa around, does Takeo even stand a chance?
My Love Story!! Volume 1
Story by Kazune Kawahara; Art by Aruko
Viz Media, July 2014
177 pgs, $9.99 USD
It’s unusual to get a shojo manga with a protagonist who doesn’t look like a member of a boy band. But that is exactly what My Love Story!! does with its lead Takeo Goda. And it not only turns this trope on its head, but it keeps the twists going to create a story that is fresh and fun.
Takeo is a great protagonist. He is big, goofy and really earnest, making the reader want to cheer him on. He has a sweet nature and is always looking out to lend a hand, even if his hand isn’t welcome. He also has a pure heart when it comes to love: He blushes and his hands get sweaty just thinking about holding Yamato’s hand. He is willing to do anything to make her happy, from eating her super salty cookies with a smile to trying to get Sunakawa to practice kissing with him.
Of course, that is really a sacrifice on Sunakawa’s part, and it’s one that he’s not really ready to make just yet, but it shows how deep a friendship Takeo and Sunakawa share. They appear to be complete opposites. Sunakawa is what would be considered a typical shojo love interest: He is good looking, cool, and a little on the mysterious side. Takeo looks like a yakuza goon, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. But they have known each other since elementary school, and while it isn’t obvious at first, one of the great twists of the volume is the revelation Sunakawa makes that he has always had Takeo’s back. Kawahara plays Sunakawa up in such a way that you don’t expect him to be supportive. As a long time shojo reader, I thought I knew what Sunakawa would do, but Kawahara does a great flip with the character, so that I ended up really liking Sunakawa and loving his and Takeo’s friendship.
Yamato is perfect for Takeo. She has the same innocent take on relationships, and she spends a whole chapter worrying over how to ask Takeo if he would hold her hand. Even Sunakawa’s sister has to agree. She’s had a crush on Takeo for years, and after meeting Yamato, she can’t find a reason for them not to be together.
My Love Story!! is a romantic comedy that shows how strong the bonds of friendship can be, and that falling in love can still be a fun and innocent thing. It’s no wonder that is was chosen as one of YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens in 2015. The art is well done. Aruko does a great job of showing the characters’ uncertainty and sweet joy as they continue to build their relationship. The book is translated by JN Productions and adapted by Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane, and it reads very smoothly, and the voices suit the characters. My Love Story!! is genuinely funny and uplifting, and it leaves you with a warm feeling in your heart.
Filed under: Manga
About Lori Henderson
Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!
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