Fall in Love Like a Comic!

Manga Mitaina Koi Shitai!
Genre: Shoujo / Romantic Comedy
Length: 2 Volume
Allegiance: Shogakukan
Mangaka: Chitose Yagami
Vintage: 2002
Intelligence Agency Report by: Amaranth
A young junior high school student named Rena Sakura spends her spare time working as a mangaka at a popular, local publishing firm. The manga she creates consists of shoujo style romance stories, quite often with a slightly risqué premise. After the editor attempts to convince her that finding a boyfriend might provide good inspiration for future stories, Rena decides to ask the best looking, most popular boy in school, Tomoya Okita, to date her so that she can use the research for her work. Despite her strongest efforts to remain purely analytical, Rena finds herself slowly falling for Tomoya in ways she never originally intended.

Research Agent Report by: Amaranth 
Overall 3.50
(not an average)
As I began to read this particular manga, I found myself immediately immersed in a pretentious world of sickeningly sweet romance, unnaturally gentlemanly eighth grade boys, and unbelievably love-struck preteen girls. At first, I thought that perhaps the manga was worth giving a real shot, given that the artwork was decently well done and the characters seemed likeable. However, the characters became progressively less convincing as the chapters droned on, and though they may have eventually won me over, the quick-moving and mostly ridiculous plot made this impossible. 

The plotline is the biggest downfall of Fall in Love Like a Comic!, moving along at an unrealistic pace and becoming more clichéd as the story continues. The romance that Rena builds with Tomoya over the course of the volume is hard to believe and strange to follow at times. The advancement of the plot is even more bizarre in that the story seems to jump awkwardly forward in time between chapters, leaving the reader dazed and confused. Perhaps the worst part overall is how atrociously cheesy and unnecessary the romantic scenes between Rena and Tomoya are, ending up as nothing more than mere cheap fanservice by the finish of the volume. 

The plot may possibly have been saved if not for the cliché predictability of the characters themselves. Rena is a stubborn, excitable character typical of most generic shoujo manga, who spends the majority of the story either astounded at her surroundings or melting in the arms of her boyfriend (literally). She is the only character who is even remotely dynamic, and only slightly so. The only real change she makes as she grows throughout the story is that she begins to understand that Tomoya really does love her, and that her insecure feelings are nothing to worry about. So what does that make the moral of the story? Jealousy is unhealthy, kids. Tomoya, on the other hand, is your typical Gary Stu character. He has the perfect looks, the right amount of playfulness, and a sugary sweet disposition when dealing with his girlfriend, whom he loves more than anything else in the world. He has very few (if any) personal demons or obstacles to overcome. For being the main male protagonist in the manga, he is surprisingly static, with almost no character development whatsoever. The supporting characters, Yun and Sunahara, also have little to no development, and seem to be mostly absent aside from times at which their presence is somehow convenient for the movement of the central story. 

It is because of this that the story’s impact on me was almost nonexistent. There isn’t much else to be said other than that within hours of finishing it, I found myself having to continuously check to make sure the characters’ names were presented correctly. It really was that unmemorable. 

Despite all of the issues in Fall in Love Like a Comic!, the artwork was fairly good. Yagami made entertaining use of manga stereotypes with her artwork, as well as utilizing the chibi style in several instances. Unfortunately, this may be the only redeeming feature about the entire piece. 

Overall, the art was cute, but the absurd plotline and sheer lack of character development caused major issues for the story. The piece leaves a lot to be desired, and I wouldn’t be likely to recommend it to anyone outside the hordes of screaming, boy-obsessed preteens who have already been absorbed into the Twilight phenomenon. Feel free to read it at your own risk.