A very odd but absolutely charming shojo manga came to my attention recently and once I read up the most recently published volume, I knew I had to tell somebody about it. I picked up volume one of My Love Story!! or as some recognize it’s Japanese name: Ore Monogatari. “Adulthood sucks a lot recently so let’s pick up some shojo manga and not think about my responsibilities,” I thought to myself as I started reading. A few volumes of manga later I was convinced that the misadventures and hilarity that sixteen-year-old Takeo Gouda, who stands over six feet and weighs a little over two hundred and fifty pounds, experiences regarding his first love needed the BNP treatment.
Warning: some spoilers ahead, of course.
Don’t Be THAT guy OR the one right next to him, yeah you know what I’m talking about. INSTEAD be the guy that actively stops things like this and corrects the bad behavior when it’s happening. In volume five, Saijo, a female classmate is playing basketball with the other girls on one side of the gym. Takeo, who is an athlete himself, knows how concentration is key to doing well. When he catches his fellow classmates openly being gross, he nips that in the bud and goes about his day. This is manga and originally I was thinking that this scene was probably meant to be for comic relief, but then I remembered that the writer is, in fact a woman: Kazune Kawahara. Would it really be so far-fetched to assume that she as a writer, wanted to show the things that guys do to girls that don’t sit well and see how another guy reacts (appropriately)?
From the first pages of the first volume I could tell that Takeo is a hulk of a character. Excelling at just about every sport that he was involved in at school, his size, strength, and agility made him a monster — in terms of winning. On the streets, on the subway, and just about everywhere else, his size makes people do a double take. In fact, he can’t help a young mother who’s attempting to get her baby via stroller up temple stairs as a good Samaritan without the general pubic thinking he’s a kidnapper?! Behind the Andre the Giant like stature is a kind, gentle-hearted young man who is constantly turning people’s perspectives on their heads. These panels above really demonstrate how much he’s not a threat. The small furry folk don’t think he’s a predator at all. He’s really a big ol’ teddy bear.
This guy literally wears his heart on his sleeve, er, shirt. Whatever. But real talk, he’s so freaking transparent to the point where you just see him for who he is by how he experiences life and love for the first time. When his girlfriend stops and is reminded of their anniversary and speaks on some of the firsts that they’ve had together, he just becomes a marshmallow. FLUFF! Bonus: In the panel above there is a young lady being harassed by some dude. In the next panels, it escalates and Takeo steps in and SHUTS THAT ISH DOWN.
So listen up, in order to get funds to buy his first girlfriend a birthday gift, this kid goes looking for a part-time job. What he ends up with is being a waiter for a themed cafe, called Bro Cafe Machos where the clientele are
mostly men men from what I’ve seen and daisy dukes, cut off jeans shorts are part of his uniform. LIKE….I CAN’T MAKE THIS UP. What’s more hilarious is that he’s always so eager to go to work and be productive in his first job…he’s just really happy to be there. You can’t fault him here. ALSO? there’s cosplay. Of this very outfit. Thank me later.
When Mama Gouda says that she’s got it, trust and believe SHE’S GOT IT. Takeo finds out that his mother is pregnant and that he’s going to be a big brother soon. As such, he attempts to aid her as she does her everyday tasks such as shopping and bringing home bags laden with groceries and goodies. But she stops him and tells him that she’s got this. (P.S. She also used to be an amateur wrestler back in the day.) I love that Takeo is an active listener when it comes to his mom. He may not understand the process of the female body in labor, or even what women’s bodies go through on a regular, day-to-day basis but he takes his mom’s word for it and trusts her. Lastly he does acknowledge that her feat is amazing (WHICH. IT. IS) and allows her to do her thing.
In regards to Takeo’s personality, what he demonstrates is that while he is athletic as all hell, he does love to entertain his friends and all the people he loves, which in most cases is him impressing everyone. But he isn’t arrogant with it and while it baffles people who don’t know him, he never ceases to stop amazing all the people who call him friend, classmate, and everything else under the sun. Throughout the manga (and anime!) there are a lot of fun moments like this that are so fun to read. I can only imagine that life is surely never boring with him around.
Cheers cheers for Takeo!