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):
With the nature of this arc within Nisekoi, well, you know how things are going to go to a degree. Talking things out and coming to a resolution? In manga? Pfft. C’mon. While credit is due to Raku for trying and going about it earnestly enough with Marika’s mother, the results were in before the attempt. Shinohara knew that well enough and says so here, hence her setting up plans within plans like the little mastermind she is. I did like that even after realizing the scale of the problem that they face that Raku tried to deal with things in the honorable way, something that even Marika’s father tried to do. Which, of course, landed him in the same cell. But all of this has been like a funnel to get us to the point where things have to go where they inevitably will.
And that means busting up the wedding itself before the marriage can happen. The group comes to this naturally enough with Raku leading the discussion and we get some good material about how he’s thought this through to protect not only Marika but himself and the others for the time being. It’s his welcome thoughtful side that shines through and you can appreciate that he does go the distance for everyone and tries to shoulder the brunt of the problems they’ll face. Which is also why it’s expected that Chitoge and Tsugumi will knock the snot out of him over it. This group has all come here with an end goal of their own and they all intend to follow through on it no matter the consequences. And that’s good to see play out, though obviously some are more vocal than others. In the end, it simply erases the doubt and lets it move forward.
Not that we get much of an actual plan here, but it at least starts to get figured out. What we see is that some pieces have been put into play already knowing that it would go this route. Amusingly, that means Onodera and Miyamoto have already been brought here in secret to work inside the household and help set up for things. The dynamic between the two is fun since Onodera is just worrying about doing all of this yet still going along with it because of her general trust and friendship in everyone. We also get the nod, once again, to something larger going on with Marika as Tsugumi confronts, lightly, Shinohara about it. Not that anything is revealed, but the two agree that they know more than the rest that will be revealed later. It’s not subtle yet it plays out in standard but solid form to add a little more tease to it all, room for a potential twist.
Nisekoi continues its forward momentum with this arc and while there’s no surprises here it does work smoothly and well. Komi’s artwork continues to be appealing enough here in a general sense, but with it working as many characters as there are and situations as they unfold, well, there’s not a lot of time for strong character artwork material. They all come across well and I’m not saying it has a rushed look to it, but it’s kept straightforward enough so that it can hit the points needed and still look like it should look like. I’m curious to see how far they’ll go in things and if there will be any larger ramifications, but I’m still mostly expecting a reset to zero for the most part by the time the arc is done. It’ll still be a fun ride even if I do wish for more meaning.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media via Weekly Shonen Jump from ComiXology
Release Date: October 5th, 2015