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When Will Ayumu Make His Move? Manga Volume 1 Review

When Will Ayumu Make His Move? Manga Volume 1 Review

-Written by: Chris T.

Urushi senses romantic tension right away! (When Will Ayumu Make His Move Manga Volume 1, Ch. 1.pg 5).

Soichiro Yamamoto is best known to American manga fans as the creator behind Teasing Master Takagi-san, a fun romantic comedy,romantic comedy romp that makes you nostalgic for your school days. Yamamoto has returned to those sensibilities with his latest series, When Will Ayumu Make His Move? But whether he’s successful at making magic again is a valid question. 

The series focuses on two high schoolers, second-year Urushi Yaotome and first-year Ayumu Tanaka. Urushi is the leader of their fledgling two-member shogi club. For those unfamiliar with the game, shogi shares a lot of its foundation with chess. It’s a head-to-head strategy game played with five-sided tiles instead of sculpted pieces, and many of those tiles can be promoted to give more tactical options to the player.

Urushi’s dream is to grow her games with Ayumu into a full-fledged shogi club at their school, but they’re still a few members short. She’s regularly beating the less-skilled Ayumu and is hoping to find some new competition. However, Ayumu is totally happy with the player count, as he’s mainly in the club to spend time with Urushi. He’s already admitted that she’s cute and struggles to keep his crush a secret, but Urushi can read him like a book. She’s open to the idea of his interest in her, but can’t get Ayumu to admit it.

 The characters are well-defined and easy to like from the start. Urushi comes across as a mix of Takagi-san’s title character and Takagi’s target of attention, Nishikata. Urushi has the drive that a club president needs, but is also easily flustered whenever she toys with the idea of herself and Ayumu as a couple. Meanwhile, Ayumu is stoic and intense, but bad at hiding his emotions. He’s typically even-keeled, but it’s easy to read his disappointment when Urushi talks about expanding the club.

Urushi and Ayumu playing shogi. (WhenWill Ayumu Make His Move Manga Volume 1, pg. 87).

And as far as the other characters go… well, there just aren’t any. Almost all of the first volume involves Urushi and Ayumu facing each other down at the shogi board. There are a couple of chapters that leave the club room, but otherwise the story takes place in one very small space. I counted 12 speech bubbles not attributed to one of the two leads in the entire book, and none of the characters speaking them even had so much as a name. This book really depends on your liking of the leads. On top of that, while shogi is a big focus of the book, there’s a chance that Yamamoto assumes you know a bit about the game, because none of the story is spent explaining the rules. The translators included a thorough lexicon of rules and terms to begin the book, and each chapter involving a game includes a cool play-by-play chart of the action at the end, but those expecting a teaching story like March Comes In like a Lion or Haikyu!! will be left looking for a little more depth. 

When Will Ayumu Make His Move? is based on shogi, but as it stands right now, is about as complex as checkers. It’s a light, breezy, fun read, but doesn’t have a lot of depth behind it. Those looking for a lesson in the game or a fleshed-out world will be left wanting. The book lives or dies on the charm of its lead characters, and Yamamoto’s writing and art does give them enough spark to get the job done in volume 1, but I don’t know if I’m going to be all that interested in a rematch.

When Will Ayumu Make His Move Manga Volume 1

When Will Ayumu Make His Move? manga volume 1 features story and art by Souichiro Yamamoto, the creator of Teasing Master Takagi-san!

Yaotome’s the cute president of the shogi (Japanese chess) club at her high school, and she’s pretty sure that her underclassman Ayumu, the only other member, has a huge crush on her. They get together to play shogi every day after school, but no matter what she does, she can’t seem to coax or trick him into confessing his feelings! What she doesn’t know is that Ayumu has made a pact with himself to reveal his love after he’s beaten Yaotome at shogi for the first time. Yet there’s one big issue with this plan…he really sucks!

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