Book Review: Love & Lies Volume 1

November 27, 2017

Love & Lies Volume 1 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good day today, regardless
of whether you are dealing with the usual monotony or looking for a good deal.

Things have been going fairly well, though it seems like I
will have a busy week, and I can still do what I enjoy.

Recently, I received some credit for Amazon and I used it to
get a few books, one of which was a preorder for a title coming next year, and
I already covered one of the two titles I have from that order.

Today, I will be reviewing the other book, which is called Love & Lies Volume 1 by Musawo.

Yukari Nejima is just an ordinary high school, who does not
stand out as much as the popular kids, with a crush on a classmate that he
might not be able to be with because of a law that assigns people a fianc'e
when they reach age 16, and, after confessing his feelings, he is notified of
who is future wife will be.

However, when he finally meets the person he is supposed to
marry, who attends an all-girls school, he finds out that she too is not so
happy with how things are and she starts goading Yukari into following his
heart, so she can learn about love.

When I first heard about this series, I thought that I would
be in for another typical star crossed lovers for of some kind, and thought I
would probably pass it up, just like I should have ignored Girls' Last Tour,
but knowing that true originality is hard to come by, I decided to give this a
shot.

And after reading this book, I have to say that I really
enjoyed it.

From the moment that I started reading the first few pages,
I was so engrossed in it that I did not what to put it down for any reason,
though I do have to satisfy the needs same as everyone else.

While the first chapter starts off like a typical romance
series, in that the protagonist reveals his or her infatuation with another
character, who we believe will eventually get together towards the end, and
that the conflicts that arise would be how they bond, things actually went in a
bit of a different direction almost right off the bat.

After Yukari asks rhetorically what it means to like
somebody, which is just more of what one would expect to see in a typical romance,
especially one focusing on teen romance, somebody comes in and says that they
are thinking about falling in love, but they will not marry with almost as much
passion as somebody that wants to marry the one they love.

Usually, in a romance series, every character wants to
either get into a serious relationship and end up marrying that person, or just
go about things like usual, so I was almost kind of ready to set this series
aside, because it neither did things differently nor, most important of all,
give of the feeling of being unique, as I already had it in my mind that the
main character would get the girl he wanted.

However, when the mood of being in love was broken by
somebody saying that they would never marry, I was really taken aback and
wondered what exactly was going on, even though the official does mention what
the world in this series like, in that marriage is not based upon love, but
upon who the government says you should marry.

A big problem with anime and manga today is that many of the
new series coming have that feeling of just going with the flow and lack the
fun, intrigue, or feeling of uniqueness that drew my generation to it, much
like Hollywood only cares about putting out movies with more eye candy than
story, are sequels to movies that came before, or remakes of something that was
enjoyed before.

Yes, the anime studios and manga publisher are doing what is
good for them, as they still need money to stay afloat, and not all anime and
manga published today has that feeling of being generic, but that does not
change the fact that they are making themselves more fragile by being safe and
they will eventually lose patrons because all they deliver is just the same as
before, instead of taking necessary risks.

If Musawo had really had things flow exactly like every
other romance story out there, I would have been very angry because I would
have had the same feeling that I had gotten Girls' Last Tour, which felt
more like yet another slice of life series than an amazing work, and I cannot
continue to waste my time on things that lack even the feeling of originality.

Fortunately, Musawo did not do that because what she did
does have some feeling that actual work had been put into this to make it be
able to stand out a bit from the crowd, which gives me reason to give her a big
round of applause.

Hopefully, this series continues to have that feeling of
being just another romance series, because I doubt that the fans of the series,
or even fans of the romance genre, would want to see something that started off
so well turn into something generic.

Then again, this seems to be Musawo's first attempt at a
romance series, as far as I can tell, so she might have just gotten lucky at
delivering such a good start, so I would not be surprised if things start going
downhill, as she is still human, just like the rest of us.

I also liked how I was able to get quite a few laughs from
this book.

While it did not seem to be entirely unique, when compared
with other anime and general, Musawo executed the comedic moments well enough
that they seemed genuine funny, from the usual hesitation of confessing one's
feelings to the things that were a little surprising to see.

The funniest of which, other than the way this series
started out, was when Yukari met the person the government said he would marry.

After finding out who he would be partnered up with,
Yukari's parents arrange a meeting with the girl and her parents and they do
not seem to get along too well, but then the two of them go off, at different
times, and they start talking about what love is like and Lilina, the person
betrothed to Yukari, asking Yukari about the girl he liked and even has them each
other kiss in front of her, after she meets the girl he talked about, claiming
that she would not bat an eye, yet she gets flustered about the kiss and even
about what the girl of Yukari's dreams liked about him so much, as she did
reciprocate his feelings before Yukari got his notice.

