Love*Com 8 by Aya Nakahara: B+

Risa and Ôtani are finally going out, but she’s uncertain about how she’s supposed to act around him now. She’s got this preconceived notion of what a girlfriend should be, and internally beats herself up each time she fails to live up to that ideal. It helps some when Ôtani sets aside his natural reticence and introduces her to people as his girlfriend, but he still hasn’t articulated exactly why he loves her, and she’s having a hard time imagining what he could see in her.

Later, Ôtani’s neighbor, Mimi, finds out he’s got a new girlfriend and is furious. The beautiful and tall middle schooler has harbored a crush on him for years, but abandoned hope because she thought he only liked tiny girls. A lot of Mimi angst follows, and while it’s creditable that Risa sympathizes with her plight, the way this new character suddenly dominates the story is rather irksome.

Eventually, though, I realized that her purpose is to solidify the main couple’s relationship. We see that she really poses no threat to them at all, that Ôtani’s feelings never waver, and that he and Risa really are made for each other, rough edges and all. Having fulfilled this destiny, may she now go quietly away.

While this particular volume didn’t focus on the leads quite as much as I would’ve liked, it still excels at depicting the insecurities and awkwardness of this period in a relationship. That’s no surprise, since Love*Com has nailed many other aspects of first love. I’m sure it will continue to do so in the volumes to come.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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