My Love Story!! vol. 1 – Aruko and Kazune Kawahara

Ore Monogatari!! translated to My Love Story!! is a shoujo series written by Kazune Kawahara and illustrated by Aruko. It is currently being published by Shueisha in Betsuma magazine. Viz is publishing it in North America under the Shojo Beat imprint. The first volume released on July 1, 2014.

The Gist: Takeo Gouda is a beefy man’s man, highly respected by his male peers. But when it come to girls he never seems to have any luck.  Takeo has come to expect any girls interacting with him to be after his bishounen childhood friend, Sunakawa. So when Rinko Yamato starts coming around after Takeo saves her from a groper on the train, he naturally assumes she wants to get to know Sunakawa. Thing is, she’s more interested in Takeo. Due to his dense nature, will Yamato ever get through to Takeo? It might take some friendly intervention to bring this couple together.

Volume 1 Cover

Volume 1 Cover

The Review: Hallelujah! <Insert Hallelujah Chorus> My Love Story!! is a wonderful diversion from common shoujo tropes. We finally have a male protagonist that is unlike any others before. Takeo is a refreshing change from cookie cutter bishies (see best friend Sunakawa) and his humble and honorable personality make him very lovable to the audience. You can’t help but adore him as he fumbles through interactions with Yamato. The focus in the story revolves around a guy which is also a nice change from usual girl point-of-view shoujo series. I’m looking forward to watching Takeo and Yamato’s love story develop and anticipate wonderful story-telling from Kawahara.

The Art: Aruko’s character designs are great! I love how Takeo developed and how his style is a contrast to Sunakawa and Yamato, who look like typical shoujo protagonists. The line art is clean and paneling flows well from page to page. The color pieces are fun and often silly which adds to the mood of the series. Overall this series is a highly pleasant visual experience.

Faces of Takeo (phone wallpaper)

Faces of Takeo (phone wallpaper)

The Audience: My Love Story!! is perfect for a tween/teen audience, but don’t discount this series if that’s not your demographic. I believe guys would really enjoy this series and could relate/empathize with Takeo and Sunakawa. Older audiences would enjoy it just as well, as it harkens back to those memories of first encounters with the opposite sex.

The Media: Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!) is at 6 volumes in Japan. It has had two cross-over stories with other manga. Ore Ride!! (Ao Haru Ride X Ore Monogatari!!) ran in Betsuma magazine in June 13, 2014.  Ore Koi!! (Ore Monogatari!! X Nisekoi) had two cross-over chapters, The Boys’ Side which ran in Weekly Shounen Jump in September 2013, and The Girls’ Side which ran in Betsuma in October 2013.


Ore X Koi! Ad

My Love Story!!  has been highly received in the manga community. It won the award for Best Shōjo Manga at the 37th Kodansha Manga Awards. It was number one on the Book of the Year list of Female-Oriented Comics from January to June, 2013 by Da Vinci magazine and number five in the annual list of 2012. It was nominated for the 6th Manga Taishō Awards. In Takarajimasha‘s 2013 edition of the guidebook Kono Manga ga Sugoi!, a survey with more than 400 manga professionals, it was selected as the best series for female readers; in the 2014 edition, it was the 15th best. The fifth volume was the 53rd best-selling manga volume of the first half of 2014. It was also nominated for the 18th Annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize “Reader Award”.

We currently have My Love Story!! volume 1 in North America with volume 2 set to be released on October 7, 2014.

Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ Highly Recommend

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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