Friday, January 24, 2014

QUICK LOOK: Nisekoi False Love

I don't know about you guys, but it's been somewhat hard to get a hold of a new comedy manga that doesn't devolve for the run-of-the-mill hentai jokes where our poor sap of a man stumbles around unwittingly undressing his female counterparts amidst lewd innuendo. Thankfully Naoshi Komi has come along to bring us 'Nisekoi: False Love', which is a great departure from the typical stereotype that manga seems to have fallen into.

The Japanese title is simply 'Nisekoi' meaning 'Fake Love' and is a tale of an incompatible boy and a girl who due to circumstances are forced to court each other to avert a disaster between their rival families. Families that happen to be Yakuza. Thus their pairing forces their henchmen to get along with each other for the sake of upholding the supposed happiness between their young master and mistress.

Unfortunately, the young master and mistress set off on the wrong foot the moment they first met. Being forced together to protect the peace is only made more agonizing to them, and desperate measures are taken to keep up the charade in the face of suspicion; both in their private and high school social life. The young master's situation is even more complicated given there is already another girl he likes, while also trying to find a girl from his childhood whom he suspects is the same one that he likes now.

The awkward situation is handled in the only way it could; with slapstick hilarity brought to life by Naoski Komi's well structured art work that managed to match the perfect expression to the character's faces for every occasion! Aided with interior monologues from both him and her, we get to know our characters better. And knowing precisely what they want and what sets them off sets us up for the perfect situations where everything verges on bringing down the facade of the illusory romance but somehow our unfit hero and heroine manage to pull through. The tension if helped along by the supporting cast, from the curious classmates to the rival troops of henchmen on either side cheering them on while ready to explode at the slightest offense. Also in the picture is our other female lead who is the cute girl-next-door type and rival love interest who acts in contrast to our main heroine's outward extroverted and borderline violent masculine nature, having been raised in a male-dominated crime syndicate family. On the other hand, our male lead is a product of a character trying purposely to avoid inheriting the life of crime and in ironic manner has adopted the traits of a nurturing soul who picked up cooking and doing homely things to fill in the void of a lack of a female presence in his family.

The story is the anti-thesis of a romantic comedy, but does also have its sweeter side where our unhappy couple also begin to slowly understand things about each other and appreciate the times they pull through together and the narrow escapes they make. How it will all turn out in the end is something to see going forward. But the ride there so far makes a great first impression with great comedic timing, and atypical twists on old familiar scenarios that breathe something fresh into a manga genre which is otherwise too crowded with titles going for the easy money using borderline exploitative eroticism, sex appeal and innuendo. Nisekoi's first volume side steps all of that to focus on the actual situational comedy, characters and scenarios that deal with the unusual and ridiculous ways of a life, young romance and shared deception between particular people we don't quite get along with each other...

So if you're looking for something new and funny with great artwork and expression, then drop by to check out Volume 1 of 'Nisekoi False Love,' now available in store!