Story/Art: Naoshi Komi
What They Say:
It’s hate at first sight… rather a knee-to-the-head at first sight when Raku meets Chitoge! Unfortunately, his gangster father arranges a false love match with their rival gang leader’s daughter, Chitoge! However, Raku’s searching for his childhood sweetheart, with a pendant around his neck as a memento, and is surprised to discover three candidates with keyes: Chitoge, Onodera (his current crush), and Tachibana (the police chief’s daughter)!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Nisekoi doesn’t quite bring the arc to a close here in regards to Marika’s wedding, but you can really sense that we’re closing in on it. The book has put us through our paces so far with the attempt to rescue her and it’s come across well because it’s kept itself moving, even when providing some information along the way, such as the sequence with Raku and Marika’s father. Though we get a few sidebars along the way, it hasn’t felt like we’ve taken real detours, but rather simply gone to the places we needed to in order to set up how it all goes down. That’s kept it feeling fairly tight, light on its feet and engaging with both its seriousness and humor.
The main thrust of this installment is Raku’s attempt to stop the wedding, which was done in some fun style the last time around that was certainly evocative. The confrontation that plays out here is certainly interesting and I foolishly had my hopes up at first that it would play out in a more interesting way rather than the safe way. With Marika’s mother making it clear what’s at stake, we see Marika drive it home through Raku that she’s doing all of this of her own free will. Everything she says is what most secondary harem-style character needs to say before getting on with their own lives. It plays well and comes across as more heartfelt than it probably should, though Raku of course sees through it all and comes up with the perfect white knight defense as to why he’s doing what he’s doing.
The subplot side of the book fares a bit better and lighter overall, especially since the main story goes where you expect it. I like that Chitoge and the others are late to the show but catch the important parts, especially since it causes Chitoge to once again question her relationship with Raku. Cause that never gets old. Still, the panic over everything happening earlier is fun and seeing them realizing there’s little they can do is a nice touch rather than finding some quick solution. I also really liked the little save at the end that we get from Onodera and Miyamoto as they save the day. Granted, you wouldn’t see them coming in at the time they did and working on that much food that quickly, but the results are spot on and it plays to Onodera’s strength/weakness in a cute and fun way.
Nisekoi doesn’t offer any real surprises but it offers up a lot of fun as it works through a familiar but well polished and executed part of the storyline. The chance to do something radical and more interesting is definitely here and it’s no surprise that the safe route is chosen, which is what makes it so frustrating even as it does everything it does so well. And that’s because it’s playing by the numbers, coloring in the lines and connecting all the right dots in order. I enjoy Nisekoi, don’t get me wrong, but it can be a far more interesting series if it, and manga in general, starts to really be daring and engaging again. This is a solid installment in this arc and exactly where I expected it to go with appealing artwork from Komi once again, who continues to delight in some of the camera angles chose and overall composition. But you could swap this out with far too many manga and shows from the past thirty years in terms of characters and not miss a beat.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media via Weekly Shonen Jump from ComiXology
Release Date: October 19th, 2015