My Love Story!! Volume Three is a manga written by Kazune Kawahara and illustrated by Aruko, and it has been released by VIZ Media’ Shojo Beat imprint in January 2015. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading the first three volumes, I would agree with this rating.
Takeo Goda is a large high school student who’s got a very big heart. His best friend is Makoto Sunakawa, who’s very popular with the girls but always seems to turn them down when they ask him out. One day, Takeo saves a girl named Rinko Yamato from a groper on a train and he falls in love with her. As Rinko starts spending time with them, Takeo thinks she likes Makoto; however, Takeo is surprised when it turns out that Rinko is in love with him! By the end of the first volume, Takeo and Rinko become a couple.
Volume Three sees Takeo and Rinko put into various situations, most of which can are in the “lovey-dovey” category, although one event in the story makes Rinko a little unsure of herself. The first story sees Takeo and Rinko out on a picnic to make up for Rinko’s birthday celebration being cut short at the end of Volume Two. Takeo decides to hike up a mountain, and an incident causes both Takeo and Rinko to fall down into a ravine. The two must work together to find their way out, which includes having to spend a night together out in the wilderness. When Rinko realized that they’ll have to spend a night together, I thought that her nervous reaction to this came across as being realistic. Fortunately for her, Takeo is a good guy and doesn’t try anything.
The next story sees Rinko, Takeo, and their friends going to the beach. Rinko makes it a mission to try and excite Takeo during this trip. Takeo, though, has intentions of just having fun at the beach and wanting to see the sunset with Rinko. Rinko manages to get Takeo’s attention with her choice of swimsuit, but with everything else she tries, she either chickens out or Takeo misreads the situation. Even though Rinko becomes a little discouraged during the trip, there ends up being a happy ending to this story. With both the picnic story and this story, it feels as if Kawahara is trying to depict Takeo as being a “perfect gentleman” and the type of boyfriend that teen girls dream of having.
The next story sees Takeo and Rinko taking Sunakawa around and treating him. While most people would have become annoyed with how persistent these two were, Sunakawa has such a laid-back personality that he takes it all in stride. It’s revealed at the end of the story that it’s Sunakawa’s birthday, and that Takeo and Rinko had plotted this day as a surprise for him. When you realize how Sunakawa had encourages Takeo to spend Rinko’s birthday with her instead of at the hospital with him back in Volume Two, it really is a nice gesture on Rinko’s part to do something like this. She probably sees this as a way to pay Sunakawa back for his gesture in Volume Two.
Tied in with that story is Takeo saving a girl from a stalker on the train. This girl turns out to be someone Takeo knew and had a crush on in middle school. When Rinko asks Takeo about the girl later, and ends up admitting that he once had feelings for her. Rinko is bothered by this, but tries not to say anything to Takeo; however, he picks up on her change of mood and realizes that he’s hurt her. Poor Takeo feels so bad about what happened, and I felt sorry for him. I have to admit that if I had been in Rinko’s situation back when I was her age, I probably would have had a similar reaction. While she loves Takeo and knows they’re a couple, she realistically is a little unsure about how she compares to other girls and a little afraid of potentially losing Takeo to someone else. But, as I’ve come to expect from this series, Rinko and Takeo are able to work through this obstacle. And I think that by the end of this story, Rinko has also started to gain a little more self-confidence when it comes to her relationship with Takeo.
The final story in the volume sees Takeo wanting to go to the same college as Rinko when they graduate, but it’s a college that has high academic standards. Takeo starts studying with Rinko and Sunakawa at his house, and it’s during this story when Takeo’s parents finally learn that Rinko is Takeo’s girlfriend. I was happy to finally get to see Takeo’s father in this volume, but it was even better for me to see how Takeo’s parents start reacting when Rinko comes over after they find out that she’s Takeo’s girlfriend. This made for some great comedic moments, especially after having the more serious story right before it. And there’s an amusing twist at the end of the story that adds even more humor to this chapter. I’m glad this light-hearted story was done right after the most serious story to appear in the volume, because it allows the volume to end on a more upbeat note.
After reading Volume Three of My Love Story!!, I’m still enjoying the story and how Takeo and Rinko’s relationship is evolving. So far, it seems like each volume has at least one story that provides an obstacle for Takeo and Rinko’s relationship. This is a good thing, because it’d be boring to read a manga where the main protagonists are always happy and have no problems. Also, I’m wondering if Sunakawa’s sister, who was shown as having a crush on Takeo back in Volume One, will make another appearance at some point to become another obstacle for Takeo and Rinko. And if she does, will Rinko really be able to follow through on her declaration that she’ll fight for Takeo, no matter what?
My Love Story!! is a manga series that should have a strong appeal with teen girls, as well as to readers who enjoy reading shojo manga series that feature high school students and love. While it’s a rather straightforward story, the character of Takeo makes My Love Story!! an interesting read.
I wrote this review after reading a copy of My Love Story!! Volume Three that was provided to me by VIZ Media.