You Will Fall in Love by Hinako Takanaga: B+

In high school, Haru Mochizuki was very good at archery and regularly made it to the finals of high-profile tournaments, though he never managed to win. In his senior year, unrequited love for his friend and rival Reiichiro put him so off balance that his archery skills began to decline and he quit before they could deteriorate any further. Now, four years later, he finds himself serving as a substitute teacher at a private high school with a strong archery program and is cajoled into serving as assistant advisor.

There he meets Tsukasa Shudo, younger brother of Reiichiro, who immediately declares that he has loved Haru for years. When Haru, who’s still in love with Reiichiro, attempts to convince the talented student that his archery will suffer if he dwells on a “wicked” love like this, Tsukasa claims that he doesn’t regard his love for Haru as either depraved or a weakness and that he will prove it by winning the inter-high tournament. When Reiichiro suddenly shows up at the tournament, Haru must re-examine his feelings for both brothers.

With the exception of Reiichiro, I found the characters to be pretty well developed for a single-volume work. I also really like that they act their ages. Haru, in his early twenties, comes across as more mature but still not quite sure of himself while 17-year-old Tsukasa’s immaturity constantly dictates his actions. I hesitate to use the term “immaturity,” actually, because that conjures up notions of brattiness. It’s more that he’s earnest, impulsive, and sometimes given to dramatic gestures. Unfortunately, this also results in a couple of occasions where he forces himself on Haru, though it’s only kisses that he’s after.

The tone of the story is serious throughout, full of finely tuned angst that never goes overboard. I particularly love Tsukasa’s reaction when he overhears Reiichiro confessing his love to Haru, since it rings true for a teenager with a perfect-seeming older brother to flee to his room and cry, bitterly complaining, “He has everything!” I’m also keen on boys’ love stories that don’t ignore the stigma of homosexuality, although it’s not a major plot point.

Takanaga employs an innovative page layout, full of overlapping panels of various sizes and shapes. On a few occasions I had trouble figuring out the order in which I was supposed to read something, but it wasn’t a major issue. There are quite a lot of pages, though, that are very, very grey because so much tone is used. I found myself yearning for some white space. The art itself is expressive and perfect for a tale where emotions are at the forefront. Too, I appreciate the discernible family resemblance between Tsukasa and Reiichiro.

There’s a lot to like in You Will Fall in Love. The characters are endearing and their genuine love for each other is so apparent that I actually found this to be quite romantic, which is a rare reaction for me. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel, You Will Drown in Love, when BLU releases it in April.

Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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  1. […] companion volume to You Will Fall in Love and part sequel, You Will Drown in Love gives Reiichiro’s perspective of events as he reconnects […]

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