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A Look @ Nisekoi, vol. 1

11:00 AM on 01.13.2014 // Kristina Pino
  @kriskitten

The fine line between love and hate is laced with violence

Nisekoi turned out to be one of those happy discoveries you sometimes stumble upon when you aren't looking for anything particular, read a silly synopsis, and think, "Why not?" I wasn't too sure what to expect from this coming in, except that it was probably a romantic comedy.

And it is.

It's a romantic comedy that's apparently published in Shonen Jump, and the first volume which comprises the first seven chapters had heaps of fighting in it -- between the lead male character and a girl he has to pretend to date in order to appease the rival gangs they belong to.

Let's have a quick look at the copy before I move on with my thoughts:

It’s hate at first sight—or rather a knee to the head at first sight —when Raku Ichijo meets Chitoge Kirisaki! Unfortunately, Raku’s gangster father arranges a false love match between Raku and their rival gang leader’s daughter, who just so happens to be Chitoge! Raku’s searching for his childhood sweetheart from ten years ago, however, with a pendant around his neck as a memento...but he can't even remember the girl’s name or face!

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.



Kristina Pino, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure kriskitten Tips
Kristina is a freelance photographer and writer from Miami now moved to Japan. She's a hardcore nerd culture enthusiast, Disney fan, sunflower admirer, and book slinger. Tweet her @geekerydo. F... more   |   staff directory





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