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To her classmates, Yukina Himuro is the ‘Absolute Zero Snow Woman’, a strange girl with cold hands and an equally cold stare, avoided by everyone apart from her cousin Akira. Little do they know that Yukina is also a cell-phone novelist under the pen name of ‘Yupina’ who enjoys people watching as it inspires her very popular stories. Lately Yukina’s been feeling the pressure from her fans to write a romance story, but there’s one problem – Yukina has never experienced romance before, how is she suppose to write about one? In a twist of fate, Yukina discovers a secret notebook belonging to the most popular boy in school, Shigure Kitami, that reveals the womanizing personality he hides to get what he wants from others. Yukina uses her newfound knowledge to blackmail him into doing whatever she wants so she can get her story, but Shigure isn’t the type to back down so easily. Has Yukina met her match?
Missions of Love seems to be using very safe subject matter – boy and girl are forced by certain circumstances to work together but slowly start to realize their feelings for each other. It’s all set in a school, which again is another very overused story element, and the sneak peek at the next volume seems to hint at a (now) overused love triangle. So is Mission of Love completely passable? Whilst I wouldn’t call the first volume a must buy, it certainly kept me entertained from cover to cover.
The female lead is Yukina; she’s not the typical Tsundere, blasting everyone’s head off, or the shy, reclusive type. She’s a smart girl with a quick wit that doesn’t let anyone push her around. She watches other people from afar and reads them very well for inspiration for her stories, and even uses her insight against the female student body when they try to gang up on her at one point in the book. I also like how we actually get sentences from her story evolving in her mind whilst she’s engaging in the acts of ‘romance’, making her writer persona the more believable. Then there’s the jerky character Shigure Kitami who at the moment is lacking any likable qualities other than the well-drawn smile that lures all the clueless females in, but the two leads bounce off each other very well. They try to ‘out-blackmail’ each other constantly throughout the book and the comical back-talking between them flows naturally. They’re fun to watch in each chapter.
I’m unfamiliar with Ema Tōyama’s work so I’m purely working off this book for her style and the art ticks all the right boxes for the genre. Elegantly styled close-ups when the pair are in romance liaisons, simple but distinguishable characters, panels that are never too crowded or badly laid out, so overall it’s all good. But just to let you know, despite the ‘suggestive’ cover, Missions of Love isn’t risqué in the opening volume; it never goes as far as kissing for Yukina to get the story she’s striving for.
The first book in this on-going series (so-far eight volumes are out in Japan) does the job of setting up the premise and the characters nicely; it may not look like much when reading the synopsis on the back, but the heart seems to be in the right place. It’s nothing really original here but there’s no terrible writing or art to speak of, so worth a look if you’re a fan of the genre.
|Score:||6 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Fri, 23 Nov 2012|
"The years between 50 and 70 are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down ." - T. S. Eliot .. Read more