Nisekoi: False Love Vol. 1 by Naoshi Komi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
December 29, 2013 by Dennis Amith
A delightful and entertaining manga series about a guy looking for his true love that he promised ten years ago to marry, but somehow ends up being arranged by his yakuza father to have a relationship with the rival gang’s daughter to avert an all-out gang war. Problem is, both despise each other. An enjoyable manga series and I can’t wait for vol. 2 of Naoshi Komi’s “Nisekoi: False Love”! Recommended!
© 2011 Naoshi Komi. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Nisekoi: False Love Vol. 1
STORY AND ART BY: Naoshi Komi (古味直志)
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga
RATED: T for Teen
RELEASE DATE: January 7, 2014
It’s hate at first sight… rather, a knee-to-the-head at first sight when Raku Ichijo meets Chitoge Kirisaki! Unfortunately, Raku’s gangster father arranges a false love match with their rival’s daughter – who just so happens to be Chitoge!
However, Raku’s searching for his childhood sweetheart from ten years ago, with a pendant around his neck as a memento, but he can’t even remember her name or face!
Naoshi Komi’s manga work is well-known for readers of “Weekly Shonen Jump”.
From “Koi no Kami-sama”, “Williams” and “Double Arts”, Komi’s manga “Nisekoi” (False Love) was created as a one shot for Jump NEXT! in 2011 but then receiving the go-ahead as a weekly manga serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”.
It was also one of the first manga to receive an English translation online courtesy of Shueisha and a total of nine volumes have been released since then.
And now, Viz Media will be releasing the first volume of “Nisekoi: False Love” in the U.S. to coincide with the anime adaptation release of the series slated for January 2014.
“Nisekoi” revolves around high school Raku Ichijou. When Ichijou was a kid, he met a girl and he kept a lock, she kept the key and promised each other to get married if they one day find each other.
Since then, Ichijou has kept his promise and has worn the lock around his neck and has been hoping to meet her again.
But Ichijou’s life is a little complicated. While a good-natured individual, unfortunately for him, he is the son of the leader of the Shuei-gumi yakuza syndicate. He has no interested in become part of the yakuza but everyone expects him to be the next one to lead the syndicate in the future.
Meanwhile, while going to school, he sees a foreign girl jumping from a wall and landing on him. He loses the lock on his neck and is very upset of what had transpired. Next thing you know in class, that same girl becomes a new student in his class.
Chitoge Kirisaki just moved from the U.S. to Japan and since her mom is Japanese and her dad is America, she is fluent in both Japanese and English. And suffice to say, when both Ichijou and Kirisaki see each other, they start yelling at each other and she nails him with a hit after he calls her “monkey girl”. People see how tough she is but to make them get along, his teacher puts Ichijou in charge of showing her around school.
He tries his best but the two are like oil and water, they just don’t get along. For the next week of trying to assist her, the two end up arguing and getting in each other’s faces.
If anything, Ichijou focus is more on finding the lock that was lost when Kirisaki landed on him. And he wonders if Kosaki Onodera, the popular girl in school and a person who has treated him with nothing but kindness is the girl that he made the promise with. He hopes it is her.
But just when Ichijou is about to give up, Onodera pleads with him to keep his promise and Ichijou is reminded that a promise is a promise and he intends to keep it. But wants to ask Onodera if there is any chance she may be the girl he made the promise too.
What he doesn’t know is that Onodera does have a key and she has always liked Ichijou but doesn’t have the guts to tell him.
But as Ichijou wonders if Onodera is the girl he made a promise too and excited for the possibility that it might be, when he gets home, his father talks to him about something important.
The problem is that the Shuei-gumi and another rival yakuza gang are in the brink of all-out war that would damage both yakuza gangs, he and the other leader have come up with the plan. Ichijou must pretend to be dating the daughter of the leader of the opposing yakuza gang.
Ichijou doesn’t want to get involved and his father told him that he must forget dating any other girl and focus liking this girl they set him up with.
When the two are introduces, Ichijou is shocked that the girl is Chitoge Kirisaki. And for both of them, they must promise to be boyfriend and girlfriend for three whole years and be convincing to both yakuza gangs that they are truly in love.
Both don’t want to be involved with each other but they have no choice. But now they must find a way to co-exist with each other as both yakuza gangs are suspicious of their relationship especially Kirisaki’s guardian, Claude.
Meanwhile, Ichijou still wants to ask Onodera if she is the girl with the key and Onodera is about to let him know that she is. But before they can, the whole school are told that both Ichijo and Kirasaki are boyfriend and girlfriend.
And now it has made things tough for both Ichijou and Kirisaki, but can they keep this charade of being in love with each other, especially if they despite one another?
A kid and a girl make a promise to one another that they will marry in the future. Sounds familiar?
Sure, there have been manga series that have tapped into the story of a promise made in childhood of marriage from “Love Hina” to light novel series “Ore no Kanojo to Osanajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru” (better known as “Oreshura”).
But what “Nisekoi” does differently is throw a major wrench into this possible love romance by putting the male protagonist in search of his future wife, to fulfill a family promise to have a relationship with the daughter of a rival gang, a girl that he detests.
Both hate each other and while Ichijou is a guy with a positive outlook in life, when he meets Chitoge Kirisaki, she is abrasive, cold and not good at holding her aggression as she is constantly beating up on Ichijou.
And to make things worse for Ichijou, the most popular girl that he always liked, Kosaki Onodera, is in fact the girl that has (or may have) the key, to his lock that he has worn on his neck and promised to marry.
Suffice to say, I sense a possible love triangle but it’s too early to tell with only the first volume of the manga having been released.
But so far, I really enjoy this manga series because it’s fresh take on the young promise made by youngsters to marry each other and it also has that similarity to “Ranma 1/2” of two people arranged by their parents to be together, although not to be married but to have this fake romance for three years.
The artwork by Naoshi Komi is fun, full of humor and for the most part quite delightful in capturing their emotions on each page. But Naoshi Komi’s manga series has been nothing but delightful and very entertaining!
A wonderful first volume and I can’t wait for vol. 2!
Naoshi Komi’s “Nisekoi: False Love” is highly recommended!
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