My Love Mix-Up has showcased the cuteness and wholesomeness that can come from a misunderstanding. Sure, miscommunications are extremely commonplace in shoujo but for this series, the misunderstanding directly results in two characters finding out more about who they are. And in My Love Mix-Up Volume 2, the characters get right to the point and the misunderstanding is cleared up. Yes, all cleared up in just Volume 2, but that’s not the end.
My Love Mix-Up Volume 2 is written by mangaka Wataru HInekuri and illustrated by mangaka Aruka. The series is published and localized in English by VIZ Media through their Shojo Beat imprint, though it was initially published in 2019. The Shojo Beat Edition of My Love Mix-Up Volume 1 features an adaptation and translation from Jan Cash, touch-up art & lettering by Inori Fukuda Trant, design by Yukiko Whitley, and is edited by Nancy Thistlewaite.
In Volume 1, Aoki who has a crush on Hashimoto borrowed her eraser and sees she’s written the name of another boy—Ida—on it. Then Aoki dropped the eraser and Ida, saw his name. Ida thinks that Aoki likes him and Aoki plays along to protect Hashimoto. It’s a meet-cute misunderstanding that pushes both Ida and Aoki to explore who they are. For Ida, he has to see how he feels learning that another boy likes him and he meets it seriously, taking time to think it over and trying to create a friendship with Aoki. And for his part, Aoki has to manage emotions awakening in him, not for Hashimoto, but for Ida instead.
My Love Mix-Up Volume 2 resolves this central conflict: who likes who. Aoki learns fully that Hashimoto likes another person whose name was erased partially, and he also confesses to Ida that everything was well a lie. Thankfully though, that’s not where this story ends. Instead, Hinekuri explores what these budding emotions mean, and how both boys put connection and empathy above gender. In truth, My Love Mix-Up is an adorable manga that like Blue Flag, deals with concepts of budding romance and how we process that when it’s not fitting to the heteronormative fairy tale. Unlike Blue Flag though, at least this far, the angst isn’t there. Instead, Both boys are honest with each other, and over the course of this volume, become friends, even if there is something more growing between them.
Hinekuri writes their characters with a tenderness and understanding that shows clear intention: people growing closer. This is one of the striking elements of the series really, every character is threaded together and instead of straining these connections, Hinekuri builds them stronger. Every character has an empathy that drives them and ultimately makes the cast entirely likable. To add comedy though, Aruko’s illustration perfectly captures exaggerated features and expressions. And while the chibi elements stand out in moments of humor, Aruka’s ability to illustrate a softness in the characters’ faces in their interactions that helps the emotion in the story ring true to the reader.
BL is a genre that oftentimes gets labeled only explicit content, and while that content is great in and of itself, telling mature romances, there is an importance shonen-ai holds on that spectrum. Shonen-ai like My Love Mix-Up can be important to help younger readers navigate their queer identities through media. In this series, questioning and being open to romance no matter the gender is a strong message of connecting with people and being open to who they are and how they feel in an empathetic way—even if you can’t return their feelings. Having cleared up the misunderstanding so early in the series, I can’t wait to see just where the story goes next.
My Love Mix-Up Volume 2 is available wherever books are sold now.
My Love Mix-Up Volume 2
Having cleared up the misunderstanding so early in the series, I can’t wait to see just where the story goes next.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.