ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Ima Koi: Now I’m In Love,’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

ima koi volume 2 - but why tho

Ima Koi: Now I’m In Love is easily my favorite all-ages shoujo title out right now. It’s a breath of fresh air with two characters who like each other and didn’t hesitate to start building a relationship, even if they need to grow in love. Volume 1 showed our heroine Satomi getting over her middle school fears and promising to embrace her feelings by wasting no time confessing to her crush. Enter Yagyu, her crush. Starting with a relationship in the first volume bucked shojo expectations I had going in for this high school romance and the openness of dialogue instead of miscommunication made me extremely excited for Ima Koi Volume 2. 

Ima Koi is written, illustrated, and created by mangaka Ayuko Hatta. Ima Koi Volume 2 is published and localized in English by VIZ Media through its imprinted Shojo Beat, translated and adapted by Jan Mitsuko Cash, and features touch-up art and lettering by Inori Fukuda Trant. In this volume, jealousy is the name of the game, but not the way you would expect from a shojo romance series. Having been a couple for a little while, Yagyu and Satomi have the world in front of them with no constraints of school. It’s summertime and that means a trip to the beach with friends (of course), a heart-throbbing first date, and well, a first sleepover too.

While a lot happens in Ima Koi Volume 2 for Satomi and Yagyu, including a confession that Yagyu has finally fallen in like with our reading lady the story doesn’t feel rushed. With multiple highs in this volume, nothing crashes into a low in the typical melodramatic fashion that I’ve come to expect from the genre.  At the beach, Yagyu’s ex is introduced and instead of having a long and drawn-out jealous miscommunication, both characters discuss it, are open about it, and ultimately move past it. The big thing here is that Yagyu is depicted as a character who understands Satomi when she’s hiding her emotions as much as when she’s upfront with them. This allows him to make her feel safe talking to him and work through it all.

Additionally, a sleepover in just Volume 2 sounds way racier than it gets in Ima Koi Volume 2, but that’s not a bad thing. A few kisses shared add enough romantic tension between the two but ultimately, they both understand how they’ll progress and that they need to talk to each other about it.

My only issue with Ima Koi Volume 2 is that instead of just featuring their first date, Hatta adds Yagyu’s younger sister Juri to the event. And while this isn’t a big tension between the two it is a giant awkward one for Satomi. Juri is awkward in the story for sure and intrusive by inviting herself on their date. That said, for me as a reader, Juri’s attitude was extremely uncomfortable. Illustrated as a more adult-looking younger sister, Juri is constantly touching and all over Yagyu. Add in the comments about being his “one and only” and it’s just too much. This takes place a little over a third of the volume and it’s the biggest damper on an otherwise great story.

Overall, Ima Koi: Now I’m In Love Volume 2 is good when it does what it does best: subverting genre tropes. But it stumbles by adding in a character that definitely needs to not talk about her brother in that romantic a way. Uncomfortable in the end, but a solid developing romance in the front, Ima Koi Volume 2 still has me excited to pick up Volume 3.

Ima Koi: Now I’m In Love Volume 2 is available June 7, 2022 wherever books are sold both digitally.


Ima Koi: Now I'm In Love Volume 2
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TL;DR

Overall, Ima Koi: Now I’m In Love Volume 2 is good when it does what it does best: subverting genre tropes. But it stumbles by adding in a character that definitely needs to not talk about her brother in that romantic a way. Uncomfortable in the end, but a solid developing romance in the front, Ima Koi Volume 2 still has me excited to pick up Volume 3.

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