Title: Hate to Love You
Author: Makoto Tateno
May Contain Spoilers
Masaya Konoe and Yuma Kazuki are bitter rivals. Their families have been fighting for generations, and they have carried on the competitive tradition. When they were children, however, they secretly met by the river that divides their estates, and Masaya has cherished the meeting ever since. When Masaya learns that Yuma is to be engaged to Akiko Tojoin, he’s thrown into confusion. Is he jealous of Yuma or Akiko?
While this was a beautifully illustrated book, I didn’t find the plot overly engaging. Masaya is your typical timid, over-reacting drama-queen whose inability to express his feelings, or even decide what his feelings are, makes for all kinds of problems for the young couple. Yuma is a big meanie, too, and I disliked him enough that I started rooting for Masaya and Akiko to get together, even though I knew that wasn’t going to happen. There wasn’t much chemistry between the two leads, which made for a tepid courtship.
Also, there were too many characters tossed into the three chapters comprising Yuma and Masaya’s romance. Instead of creating some tension and livening things up a bit, all they did was clutter up the pages. They weren’t really used effectively, and it seemed that they were present only to provide some stale obstacles for Masaya and Yuma to have misunderstandings about.
Makoto Tateno’s art is always a treat, with attractive character designs and gentle details that don’t overwhelm the panels. Her illustrations are comprised of delicate lines and sparse backgrounds, drawing attention to the expressions and emotions flittering across her protagonists’ faces. The page layouts use white spaces to add dramatic effect, and the panels flow smoothly from page to page.
As for production notes, the paper is a nice sturdy stock, and its a pleasantly crisp white. The cover seems too stiff, though it’s glossy color illustration of Masaya and Yuma, detailed in pastels and subtle shades, is quite eye-catching. I noticed a single typo, which I overlooked the first time I read the book. The dialog flowed smoothly, and the fonts used were more appealing that those in Walkin’ Butterfly. Overall, this is an attractively put together package. It’s just too bad that the story seemed so listless.
Included is the short story, You Can’t Call it Love, which I found a little disturbing. Stalkers are creepy.
Rated for Mature Readers
Review copy provided by Deux