Say I Love You vol. 1&2 – Kanae Hazuki

Say I Love You, or Sukitte Ii na yo, is an ongoing manga series by Kanae Hazuki being published in Monthly Dessert magazine by Kodansha since 2008. We’re getting the English translation here in North America from Kodansha USA. Volume 1 of the series debuted in April and volume 2 in June 2014.

The Gist: Mei Tachibana was bullied from a young age and closed herself off to others. Now in high school she has no friends and others pick on her because she’s isolated. Until one day when she decides to fight back. After a boy tries to grab her skirt on the stairs she retaliates with a roundhouse kick to his head. Only he ducks and she hits his friend Yamato instead. Thus begins the relationship between our two protagonists Mei and Yamato. Yamato, a popular guy, decides he likes Mei and she struggles with her own insecurity and acclimation to a social life.


Volume 1 Cover

The Review: Seeing as I made a license request for this series, I’m happy that we got it in English. That said, it is another high school romance manga with the “popular boy likes unpopular girl” cliche. After a while it kind of loses my interest because it’s all been done before. What Hazuki-sama does well is make her characters and setting very realistic. She states herself that she writes it from the experience of being bullied, and she hopes other girls find courage from her work. She doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to promiscuous relationships either, so I found that piece of the story rather realistic for teens as well. The peer pressure of having sex and what it means to different characters is addressed in the series.

What would have made the series better is if the mangaka had stayed away from some of the more common manga tropes of high school shoujo. Mei is withdrawn, but she suddenly decides one day to strike back? It seemed out of character to let something like that set her off when she’s been practicing not reacting to others for so long. Then there’s Yamato, who just HAS to be popular, the envy of every girl at school, etc. etc. Can we have an average attractive boy for once? It just sets us up for the typical rival and bullying because “she got him” storyline that I feel is way overdone in high school shoujo.

The Art: I’m not in love with Hazuki’s style, but it is iconic and remarkable. The color pieces are beautiful. The characters are more on the realistic side, with a sketchier feel. Paneling is great, it makes the story flow easily and spaces out the dialogue. The toning is not too busy either which is a plus. Overall the art is a pleasant experience.

The Audience: Definitely older teen to adult in this category as we have sex and nudity among the characters. I’d recommend this series if you enjoy Kimi ni Todoke or A Devil and Her Love Song.

The Media: Sukitte Ii na yo (Say I Love You)  is at 12 volumes currently in Japan with volume 13 to be released within the next week. A 13 episode anime was produced by King Record Company Limited and is available for viewing subbed on Crunchyroll. We currently have the first two volumes available from Kodansha USA with volume 3 set to be released in August 2014.

Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥ 


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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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