In Love Me, Love Me Not, from mangaka Io Sakisaka and published in English by VIZ Media for their Shojo Beat imprint, we see love through the eyes of two teens, Yuna and Akari. In this series, Yuna is dreaming of fairytale princes and love at first sight while Akari is more down to earth and an advocate for making love happen instead of waiting for it to happen to you. But in Love Me Love Me Not Volume 3 the roles have begun to switch as Yuna moves to be practical and Akari begins to tackle a new kind of love, one that’s more fairytale than rational.
Last volume, love, and friendship got extremely complicated. While it was clear that Yuna is in love with Rio she knows that Rio can’t return her feelings. Instead of letting it ruin their friendship, she shows her love being there for him and being the best friend she can be. Having confessed, their dynamic may have gotten a little awkward but their friendship is just as strong.
The drama in Love Me, Love Me Not comes from the very manga trope of Rio and his crush, Akari, being related by marriage. This complicates Yuna’s relationships with both of them and makes Akari’s growing love for Inui, Yuna’s childhood friend who she keeps trying not to fall for. This attraction grows despite the fact that he’s very different from her usual type and seems completely uninterested in love.
When Rio learns that Akari likes Kazuomi, he is not only saddened but angry. While Yuna tries what she can to help alleviate Rio’s pain, it’s all for not, with the volume ending with a moment that has shifted the course of the story – Rio confronting Akari with his truth.
Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 3 is a wonderful piece of the story as each character, other than Kazoumi, begins to shift the archetypes they walked into the series with. While we have been watching Yuna mature since the first chapter, adjusting her longing for a prince to reality, Akari’s development has been slow. While Yuna has learned that platonic love and friendship is sometimes stronger than the romantic relationship she longs for, Akari is the opposite.
Over the course of this volume, Akari has taken Yuna’s rose-colored glasses and as she tries to reason herself out of love with Kazoumi, she decides to give in to the love. Confused by being the type of girl she used to make fun of and by the fact that Kazoumi is nothing like those she’s crushed on in the past, Akari is unsure of just about all of her decisions in this volume. She even pushes herself to her breaking point to gain her crush’s attention.
This strong change in character could have easily been written simply as another trope, a girl changing herself for a cute boy. But the strength of Sakisaka’s writing is that this shift in Akari’s life isn’t done on a whim, instead, she fights with herself. Akari holds herself to a standard she holds from love, one from logic, and her feelings for Kazoumi pushes against this and she doesn’t accept them without a fight. Because of this, Akari doesn’t lose herself in the male character – something that happens all to often in romance shojo.
On the other side of things, Yuna’s focus on being a good friend to Rio is proving difficult. When he chooses to stay behind to help her and the other small acts of kindness he shows to her pushes her affections from platonic to romantic. But she keeps herself in check, prioritizing this emotional wellbeing above her own.
Overall, Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 3 continues an emotional story told through dynamic characters. It explores the changing tides of love and how the relationships we form can shift at the drop of a hat and how friendship is the only stable factor.
Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 3 is available form booksellers July 7, 2020.
Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 3
Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 3 continues an emotional story told through dynamic characters. It explores the changing tides of love and how the relationships we form can shift at the drop of a hat and how friendship is the only stable factor.