Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > Kiss Him, Not Me!, Vol. 1

Kiss Him, Not Me!, Vol. 1

Kiss Him, Not Me!, Vol. 1Kiss Him, Not Me!, Vol. 1
by Junko
Kodansha Comics, 160 pp
Rating: Teen (13 +)

After undergoing an emotional trauma, Kae returns to school with a new attractive body that gains the attention of her handsome classmates. Sadly, for Kae this isn’t a blessing but a nightmare because her mild exterior hides a dark secret.. Kae’s a fujoshi who enjoys shipping her pretty boy classmates! Now Kae’s shipping fantasies are being derailed thanks to her newly attractive body! From Junko comes the comedy, Kiss Him, Not Me, Vol. 1!

If that premise sounds interesting, then I have some bad news for you. The first few chapters play up the awkwardness of Kae’s fujoshi-hood and obsession with anime, mining her shipping fantasies for some fun comedic moments. This material is really pretty funny and includes my favorite scene in the volume, where Kae “comes out” to the boys as an otaku and fujoshi. Sadly it doesn’t last and halfway through the volume it turns into a fairly typical romantic comedy. There are still a few funny scenes of the pretty boys vying for her affections, such as the group being kicked out of one place after another due to the boys yelling at each other constantly, but most of the jokes feel flat and run of the mill. For example, there’s an entire chapter given over to Kae’s attempt to learn soccer. It lacks the awkward charm of the first half and feels interchangeable with dozens of other romantic comedies. Kae flails about and is incapable of playing soccer. Thankfully one of the pretty boys plays the game and we’re given some awkward moments as he gains a new appreciation for her. A page from Kiss Him, Not Me!, Vol. 1

One of Junko’s strong points throughout the book is her sense of comedic timing. Even some of the cliche and predictable jokes are handled and depicted in such a way that they still get a bit of a smile. The visual pacing, the timing of reactions and visual puns is all really solid. Most of the characters sport the typical, contemporary, shojo look and at times I found myself getting one pretty boy confused with another pretty boy. Their lack of personality didn’t help any either.

Kiss Him, Not Me!, Vol. 1 starts out fairly enjoyable and funny, but stumbles towards the end. It really shines when Junko mines Kae’s shipping fantasies and otaku-ness for humor and the lack of that in the later half, with one notable exception, was disappointing and caused the book to suffer. Hopefully future volumes will be closer the first half of the book in tone, because otherwise it’s just another middle of the road romantic comedy.

Kiss Him, Not Me!, Vol. 1 is available now from Kodansha Comics.

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  1. November 20, 2015 at 8:11 am

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