Since reading this volume, I started watching the anime version; which is weird because as I say on this week’s episode of Super S (listen here), I strangely like the anime. It’s almost as if it has all the personality that the manga is missing. Perhaps better put, everything that this manga is now missing. Because that’s one thing that’s become painfully clear to me, this story is going on for far too long and could likely continue to do so. And that’s a shame because it’s burning through its best material and then left to stretch out its weakest material. Not that the anime has done it perfectly, but it does manage to add that extra bit of personality that I’ve been waiting for this manga to show me. No surprise here, this volume doesn’t give me that injection of personality either.
This volume is busy as fuck. It finishes the segment with Raku and Onodera at the hot springs and, of course, everyone is working to get them together so much so that they share a room, share a bath and sleep on each other on the bus back. From there the story goes right into field day in which Raku and Chitoge share cute moments along with the typical embarrassing moments with Tsugumi. Then a pretty large segment dedicated to Yui which establishes another forced marriage upon Raku and changes how Yui responds to him. The last part is a school trip that finds Raku and Chitoge spending the night alone together unbeknownst to the rest of the characters.
Sadly, as good as this last scene was it points out one of the details I mentioned about weakest aspects being drawn out. Claude is mentioned. I had no idea who this character was until watching the anime as he’s the lynchpin that forces Raku and Chitoge to pretend to be in a relationship at school. Having read five volumes this is the first time he’s mentioned, but he’s suddenly an easy story device to throw Chitoge and Raku together. Which shows the short sidedness of using a particular character to force the story along and the lack of development that’s been put into Chitoge and Raku’s relationship. That and it felt like the creator said, "Oh yeah... we have this character still don't we?"
That and I find that the more I read, the more I’d rather this be a one-sided story in which Chitoge and Raku are just forced into a relationship only to find out that destiny played a hand. Also, the mafia element that I spoke about in my last review makes another convenient appearance here and again to force Chitoge and Raku together even though for five volumes it never once affected the story or seemed to be an issue. It’s almost as the creator is struggling to remember the core plot of the series. Which also happens to be one of the few things that made the story stand out.
The art continues to be the art. I did notice that there are crazy facial expressions used here and there, but it’s not nearly as thick and funny as it is in the anime. Perhaps the earlier volumes were thick with it, but much like the basic plot it was forgotten or replaced by fan service.
It isn’t a bad volume, but it just feels like a story that’s gone on for too long. Now it’s starting to recycle its old elements with new characters, and that spoils any charm the story had. I’ll keep reading at this point just to see if it will end or if it’ll just continue forever and have a safe ending in which fans can just pick their own girl for Raku to end up with when the eventual conclusion happens. If anything they should do what Archie did and create two timelines in which Archie ended up with both Betty and Veronica and appease both fanbases. Though here you would need to create seven or eight timelines. It’s not bad, but you can easily see how it could be better and at this point, I think the readers are here out of habit rather than joy.
[su_box title="Score: 3/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
Nisekoi: False Love vol. 17 Creator: Naoshi Komi Publisher: Viz Media Price: $9.99 Format: TPB; Print/Digital