Rating: 4.5/5 – All’s Well That Ends Well as we Wrap a 25 Volume Run
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow
Manga can be a serious investment. Once you get hooked on a good series, it’s not uncommon to find yourself plopping down your $10-15 every few months for a new volume of a run well into its 20s, 50s, 80s, and beyond. To a fan, that’s money well spent, provided the story manages to remain engaging and keeps them interested enough to keep buying new volumes. I’m happy to jump in for the long haul on a good series, but I’m equally happy to see that final volume show up if a book shows signs of losing me before the run completes. Nisekoi: False Love clocks in at a “paltry” 25 volumes and I felt since I kept with it right to the end, it’s worth reviewing and taking a look back at the series as a whole.
High school student (and son and heir to a mafia empire) Raku Ichigo has a hate/hate relationship with Chitoge Kirisaki, also a high school student (and daughter and heir to a rival mafia empire). When the respective leaders of these two underworld clans attempt to broker peace by forcing the two to date, or at least put on the appearance of dating, it’s a nice comedic setup, as well as a potential romantic one.
It’s a harem-manga without the unnecessary ecchi elements thrown in. It’s a high school manga that actually throws elements of high school into the mix. It’s a comedy. It’s a romance. It’s honestly a little of everything. That may be a huge reason I kept returning to it every few months when a new volume hit the stands. Naoshi Komi’s art style combined with excellent writing created characters with a depth and uniqueness to them moving just a hair beyond the standard cookie-cutter roles all too common in genre manga like this. They’re fun to read, from central characters like Raku and Chitoge right down to side-characters like Shun and Haru. Good characters make for good stories, even when tried and true manga tropes are brought out – like the almost mandatory high school festival or the annual field trip. Because these characters became so interesting to read, so too did their exploits as they moved through the short window of life we get to watch them through.
Okay great. It’s a fun story with engaging characters, but did it end well? I can’t say much about the actual results without spoiling something in case you decide to read these books yourself. I will say this – no threads are left unexamined, and that’s a rare thing in any book or series, manga or otherwise. Every character gets their “Where are they now?” moment at the end, leaving just enough for readers to decide for themselves where they’ll go from there. And that’s really the fun of Niseoki…you get a sense that these characters’ lives will go on beyond that last page. It’s an ending, sure, but only for us, the reader. Those are the types of books that really stick with you…possibly because you spent 25 volumes reading them, of course, but also because you genuinely believe in the world and its populace.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow (firstname.lastname@example.org)
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics for Fans who Love Comics