Manga Spotlight: Nisekoi

You might have heard of this one. Nisekoi is a relatively new manga by Komi Naoshi that's been serialised in the Weekly Shounen Jump. It's only been half a year, but it seemed to have quickly gained popularity online. Like most manga, the title began serialization after the one-shot appears to be well-received.

The story isn't very unique. It's a romance-comedy about a forced relationship between the son of a yazuka boss and the daughter of the head of an American gangster group. Their relationship was supposed to be a solution to the war between the two groups they came from, which the both of them agreed to prevent further bloodshed. The fake relationship isn't the only thing that connects them; they are also childhood friends, served hot with a complimentary forgotten childhood promise. So, these two are so heavily shipped that the story loses a bit of appeal because of the predictable ending. Well, the interesting part is that they totally hate each other, despite knowing each other so well.

That's the story for the one-shot, anyway, so the predictable ending didn't really matter. In the serialization, though, the author split the "forced girlfriend" and "childhood promise friend" into different characters; an excellent move, in my opinion, because that leaves the ending open.

Komi Naoshi shares a lot of similarities with a favourite artist of mine, Yasuhiro Kano, creator of Pretty Face, MxO and the not-too-long-ago cancelled Harisugawa no Kagami no Sekai, which I blogged about. They're really good at innocent high school rom-coms, really cute and simple girls, likable male protagonists, and the ability to use comedy to great effect. A common trait that they also shared is their habit of using "extreme" faces, which I found absolutely hilarious. The combination of these traits aren't rare or common, but those that do often fall into the trap of recycling overused tropes over and over again. These two had kept a lot of originality in their works, or at least in their delivery. Komi Naoshi didn't have the penchant for fanservice like Kano Yasuhiro, though... It's unfortunate, I guess?

I want to bring your attention to Double Arts, a previous work by Komi Naoshi. It's one of the few manga I really, really liked from the start, and it's also serialised in Jump. I was shocked when it was abruptly canceled, because it was really popular on the web. This is something that happen to practically all of Kano Yasuhiro's works as well. And since Nisekoi uses a very similar style to that of all of the works I've mentioned above, I feel that it can't last very long due the preferences of Jump readers.

In any case, if I've got you interested in a tiny bit, go check out this manga. It's the kind of stuff I couldn't stop reading once I've started.

Here's a bonus for those who made it this far.