Love Theory Volume 2 Review Discussion
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?
Chapters Synopsis (Spoilers Ahead): Kanji ends the mixer night on a high note as he not only impresses an old high school crush, Nayakama but even finds himself being invited back to her house for the night. Although he manages to get to second base, he is then put through agony as she pulls a vanishing act and doesn’t respond to any of his calls or texts. But with the end of one potential romance, his sights return to Saki-san and help comes to him from more than just Aiya as he sets out to find her the perfect birthday gift.
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Love Theory is best at laying down common sense behaviour in the form of amusing and memorable rules while throwing in a ton of perverted humour and fan service. Volume 2 continues the trend with almost every chapter introducing a new rule or two, each as entertaining as the other. The story picks up right where we left off last, with Yarahata still at the party, still by Nayakama’s side but to his relief, he discovers that her disgusted reaction in highschool had been aimed at his bully and not at him.
The chapter has some solid reaction faces and panels, that I think are its best parts and for fans of exaggerated comical reactions, Love Theory remains a solid source for them. I also appreciated how it has Nayakama turn out to be kinder than one would presume based on her design as the bitchy, pretty girl. What I didn’t like too much about the episode was the extremely ugly appearance they gave to the girl who almost got in the way of Kanji and Nayakama. I get that the humour is in how such a hideous looking girl is the one controlling all these appealing women, but it’s too reminiscent of the trope of how goodlooking=good and ugly=evil. It’s a minor complaint, Love Theory is clearly not a manga for moral discussions and portrayals and I am not villifying it nor am I complaining. I just wanted to point out for those that might want the heads up or as a neutral criticism. It would be ridiculous to examine Love Theory from an extremely morally conscious angle as this comic is filled with offensive and over the top humour and is clearly meant to be read as a light-hearted and naughty comedy.
Moving back to the story, Yurahata’s luck with the ladies is constantly on a rollercoaster..one moment, he seems destined for bootyland, the other, it seems to have devolved into a complete failure. It is impressive how it manages to be rather witty about keeping the reader on its toes, for a story that seems to have such low brow humour. The entire Nayakama arc is one that many of us will relate to, as we watch Kanji go mad waiting for her to text back, something almost everyone of us has gone through at one point in our lives. What makes it all the more frustrating is how close Kanji managed to get with her physically, but if you think about it, seeing how physical the whole encounter was, it’s no surprise that things fell apart. And it wouldn’t be fair to Saki, because if it isn’t already obvious, she’s clearly the one he is going to end up with. That’s something that might irk readers who would have preferred a more subtle approach or hints as to who Kanji is meant to end up with ultimately.
Chapter 12 was my personal favourite in the volume as the honest conversation that Kanji has with Saki feels really intimate and also elicits sympathy. Even if you haven’t been as desperate as Kanji, you get a sense of how frustrated he is with himself and you can’t help but want to comfort him…or maybe you might think he is an idiot and deserved what he got. Either way, Kanji being self aware of his mistakes and pouring his heart out to Saki without any secret agenda made for a touching chapter but readers might still be disappointed with Saki’s response to his lamenting. Personally, I took it as Saki trying to lighten the mood and distract him by changing the topic so he wouldn’t dwell on his sadness any longer..but it still felt like a bit of an unfulfilling end to a chapter that felt so emotional otherwise.
However, if you thought things were getting a little too tragic for you, Chapter 13 really kicks the crazy back to infinity as we have someone make a surprise visit and things go back to the insanity that we started this entire story on. It’s none other than Kanji’s grandfather and we not only get to learn more specific details about the agreement between his grandfather and Aiya, we also watch helplessly as his grandfather tries to get a refund from Aiya for having abandoned Kanji during the Nayakama incident, and also for failing to win him a girlfriend within his promised time period. It’s an all out brawl and pervert showdown as the two engage in battling each other while also harassing every single female they happen to encounter during their fight.
There’s lots of laughs and wtfs to be had for those who enjoy the more naughty and ridiculous kind of gags and it’s insane just how many perverted jokes have been successfully crammed into this one chapter. And wouldn’t you know it, its their perversion that finally brings these two bloodthirsty opponents together again and they agree to work together to help Kanji find love. Our perverted grandfather even reveals his soft side as he shows his own past failure with women and admits that he wants Kanji to experience the joy that true love brings. It’s another cute moment, even if it comes from one of the most perverted characters…and before you know it, Love Theory ends the chapter on a disturbing note.
Renewed by the sweet glimpse into his grandfather’s history (and probably mentally scarred for life from the rest), Kanji resumes his pursuit of Saki, fixating on her to a rather questionable degree. A discovery that her birthday is soon approaching kicks off a new theory, the “surprise theory” and Kanji’s quest to sweep her off her feet with the perfect present. Sure enough, Kanji is back to his clueless ways, getting completely carried away as he comes up with insanely extravagant and even inappropriate gift ideas and Aiya thankfully does his best to dissuade and prevent him from successfully following through on them. It’s another fun and semi-educational chapter with not much to critique as it’s standard fare for Love Theory at this point. If you’ve been loving it so far, you’re going to continue enjoying this arc, but if it has still failed to win you over, there is nothing new or different about this chapter theme wise.
Our last chapter for this volume introduces us to a new character, Morishita Fumina. She’s not only Saki’s close friend but is also blessed with ginormous melons and is a gamer to boot. We also learn that Saki-san is a gamer herself, one really into Monster Hunter, a game that Kanji is into as well. Would you look at that? Is there any more ways she could be the perfect girl? I mean, she’s pretty and kind and a gamer. It’s like she’s almost too perfect to be real. Thank God, this is fictional so of course, she exists. Okay, dialing it down because that sounded pretty sarcastic but as a female who’s a little jaded with stories where girls seem tailormade to compliment and please the male lead, it’s an involuntary response to flinch and wince when I stumble across yet another female romantic interest who seems to be defined mostly by how desirable she is to and for the male character. It’s a personal issue but one I like to point out so that eventually, more stories will have female leads who exist more than to be the trophy gf.
In a surprise development, Kanji’s attempts to get helpful information about Saki’s likes and dislikes from Morishita are interrupted by his female hating friend, Waseda, who then finds himself invited to a group gaming session with Morishita, Kanji and Saki. When Kanji brings it up to Saki later at work, Saki discloses that she needs help with the game but she would love to have everyone over to her place on Sunday so they can all game together. Sunday, as we all find out, is her birthday and while Saki seems to either not realize it or isn’t making a big deal out of it, Kanji is only getting hyped beyond reason and restraint. This new invitation seems to be driving his imagination insane and we end the volume wondering just what this poor, dear boy will finally end up picking up.
It’s a great point to end this volume, as by this point, the reader is bound to be dying of curiosity and/or worry about Kanji’s final choice all thanks to his disastrous ideas so far. Will he make a good choice or will he bomb spectacularly? It’s a surefire way to get me to pick up the next volume, and hopefully, it has got you too. Overall, the story seems to be getting stronger this volume, with a very nice twist midway, and of course another cliffhanger ending. The manga remains as riddled with improper humour and fan service shots and images but the regular journeys into more honest and emotional topics make this story feel more than just a cheap laugh. It continues to be a great comedy for those who enjoy lewd humour, but would also like a little substance and actual story supporting it.
Love Theory is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.