Susan's Reviews > Love*Com (Lovely*Complex), Volume 1

Love*Com (Lovely*Complex), Volume 1 by Aya Nakahara
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Oct 19, 08

bookshelves: manga-graphic-novels
Read in October, 2008

This is honestly one of the few Shojo series I've developed a genuine affection for. Risa Koizume, The tallest girl in school, and Atsushi Otani, the shortest guy, are constantly and unwillingly paired together (occasionally by chance but mainly due to nudges from their amused classmates, mutual friends even a teacher). The general amusement stems from Koizume and Otani's circumstantial resemblance to a Japanese comedy duo whose entire shtick revolves around a height discrepancy. Tired of being made into walking punchlines, the pair are somewhat resentful of each other and constantly jibe back and forth, but once it becomes clear that that fate won't allow them to be rid of each other any time soon they form an uneasy friendship. Although the series would seem to ride on a one-joke premise, a surprising depth develops underneath all the quips. Both the main characters are engaging and funny, and the friendship that evolves between them is actually almost moving in its changing complexity (and fragility--for both characters bring to the table a fair share of injured ego and vulnerability). The supporting characters are really little more than window dressing, but the interplay between the two main characters (and the possibility of a budding romance for the two) will keep people reading. Not only that, but even with her self-doubt, Risa is portrayed as a brave, assertive and pretty realistic character in a lot of ways. For a genre which sometimes feels as if it's too often populated with ditsy and timid heroines, this is refreshing.

Age Recommendation: Ages 10+
Violence: (Based on v. 1-3) Nonexistent, outside of a rare nudge or playful swat between the two main characters

Sex: (Based on v. 1-3) Nearly nonexistent--the general vibe is very innocent and crushy. The one and only incident in the first three volumes where it would even appear to hint toward anything more intense is really a red herring

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