I may not know what every girl is like out there in the
world, though I have formed friendships with many women over the course of my
life, but the ones that I have met over the course of my life want boys to be a
loyal to them as I would want them to be with me, regardless of whether it was
arranged or not, and seeing a girl in this series that is engaged to the
protagonist push him into pursuing a different girl, in order to learn about
love, instead of going through it herself was actually more funny to see than
if she had beaten up Yukari for being unfaithful.

This series is supposed to two people that have feelings for
each other, but cannot be due to the law, which puts people together who may
not in fact love each other, and if Musawo had Lilina be more law abiding, this
series would have probably turned into a love triangle, instead of doing
something that I really liked, and the comedy really would not have stood out
as much, even though I would not really call it that unique, or it would have
no potential to be anything other than generic.

Thankfully, Musawo did not do that, and it ended up allowing
this series to stand out enough that I was actually happy to have given this
series a chance.

Hopefully, the comedy continues to stay as good as it was
here, because I would rather have comedy that feel refreshing, even if it was
not unique, than have comedic moments that were generic in every sense of the
word, and I doubt that I am the only one that feels this way.

The thing that I liked the most though was how it showed
that arranged marriages might not be so great.

Over the course of my life, I have had many elders beat into
my peers and I that marriage is the key to happiness and have tried to hook
people up, when all they do is separate us out into groups to prevent that from
happening, and while many of my elders would probably be happy if everyone got
married, which would mean arranged marriages would have to be universal, they
forget the pains of their own marriages, or even the pain a person would go
through if they were married, as marriage is not meant for everyone.

Now, I will admit that there may be plenty of people that
are happy with their spouse that they got together with through arranged
marriage, but, for some reason, it does not feel right to be, in the case of
this series, forced to marry somebody that you have hardly any feelings for,
because the only way that a bond would be able to established is if the two
were in a situation in which they would have to rely on one another and, in
cases where one person is hard to compromise with, such as people like me, the
one that would be compromising the most would be somebody that may be in the
right, but cannot breakthrough to the person that is so set in their reasoning,
whereas people who have a bond from the beginning would not have just as many
problems and are likely to work together.

In the case of this series, when Yukari and Lilina meet,
Lilina notices that Yukari really is not even giving her the time of day, and
they eventually say that they would rather be with the one they love than who
the government says they should be with, even going so far as to both wondering
what love is exactly, and not being interested in marrying the other.

Seeing these events play out, it reminded me of how my
elders and peers do not realize that I would not be happy in marriage because
there is a high possibility that I would have as much of a hard time accepting
myself because my flaws would be a problem for whoever marries because my
standards are not the standards of my elders or the standards of my church, and
it would make me forget the truth about us as humans, which is that we are
perfect in spite of our imperfection, even more so if it was arranged, as the
compatibility between the personalities and how the two work on a cognitive
level might not be that great.

The arrangement between Yukari and Lilina might work out, as
they do seem to be compatible, but something more than just my limited understanding
of the characters and the story itself screams that this is not right simply
because having people that do not like each other getting married is like
trying to force somebody to become somebody they are not, which would be akin
to telling a loving and omniscient god that he or she made a mistake in
creating that person, which Pastor Rick said in a devotional
about accepting ourselves that can be found on his
website
would be the same as rejecting that god that we consider perfect,
and I would just call things off the moment that I detected the discrepancy.

Because of this, it makes me glad that I live in a country
where I can choose to marry whoever I want and whenever I want, as it allows
the individual to be themselves and find happiness, which will in turn give
them some motivation to help others, and it also makes me want to see what kind
of struggles the characters in this series will go through, in order to find
what makes them happy.

If the issues of arranged marriage never arose, I think I
would have been very disappointed, as arranged marriage is what create the
conflict that the characters are having, and teens are supposed to rebel, in
order to learn what they need to learn, and by getting rid of that, things
would not seem to be very believable.

Fortunately, the possible issues of arranged marriage did
crop up, which means that Musawo still remembered what the premise of series
was all about, and that deserves quite a bit of praise in itself.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that could not be added into what I already
talked about.

Because my interest was captured quickly, by surprising me
with a beginning that is not too usual for romance series, and held it all the
why to the end, there were things to laugh about that were a little different
from the norm, and that the fact that some issues with arranged marriage arose
made me thankful to be in the country where I live, this was a fairly decent
read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
such as typos, nothing really bothered me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there was nothing worth
mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, especially
how it did not start in the same typical fashion as other romance anime or
manga, and not toomuch to hate, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of romance anime and manga, as they
will be able to enjoy how this series does not start out exactly like every
other series, though there are still likely to be some annoyances.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try,
though the first few panels might be very off putting, since it gives the
impression that this will go like every other romance series out there.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on Patreon
or, if you want to see if you would like Love & Lies, buy a copy of
the reviewed title from Book
Depository
, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so
that I can find more worthwhile reads for you guys and possibly see if the
series is really as good as its first volume seems to be.

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