On January 7, 2014 anime and manga publisher Viz Media releases the first volume of Naoshi Komi’s manga series, “Nisekoi: False Love”, and they gave us the opportunity to check out this slightly violent but plenty entertaining romantic comedy.
“Nisekoi” follows the story of Raku Ichijo, a young man who made a promise of marriage to a young girl ten years ago. The problem with this promise though is that after such a long time he has forgotten the girl’s name and even what she looks like, so the only way of knowing her should they meet again is a locked pendant Raku wears, that the girl has the key for.
Now Raku is starting his high school life with the hopes of leading a normal life, but being the son of a powerful yakuza leader comes with it problems, especially now that a new gang has moved in on their turf and each day sees the gangs clashing. To make matters worse, Raku is stuck sitting next to and looking out for Chitoge Kirisaki, a short tempered and violent transfer student whose first meeting with Raku involved a knee to the face.
As Raku and Chitoge spend time with each other they realize that they really can’t stand one another, but fate steps in and forces them to play nice when each of their parents agrees to have Raku and Chitoge date, for three years. The reason for such a strange forced arrangement is to bring an end to the violence between the rival gangs. Neither Raku and Chitoge are happy about having to pretend to be a couple, but to put an end to the fighting they decide to go along with it. Convincing the gangs, especially Chitoge’s overprotective bodyguard Claude, that they are together proves to be difficult however.
The “Nisekoi” story is actually really entertaining, it does feel a bit familiar, but despite that it is still a fun read. Along with the constant arguments between Raku and Chitoge and both gangs, especially Claude, constantly watching for the couple to slip up, Raku struggles with his feelings for Kosaki Onodera, a kindhearted classmate that also has feelings for Raku. This love triangle helps to keep things interesting, as Raku and Kosaki’s interactions make for some awkwardly cute moments.
In this first volume things move at a brisk pace, so it never feels like the story slows down much, but you still feel like to haven’t missed anything. It will be interesting to see just who the owner of the key is and if Raku and Chitoge will ever stop fighting, I hope not.
Visually the manga has a good look, the overall quality of the art is nice and there seems to be a fair amount of detail. One thing that this manga is full of is over the top expressions, from jaw dropping shock and cute shy looks to tearful happiness and intense angry faces there is a lot of great work done in getting the character’s emotions across to readers, even without words.
As far as the text goes, everything seems to fit nicely in the dialog boxes and it is all clear and easy to read. The translations have nice flow as well and everything is understandable.
All-in-all “Nisekoi” is a fun and interesting read full of over-the-top expressions that fit perfectly with the comedy that make this series enjoyable. The constant fights between Raku and Chitoge also help to show a slightly different side of Raku, who is normally a nice guy that seems to be considerate towards those around him, which comes out even more around Kosaki. Something about Chitoge just brings out this, not necessarily darker, but more assertive side of him. Which feels like a good thing.
If you’re in the mood for a new romantic comedy that feels a little like “Toradora!”, then “Nisekoi” is definitely worth a read.
Nisekoi Vol. 1
Publisher: Viz Media
Story and Art: Naoshi Komi
Number of Pages: 192
Age Rating: Teen
Release Date: January 7, 2014
(A review copy of “Nisekoi” Vol. 1 was provided by Viz Media.)