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):
The quest to help Marika is one fraught with dangers to be sure and we got a decent dose of that the last time around with Tsugumi facing down Honda. There were some nice design elements to it and it provided a decent enough fight, but you knew from the get go that it was essentially a delaying tactic in order for Raku and Chitoge to try and get to Marika. The plus side was that it gave Tsugumi a chance to shine and for us to get to know Honda a bit better. Not that we got a lot of depth because Nisekoi is not a series about depth. It’s a straightforward comedy series that lucked into a very stylish anime adaptation that helped to elevate the work.
With this chapter, the forward momentum is definitely there for Raku and Chitoge as they comically manage to avoid capture, even though Honda’s assessment of them is largely right. What we get to see is that these two definitely have a certain kind of fun to how they work together, tension and all, making them enjoyable to watch as they practically argue out loud while trying to hide. What their sequence does end up doing though is separating the two because the residence simply have too many men in black that can clog up the hallways and stop them. The amusing part is that Chitoge recognizes this and realizes that Raku is the one best suited to getting through to Marika’s mother. And to do that, she has to chuck him up a good level of the residence while they’re outside of it on one of the roofs. It completely reminded me of the old X-Men Fastball Special material, though Raku was a bit more surprised here by it.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take long for Raku to come across her mother and get into things with her. Well, there’s a slight delay because she looks like she’s younger than Marika or possibly the same age and that’s just a worn cliche that’s still dull. What we get from their lengthy exchange before Honda shows up is that she’s intent on Marika following through on her promise because she herself, and quite a few women prior to her, have all lived that life. She even makes it clear that Marika has had it better than all the rest of her female ancestors and should be happy about that. It’s not easy for Raku to reconcile at all and his ability to grasp that she’s really disconnected from the true feelings of her daughter is hard for him to believe. I do suspect that we’ll get something where she “comes to her senses” or reveals she truly feels otherwise, but I’d rather they just make her cold and unfeeling because that’s how she’s been bred to be by the family, a bit of honesty about it that can be explored, and how she’s intent on doing the same to Marika because it’s how she was raised and to do otherwise would be wrong. The opportunity to explore interesting ideas is here but I suspect Komi will go for the easier comedic/heartwarming route.
Nisekoi gives us the basic reveals that we could already guess or were alluded to in different forms previously in this arc with Marika and how her mother intends to follow through on the promise made. It’s not bad but I just keep seeing how it’s going to go for the path of least resistance and challenge, both for the creator and for the audience. There are a number of fun moments to be had here, especially with Raku and Chitoge together in the first quarter of it, and I’m enjoying seeing Raku being forced into really thinking about the position he’s in and what he’s trying to do, even with the rightness of it and how destructive that can be in certain ways. Komi’s artwork continues to be a lot better than most other weekly series if only because there’s more attention to various backgrounds and a sense of activity around the characters that keeps it from being a lot of white background material. I also like that he slowed things down here with Marika’s mother rather than making it a number of witty rejoinders while avoiding Honda. I’m curious to see which path Komi will take and what the end result will be, even if the status quo is what it is.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media via Weekly Shonen Jump from ComiXology
Release Date: September 21st, 2015