A couple of months back I saw Shojo Beat, Viz’s publishing arm focusing on manga aimed at women, advertise that they had picked up the rights to My Love Story!! (aka Ore Monogatari!!) The cover preview image they included caught my eye because it was a style I remembered noticing at the Kinokuniya Japanese bookstore in New York City the prior year. At that time the art was advertised heavily on the shelf endcap as an award-winning and popular manga. The series’ covers feature a giant man with a buzzcut and prominent lips—that’s the main protagonist, Takeo Goda, and he’s a first-year in high school who is very sweet, if a bit dense. His is not the point-of-view that you usually see in shoujo romantic comedy manga, which is what makes this series all the more unique and interesting.
The first English volume was released in print and digitally just this past week so I snagged it on my Kindle and read through with my iPad. At first the art seemed really sparse to me and it took some getting used to but later on that becomes part of its charm and is worked for comedic effect. The art is done by a mangaka unfamiliar to me, her name is simply Aruko, and the story is done by Kazune Kawahara, who previously did High School Debut. The simple art and snappy writing gradually become a nice change of pace, being able to read something that doesn’t feel too busy or drawn out. All the characters come off as human and likable, even the rivals, and I’m curious to see what conflicts arise in later volumes, of which are 6 total available in Japan currently.
I recommend this series for anyone who likes seeing romance genre tropes flipped on their head. I was genuinely giggling the whole way through reading it and can see why it’s so popular. If you want to briefly check it out you can download a sample for Amazon Kindle before you buy.