And it is.
Nisekoi, vol. 1
Creator: Naoshi Komi
Translated by: Camellia Nieh
Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: US$9.99 (print) US$5.99 (digital) [BUY]
Released: Jan 7th, 2014
Nisekoi doesn't bring anything new or special to the table in terms of its themes or plot. We've seen it all before: passive main guy, love triangle (and of course, its between the guy, a childhood friend, and a new girl who is loud and violent but secretly vulnerable), gang rivalry, promises to people the main character can't remember, and sudden, random acts of tenderness/kindness/etc to fuel the love triangle fire. It's all there.
But what really makes this series sparkle-- especially if you hang tight beyond the first chapter or two-- is the creator's excellent pacing and easy, but unrestrained sense of humor. Nisekoi is a case where the author doesn't try anything too fancy, complicated, or confusing, but manages what is there exceedingly well.
This book had me laughing out loud with all the cracks between Raku and Chitoge; his outbursts and nicknaming her "gorilla girl" pretty much get me every time. The story goes a bit beyond the usual tropes by making the characters shameless in their mannerisms: they quarrel openly like small children, and over-act their fake relationship whenever anyone is watching. The creator's artwork and aforementioned pacing really help too, because everything feels animated, like it's really playing out in front of you. And the icing on the cake is the characters aren't vapid or see-through. This book takes its time introducing you to everyone and fleshing these kids out before jumping into the first crisis.
Volume 1 does a great job of introducing the three key characters, setting the scene for potential disaster, and tossing in the first dramatic problem of the series: the childhood friend overheard something she shouldn't have, and dramatic irony kicks in. Between that and the fantastic writing of the other two characters -- their banter and insults to each other are hilarious -- all of which is from the point of view in the main guy, I'm sold.
Nisekoi is just plain fun, and if you're wont to read some funny romance every now and again, I recommend you give it a try, too. Right now, VIZ Media has released this series up through its second volume in print and sixth volume digitally, so you aren't restricted to just the first few chapters if you were to pick it up right now. If you have the VIZ Media app, you can also sample the first chapter for free before making a purchase-- although I can't emphasize enough that it's only fair to stick around until at least chapter three or four before judging the series.
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