It’s pretty easy to find friends who think just like you, reflecting and reinforcing your worldview. But often, it can be much more rewarding to befriend someone who looks at things differently, allowing both you and that friend to approach life from a different angle. That’s the lesson the protagonists of Io Sakisaka’s latest series, Love Me, Love Me Not, learn early on, and it completely shakes the way both of them look at love.
Love Me, Love Me Not revolves around two girls who meet each other at just the right time. Yuna’s best friend has just moved away before the two of them start their first year of high school. But when Akari, someone new in town, needs help sending off a friend of her own, Yuna’s generosity ends up building the first bonds of friendship between the two. They get even more chances to build that bond when they discover they share the same apartment building and school.
As Yuna and Akari get to know each other, they realize that at least when it comes to love, they are polar opposites. Yuna is a hopeless romantic, waiting for that magic moment when she has a fateful run-in with her ideal Prince Charming, falls in love instantly, and lives happily ever after. Otherwise, Yuna is too shy to act on her crushes. Meanwhile, Akari is much more pragmatic. She’s not afraid to get out there, talk to boys, and find common interests upon which to build a relationship. Each girl is baffled by the other’s outlook on life – Yuna finds Akari’s method to be incredibly unromantic, while Akari is worried that if Yuna doesn’t take that first step, Mr. Right may never be around that corner.
Their new opinions on love go on to shade the girls’ potential romantic options. Yuna is left swooning for a boy who saves her from stepping in dog poop, but Akari, for her own reasons, tries to convince Yuna to consider Inui, Yuna’s lifelong friend in the same apartment building. However, Akari has problems of her own, as her long-distance relationship hits some rocks, and she’s left considering other options. As the story progresses, the girls learn from each other and break out of their own comfort zones, but various twists and turns leave them reeling.
Io Sakisaka is no stranger to the shojo genre, finding success with her previous series Strobe Edge and Ao Haru Ride, and her talents continue to build here. She balances both the girls’ philosophies perfectly, never outright emphasizing that one or the other is the true path to love. Both Yuna and Akari absorb some of each other’s ideals and exercise them pretty well, but we wouldn’t have much of a story if things went perfectly. Sakisaka’s art shines here, too, shifting along with the girls as their mindsets adjust to new ideas. Akari’s happy-go-lucky smile falters, but never truly fades, as her search for love throws her some curveballs, while Yuna’s ever blushing face portrays a shy yet assertive quality when she steps up and speaks her mind. Sakisaka also utilizes some classic shojo shading and watercolor techniques to add extra emotion to a scene but uses it sparingly so as not to wear out its welcome. Sakisaka has clearly had a chance to refine her techniques and uses them to great success with this book.
With Love Me, Love Me Not, Io Sakisaka does an outstanding job of emphasizing why you should always keep an open mind about others’ viewpoints, whether it’s romance or life in general. Differing ideas often breed new, more effective ways to look at the challenges we face every day. It’s totally okay to dream of that special someone, as long as you open your eyes every now and then to see what magic might sit right in front of you. So if you ask me, you should take a chance, give Love Me, Love Me Not a try, and see if you look at things differently afterwards.
Love Me, Love Me Not manga volume 1 features story and art by Io Sakisaka, leading shojo manga creator and author of Ao Haru Ride! Four friends share the springtime of their youth together. Fast friends Yuna and Akari are complete opposites: Yuna is an idealist while Akari is a realist. When lady-killer Rio and the oblivious Kazuomi join their ranks, love and friendship become quite complicated!Add to CartLearn More