Love*Com 15-16 by Aya Nakahara: B-

I used to like Love*Com very much, but as I read these two volumes the main thought going through my mind was, “Just end, already!”

End it eventually does, as volume sixteen sees the conclusion of the main story line (the seventeenth and final volume is comprised of short stories) , but before that can happen we must endure more chapters focusing on the supporting cast. First up is the transgendered Seiko, whose dreams of confessing to the boy she likes are stymied by the untimely deepening of her voice. Next, the whole gang takes a conveniently free trip to an unspecified tropical island to witness the wedding of a popular teacher, culminating in a rather immature freakout from Risa at the thought of sharing a room/bed with Ôtani.

As volume sixteen begins, the gang is planning for graduation, but instead of spending the final chapters on the main cast, some new random third-year girl is introduced for the purpose of providing a girlfriend for Kohori, Risa’s coworker who had a thing for her at one point. These chapters—in which the girl (Abe) attempts to break up Risa and Ôtani so that Risa can date Kohori and make him happy—are pretty pointless and predictable, though they do at least inspire Ôtani to dismiss the chances of them breaking up any time soon.

The final chapter of the main story, chapter 62, is nothing fantastic, but still manages to be satisfying. True to form, Risa and Ôtani are late to their graduation ceremony, and as punishment must deliver a speech that devolves into one final comedy routine. A DVD of classmate memories yields further testimonies of love from the protagonists, and everything ends on a sunny note.

I wish the volume had ended there as well, but instead there’s a bonus story about the singer/actor whose first big role was playing Ôtani in the Love*Com movie. It’s all about his struggles to achieve stardom and to get people to listen as he and his buddy play acoustic guitars out in public. It’s exceedingly boring, and memories of Negishi in Detroit Metal City performing the same sorts of gigs—with lyrics as sappy—kept intruding.

Love*Com has fallen a lot in my estimation since its early volumes, but I don’t regret persevering to the end. It should have ended sooner, definitely, and all the filler gets on my nerves, but I can’t really quibble with its warm and fuzzy finale.

Review copies provided by the publisher.

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