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A Condition Called Love Manga Volume 1 (By You!)

A Condition Called Love Manga Volume 1 (By You!)

-Written by: Right Stuf Anime

Every quarter we are running a Manga Review Contest where you can submit a review from a selected list of manga. If you want to participate or learn more, click the link. Find out what Elizabeth thinks of A Condition Called Love Manga Volume 1, the latest by the creator of Wake Up Sleeping Beauty.

This review is written by Elizabeth

Megumi Morino's A Condition Called Love tells the story of 16-year-old high school first-year Hotaru. Not only has she never been in love, she has no desire to be. She is clearly on the asexual/aromantic (ace/aro) spectrum, though it's unclear if she's fully ace/aro or just demi (where she may develop physical attraction and/or romantic feelings toward a particular person with attachment and time). As a heteroromantic demisexual, I was eager to read a book exploring this dynamic.

A lot of stories (such as Uta Isaki's Is Love The Answer?) allude to the disconnect ace/aro people can have with society, mentioning times that they feel "broken" when it comes to love, sex, and dating. While this isn't inaccurate (indeed, I've struggled with it myself sometimes), I loved that Hotaru does not suffer this way. She is completely at ease with herself and her life, enjoying her friendships and interests. She is occasionally bemused by other people's relationship foibles and her giggly friends pressuring her to date, but she doesn't let this affect her self-esteem. Tellingly, she only begins to doubt herself once the recently jilted classroom heartthrob Honanoi pays attention to her.

Honanoi's insta-love approach would raise eyebrows in general, but for someone on the aromantic/asexual spectrum like Hotaru, it seems like a particularly bad match. I related to Hotaru's feeling of wanting to fall in love with Honanoi and thinking that she could someday, but cringed as Honanoi kept pushing the issue. His relentless "love bombing" of Hotaru is a red flag on its own, but a key moment made Honanoi completely unsympathetic to me as a romantic lead. I'd like to think that anyone (not just aces and aros) would find this a dealbreaker, but the story seems to take the side of Hotaru's friends (who think that toxicity is romantic when it comes from a cute guy).

While Honanoi shows a few glimmers of character growth at the end of the volume, they're not enough to make me want to stick around for the rest of the story. Perhaps I've been spoiled by such series as Shou Harusono's Sasaki and Miyano (where Sasaki's patient understanding toward demisexual Miyano warms my heart), but I don't see why any character (let alone a heroine as admirable as Hotaru) should be seen as the weak link in this romance. Times may be changing, but a smothering, oblivious love interest is still just a creep.

Check back every month for our manga review contest page as we will be adding new manga to the list! Don't forget to submit your reviews for a chance to win a $75 gift card like Elizabeth did!

A Condition Called Love Manga Volume 1

Hotaru is a 16-year-old high school first year who has always been ambivalent about love, preferring instead to have a lively life with her family and friends. So when she sees her schoolmate, Hananoi-kun, sitting in the snow after a messy, public breakup, she thinks nothing of offering to share her umbrella. But when he asks her out in the middle of her classroom the next day, she can't help but feel that her life is about to change in a big way...

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