Thursday, June 4, 2015

Review: SO CUTE IT HURTS!! Volume 1


CARTOONIST: Go Ikeyamada
LETTERS: Joanna Estep
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7985-6; paperback (June 2015); Rated “T” for “Teen”
192pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Manga creator Go Ikeyamada's debut manga was Get Love!!, which first appeared in the Japanese manga magazine, Shojo Comic, in 2002.  Her current series, So Cute It Hurts!!, is a gender-bending shojo comedy manga about a twin brother and sister who switch identities.  The series recently made its English-language debut under VIZ Media's Shojo Beat imprint.

So Cute it Hurts!!, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 5) introduces 15-year-old Megumu “Mego” Kobayashi and her twin brother, Mitsuru Kobayashi, the older of the two.  Megumu is a full-on otaku who is also a history nerd.  Mitsuru is a popular and successful high school jock, but he is terrible at history.  The dark-haired Mitsuru concocts the idea that he should put on a blonde wig and dress up as Megumu and attend her school, Tosho High.  Meanwhile, Megumu will wear a dark wig and dress like Mitsuru and take his history exams, thus causing him to get passing grades.

Sounds like a crazy idea, right?  Well, Megumu also thinks so, but is forced to go along with her brother's absurd plan.  Much to her surprise, it works, but what will she do when she finds herself smitten with one of Mitsuru's classmates?

My niece is a big fan of shonen manga like Bleach and One Piece.  Her uncle (me) loves him some shojo manga, especially love stories set in high schools.  As ridiculous as its premise is, the So Cute it Hurts!! manga is an utterly delightful read.

I think what makes So Cute it Hurts!! Volume 1 enjoyable is that it depicts love in full bloom – love that does not take into consideration gender-bending, cross-dressing, or gender.  The heart wants what the heart wants, and the young characters of this story seem willing to look at love and friendship beyond the surface and past the social mores.  So Cute it Hurts!! is a catchy title, but it does not convey this manga's numerous comic and romantic possibilities.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux - support on Patreon.

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