I’m back for more it seems. After jumping into this series three volumes ago, I’ve kept up on Raku Ichijo’s love…hexagon? Harem rom-com's are usually my thing, but something is missing from this one. Personality.
Everything in Nisekoi is paint-by-numbers. The hook of the keys and a bunch of kids that can’t remember ten years ago is nice, but not long-lasting. The added mix of the Yakuza, Mafia and police could be interesting, but at the end of the day, it’s only vaguely mentioned and never has any real consequences on the story. Which is the worst thing about this book because it has all these components to really do something different and it doesn’t. I’m not suggesting that it would need to change genres to do this, just embrace the elements that are there and work them into the goofy formula that it uses.
In this volume, they add a Prince and the Pauper moment in which Chitoge meets her exact and I mean exact lookalike, who is a princess from either a made up land or one that I’m unfamiliar with and don’t care to look up. Taking pity on her situation of not having enough personal freedom they make the reckless choice of switching places so that Raku can show the princess a lovely time around Japan.
Gosh, I sure hope she doesn’t fall in love.
She does, but hopefully, won’t be added to the story after the main love triangle is revealed to her. The rest of the volume develops some sub-characters aka the friends of two main characters, and that was the part that I enjoyed the most. The character I dislike the most Tachibana (which is strangely a fan favorite) attempts to overcome her fear of animals. This part of the story just highlights Chitoge’s compatibility with Raku and builds up how nice of a guy he is. Nothing more.
Even though the keys are never mentioned in this volume, I still enjoyed it slightly more than the previous three I read. Mostly because it took a break from all that and instead chose to give all of the characters (there’s plenty of smaller stories I left out) a moment to shine and develop their love for Raku or each other. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t win me over or make me a fan of the series for the reasons I listed in the beginning.
The art is pleasant. It’s not bad, it’s better than average, but again has no personality. The characters mostly look the same, and this problem is illustrated in the character intro at the front of the volume. That’s right, the actual illustrations illustrate the problem, because without a name to the side I would just be numbering the characters and calling it a day. There’s no real storytelling done with the artwork; it’s just pictures accompanying dialog. Comics are comics regardless of who makes them, and this one’s biggest downfall is that it doesn’t use the gutters or the medium to the fullest. It’s just a classic example of cute art and average story.
I have another volume to read, but at that point, I’ll know if I should spend any more time with Nisekoi. Ultimately, this is a paint by number Harem that could be so much more but refuses to embrace the world that it’s created leaving it feeling hollow and generic. Maybe the next volume will win me over, but somehow I honestly doubt it.
[su_box title="Score: 3/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
Nisekoi: False Love vol. 16 Creator: Naoshi Komi Publisher: Viz Media Price: $9.99 Format: TPB; Print/Digital