Of all the fujoshi-themed manga I’ve encountered (and I’ve read a lot), Okachimachi Hato’s Fujoshissu! is one of my absolute favorites. So, having recently found out that Okachimachi is starting up a new manga, I was immediately thrilled. While my search for fujoshi protagonists is why I first discovered her work, it’s Okachimachi’s expressive art style and subtle, considerate explorations of her characters that turned me into a fan.
Her new work, Kimi xxxru Koto Nakare (“You Shall Not xxx”) shows signs of being just as strong from the very first chapter, which is why I’ve decided to start writing monthly chapter reviews for it. This is only the third time I’ve ever done the “episodic review” thing (both previous instances were Genshiken anime and manga), so I hope you enjoy it.
Kimi xxxru Koto Nakare is the story of a budding teenage romance between Hayato, a male idol, and Nobuko, a female celebrity comedian. When the manga begins, we see that Hayato first discovers Nobuko at a very young age while watching television. Nobuko is the daughter of a famous comedian as well, and to Hayato, it’s love at first sight. He thinks she’s the cutest girl ever, and it inspires him to get into the entertainment industry as a child model.
Years later, the two are now classmates, and while Hayato is adored by legions of female fans for his handsome appearance and cool demeanor, his real aspiration is comedy. Hayato asks Nobuko for help, and after some important lessons (namely that Hayato can’t be serious about comedy if he’s afraid of being laughed at), Hayato finally succeeds in getting some laughs. Grateful to Nobuko, Hayato finally confesses his feelings to her and even gives her a kiss, but while Nobuko is shown to secretly feel the same way as Hayato, she backs away and tells him that he can’t do that.
There is so much to talk about in this first chapter, but I think what stands out most is Nobuko’s appearance. While Tonari no Young Jump, the website on which Kimi Nakare is published, can ostensibly be called “shounen” or “seinen,” it’s clear that Okachimachi comes from a very different background in terms of art style and approach to manga. Kimi Nakare is very much in a shoujo vein, but very rarely do shoujo manga feature a main female character as plain-looking as Nobuko. Generally speaking, they tend to be not the most beautiful but still thin and pretty in a conventional sense. In contrast, Nobuko is larger, has a rather masculine face with big bushy eyebrows, and is just noticeably less attractive than Hayato.
Even the story draws attention to the fact that Nobuko is not supposed to be good-looking. When a young Hayato is telling his parents that Nobuko is the cutest girl he’s ever seen, they react with puzzlement. “Cute? I would call her interesting…but cute?” Hayato “shouldn’t” be attracted to her to such an extent, but he is.
What’s amazing about this contrast is that it doesn’t feel simply like wish fulfillment that a handsome idol like Hayato would fall in love with Nobuko. Putting aside his love of comedy and the fact that she’s mentioned as being incredibly talented at getting laughs, Nobuko is strong, supportive, cheerful, and isn’t afraid to take someone down a peg. As the chapter progresses, it becomes evident that these qualities are what continuously draws Hayato to her. Okachimachi never draws Nobuko in a way implied to be Hayato’s “perspective” with the requisite that she then appears to be more beautiful than she is, but by just seeing them together, I could understand just how attractive Nobuko’s personality could be.
Suffice it to say, I already love this manga. I believe that Nobuko’s negative reaction to Hayato’s kiss and confession comes from the fact that he’s an idol and therefore isn’t allowed to date. Whether that means they have a clandestine romance or they have to constantly resist their own feelings, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
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