Love Roma

Vol: 5; Ch: 32
2003 - 2005
3.984 out of 5 from 123 votes
Rank #5,413
Love Roma

Love Roma is a story of love at first sight—literally. When Hoshino sees Negishi for the first time, he asks her to be his girlfriend. Shocked, Negishi nevertheless agrees to allow to Hoshino to walk her home, where he explains why he is in love with her. Touched, Negishi begins to feel something for this strange young boy from her school.

Source: Del Rey

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Browsing through a lot of Seinen mangas I stumbled upon Love Roma. Slightly curious about this story I sneaked a peek and almost gave up on reading this. The art is ugly, and that's a downer for a romance (I usually mind it less in battle mangas, since they can get some more points during fighting scenes). I decided that if I have to drop it because of the art,  I'll at least sit through one chapter - that sounded fair. To my suprise, after reading one chapter instead of dropping it I've read whole 5 volumes. Good story managed to overcome the art hurdle. Story - 7.5/10   One day, during a lunch break, in the middle of a crowded classroom, confession took place. Negishi, a normal high school girl got confessed by a complete stranger - boy named Hoshino. Though reluctant at first, after walking home together with him, Negishi decided to date him. Now this would be a completely typical high-romance, if not for a tiny detail. Hoshino absolutely doesn't know how to lie. That theoretically redeeming feature turns out to be a real hassle in a relationship. After all - how would you react, if a guy you met few days ago, asked if he thinks about sex with you answered truthfully - "yes, all the time" (let me remind you - we are talking about a relationship in japaneese high school, or rather the "idealised manga version" of it). The boy is not the only problem. To spice things up Negishi gets embarassed easily and gets violent often. That leads to absurd and hilarious situations,that cover half of the comic space. The other half is given to cute and touching scenes, showing the growth of their relationship. Typical "comedy of misunderstandings" is avoided thanks to complete honesty, so their romance can slowly progress in a clumsy and bizarre, but undoubtedly charming way. And  we can watch them dating, studying, meeting with parents, catching a cold (yeah, "the deadly manga cold", that makes you unable to move, strikes again), kissing and interacting with their friends. Think of a normal sets of scenes for any high school romance, combine them with "unusual couple" and you get Lova Roma.   The only thing that really annoyed me was the ending, or rather the lack of it. Usually the mangas of that sort leave the ending half-open. Like showing the day of couple marriage. Or bringing long distance relationship, and ending the manga with scene of them parting (or for more happy ending, with the scene of their reunion couple of months/years later). Or creating some mushy scene where they say they can't live without each other, etc. If you read enough romance manga, you should know the possible half-open endings. But Love Roma doesn't manage to do that. Instead it builds tension and progresses the story towards a point where such an ending is possible, and then stops all of a sudden. It can be compared to climbing a mountain. You walk all the way to the peak and then suprise - there is no peak, you've been cheated.   Art - 5/10   I don't buy the explanation about "simplistic art fitting for simple story". The art is ugly no matter how I look at it. The proportions are often distorted. The eyes are simply made of an ellipse, circle and a disk. Unless it is a "specially emotional shot", the facial expressions are ugly. At first I thought I'd give a 4 here, but I raised it to 5 for a single reason. Once you get used to the art, the main heroine have some cute moments.  Characters - 8/10 Honest and gullible Hoshino, together with cheerful but violent Negishi make a really cute couple. Their interactions with each other make them grow quite a bit, on the course of 5 volumes of this manga. Even though they are unusual, they still feel very human. They get jealous, they get lonely, they don't know the answer to everything. Through trial and errorr they learn, how it's like to be in a relationship, and why do they even want to be in one. This is the kind of couple that you can't help but root for. The side cast also have some role to play, though they seem a bit more artificial. It's short story though, so I didn't expect much depth from the background characters. The most enjoyable from this bunch are Negishi and Hoshino's best friends - Tsukahara and Youko. Their cynical personality, and constant attempts of teasing the main couple are really amusing. Overall 7.5/10   If you're looking for a cute romance to pass some time, you came to the right place. There isn't any serious drama, scheming love rivals or bullying, so typical to the shoujo romance genre. You won't find fanservice, constant misunderstandings and accidents or indecisivness, that shounen romance is so full of.  This is a light and heartwarming story,  with slightly absurd and slightly serious relationship, that will make you smile. And this manga have some of the most charming quotes describing relationships/feelings I've read in some time (even though they don't discover anything, that haven't been said before in a different manner). I fully recommend this manga.

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