Love*Com Vol 13 by Aya Nakahara Manga Review

Title:  Love*Com Vol 13

Author: Aya Nakahara

Publisher:  Viz

ISBN: 9781421523712

May Contain Spoilers

I’ve got to admit that when I first started to dig into this 13th volume of Love*Com, it wasn’t with my usual enthusiasm for the series.  I mean, Risa and Otani are an established couple, their goals for the future are pretty much set in stone, and the only thing left is to wrap up the side stories of all of their friends.  The Suzuki plot thread just didn’t hold my attention, and it seemed to be so unnecessary.  Suzuki is a spineless wimp, he’s always been sickly and weak, and suddenly having him resolve to become a “stronger” man just doesn’t ring true to his character.  Thankfully, this story arc is quickly, and predictably, wrapped up so we can move on to other drama.

The other drama turns out to be Risa’s crotchety old grandpa, who comes home after an extended period overseas, sowing his ancient oats.  He’s a decadent old guy, with an eye for pretty ladies.  When he and Otani have a chance encounter on the street, things don’t go well.  The old man is trying to harvest new phone numbers and email addresses from beautiful young women, and Otani mistakenly interferes.  The gloves come off and the two suddenly have a very contentious relationship.  Imagine the surprise of both of them when they met again at Risa’s home.  Things go from bad to worse, with gramps vowing to tear the two apart. 

While all of the adversity was funny and kept me engaged, it just seems so extraneous.  Let Risa and Otani march off into the sunset already!  It doesn’t seem fair that after all of their ups and downs, their conflicts are based on something that, picked apart and set out for examination, doesn’t really matter in a deep or meaningful way.  Much of the conflict of the series is based on self-perception and fear of how other people will see them, all because Otani happens to be short, and Risa happens to be tall.  It’s even her grandfather’s biggest reason for wanting them to breakup.  Short men aren’t reliable, he thinks.  Yet lecherous old men are?  Come on, you old geezer – go take a look in the mirror before making judgments against other people!

With Risa’s grandfather running interference in their relationship, doubts quickly rise to the surface.  While they both claim to be happy and content with each other, the old man is very cunning and clever when it comes to derailing their young love.  He preys instantly on Risa’s fears, and dangles a very skilled temptress in front of the naive Otani.  It hardly seems fair that two jaded strangers have entered the picture, and with just a few carefully woven conspiracies, have started to sabotage Risa and Otani’s relationship.  It doesn’t help that Risa’s brother thinks Otani can do better than to date a stupid girl like his sister, which gets both of them thinking about things that don’t really need to be contemplated. 

While the story kept me entertained, I did feel a bit of impatience with the current goings-on.  There really isn’t a need to keep dragging out the story; Risa and Otani have already overcome the obstacles to their relationship, and all sub-plots have been wrapped up.  Do we really need to re-examine the fact that there is a height difference between them?  Let them have their happy-ever-after, for goodness sake!

Grade: B-

Review copy provided by Viz