Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku by Fujita
2 volumes (so far, in English)
Manga – Romance/Slice of Life
Read July 3 & July 8, 2018
Spoiler-free blabber for volumes 1 and 2
It’s been a long time since I found myself so taken by a manga series.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been reading some good ones lately (see Demon Diary, my most recent blabber) but this one really has stolen my heart. This series follows two working adults, mid-twenties, who are huge nerds and because they would better understand each other’s nerdiness than someone who isn’t one, they decide to date each other. That’s it. That’s the whole premise. And holy cow did I unexpectedly love this.
The characters in this, to me, are very relatable. The four shown on the two covers here are the main characters and they way they interact reminds me a lot of my friend group. There’s the manga nerd, the video game nerd, the cosplayer, the closet nerd – seeing them all portrayed in a positive way was nice to see and watching them interact with each other while just… being themselves.. was adorably wonderful.
I think what I love about this series the most is the simplicity of it. Normally I’d be railing it for not having a huge plot, but it kinda works in this case. It’s just four people interacting on a daily basis, trying to navigate the minefield of the early stages of a relationship, as this series has the relationship I mentioned get established fairly quickly and then follows the progression of it. There’s no drama at the beginning, there’s no love triangle, there aren’t any super dramatic teenage misinterpretations. It’s just simple and refreshing.
Though, not to say that this series doesn’t deal with actual relationship issues – while one of the couples is new and exploring the first steps, the other has been together for years and years, so we get to read their interactions as well. It’s a nice balance, going from a couple who are still a bit uncertain with each other to one who is very comfortable and content. It’s a good dynamic and I enjoyed it.
AND HOLY COW, EVERYONE COMMUNICATES LIKE NORMAL ADULTS. There’s no ‘wait I can explain’ or dramatic running away upon seeing someone in a questionable yet explainable situation, none of that. Honestly there was an opportunity for that, and when I ran into it, I bit my lip, hoping hoping that the trope wouldn’t pop up. And what do you know, it didn’t. The characters remained calm and talked to each other. I was over the moon, it was so wonderful.
And finally, the comedy in this series is just fantastic. It’s slid in there subtly and tends to be of a nerdy nature. I was laughing so hard while reading this book. The situations the characters found themselves in sometimes were funny, sure, but the characters themselves were funny as well. They were constantly joking around with each other. Most of the jokes I was able to pick up on, but the few that I didn’t get due to cultural difference the author would put little footnotes at the bottom of the page with a mini explanation so I didn’t feel left out or like something got passed me – it was nice. Otherwise, I particularly appreciated the sense of humor of Narumi, the pink haired woman on the cover. She was just so amusing and I loved reading from her perspective.
I honestly don’t have much negative to say about this book. The only thing I can think of is that I wish the new relationship would progress a bit faster than it has. I need more material to ship with man, GIMME. I hope that the English release of volume 3 (coming out in October) will fulfill my wishes. I HOPE.
Overall, as you’ve probably realized at this point, love this series. Both volumes out so far are winners and I’m excitedly awaiting the next one.
Rating: 5/5 stars each