Love Theory (Chapters 1-4) – Review
Love Theory (also known as Love Riron):
Reviewed by : Linny
Synopsis: Yarahata Kanji has not had the greatest success in his 20 years of life so far, failing his college entrance exams and failing at getting a girlfriend, when he meets a ghost, Aiya, who declares himself a love coach sent to help Kanji change his love-life, or rather his lack of a love life. Aiya is perverted and cocky, warning Kanji that failure to get a girlfriend within the year will result in the end of the Yarahata family line. Torn between desperation and disbelief, will Kanji heed Aiya’s words and will Aiya’s advice finally help Kanji land a girlfriend?
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Love Theory is a balls to the wall kind of funny and outrageous, with its first few pages full of semi naked girls, and our introduction to our protagonist being rather, erm, intimate as you may notice in the panel above. Just one look at the cover and its little nude men, and you know this story isn’t intended for the faint of heart.
Our protagonist, Kanji, is your manga/anime familiar loser, jobless and loveless, with a circle of friends who are obsessed with gaming and decry any and all interaction with women. They devote themselves to the 2D world and abhor the idea of flirting with real, or as they put it, 3D women. Unknown to his friends though, Kanji does indeed long for a girlfriend, or specifically his idea of an ideal woman and as the manga progresses, we watch him juggle his women-hating friends, and his women-oggling ghost coach, and of course, his secret quest to save his family line.
Kanji starts off cliche, but thanks to the wacky premise, he quickly becomes an entertaining character with his reactions to Aiya and Aiya’s controversial theories and actions. Aiya is the main source of ecchi as he uses his ghostly powers to constantly grope and up skirt women without their knowledge or consent.
Kanji starts work at a convinience store to make up for failing to get into college. There he meets a potential girlfriend candidate, his new boss’ daughter, Saki, who also works at the store. For the first four chapters, we get to see Aiya offering Kanji advice on interacting with Saki and Kanji following them with varying degrees of success, from lending a ear as she rants about her day, to degrading himself with uncouth digs at himself at the hands of his highschool bully. It’s an amusing experience as you get to read how Kanji struggles with his own insecurities, and the lengths he has to go to, trying to successfully execute all of Aiya’s commands and orders.
The art style employs a lot of exaggerated expressions which really help to sell the level of absurdity. The faces alone add to the comedy, and overall, so far, the quality and style of the art really adds to and aids the story.
As a female reader, I wasn’t personally offended by all the ghostly misdemeanor but I think it’s worth a warning for other readers, male or female, who dislike constant inappropriate sexual misconduct being used as a punchline. Then there’s also the women-hating friends and conversations, which I found uncomfortable for two reasons: 1. It’s a tired cliche to have ‘loser’ characters berating ‘3D’ women behind their backs, and 2. It seems to propagate unfair stereotypes and attitudes about unpopular men, and encourage misogynistic thoughts as a valid punchline. I’m not denouncing the entire manga but if there were any parts that seemed controversial or particularly disturbing to me, it would have to be that.
Now back to the good and happy side, we have huge doses of absurd comedy, and shockingly, pretty effective love advice from a rather lecherous ghost. Love Theory has some actually solid advice about how girls and women like to be treated, even if almost all the advice sounded shallow and more like standard behaviour or maybe even a callous ‘formula’ than a personalized effort from a sincere suitor. So even if the comedy doesn’t get you, if you are an aspiring Casanova, you could pick up some tips and tricks. OR, it could help you determine if a guy is genuinely into you, or just going through the motions. Hey, look at what an educational experience this manga could be for different types of people.
Love Theory is a must try for all fans of ecchi humour as it delivers some of the best perverted laughs and love advice with its wacky ghostly love coach and his poor, introverted guinea pig, Kanji. Almost all the flashy and erotic scenes in the first four chapters are played for laughs, and you may soon find yourself secretly cheering on our poor protagonist in his quest for love.
Love Theory is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com