Nisekoi – First Impressions

Nisekoi 1-3

Always a classic.

Naoshi Komi is a manga creator who I’ve heard quite a lot about. He worked on a short lived series in Weekly Shonen Jump called Double Arts, and he also created a number of one-shots, as many manga artists do. I never got the chance to read his first series, but I have read some of the one-shots he wrote, and I’m starting to understand why this guy has so many fans. His stories have some of the most unique premises I’ve come across, which makes him stand out from the crowd. In fact, the people he reminds me of the most are the protagonists of Bakuman. Simply read the premise of his story Personant and you’ll see what I mean.

The problem I had with his stories, though, is that the ones I’ve read never really offer a lot aside from the unusual premises. It’s been said that a lot of the stories in Bakuman wouldn’t be very interesting if you read them in real life, and I can see why. That’s why I was so interested when I found out his one-shot Nisekoi would be turned into a full series. I knew I had to read this for myself, if only to figure out how the hell you turn that story into a full manga.

The very first thing I noticed when I started this manga was how familiar it all was. I remember an episode of the anime Seitokai Yakuindomo that made fun of how a lot of shojo start off. That’s almost exactly how this manga begins. The two lead characters, Ichijou and Kirisaki, get into a fight outside school only to discover that they’re in the same class, which leads to a number of zany situations.

There are two main differences between this series and the standard formula that I really noticed. The first is the main premise, where the two characters are the children of mafia/yakuza families and must pretend to be going out in order to prevent a mob war. How fun. This was the whole story of the original one-shot, which concluded with the two leads narrowly stopping a conflict by fulfilling a childhood promise. Since that exact promise no longer exists in this version, it’s hard to say how the story will diverge.

There is a childhood promise, though, and this is where the second big difference from the usual formula was. Ichijou owns a special locket with only one key, and that key belongs to a little girl he knew as a kid. Here’s the catch, though: that key does not belong to Kirisaki, but to another friend of Ichijou’s named Onodera. And she’s the girl he had a crush on before the whole mafia business began. And she’s really bad at keeping this secret from him.

Currently, there’s two possible ways I can see the story going. One, Ichijou starts to progressively care more about Kirisaki, to the point where he has to decide between his past love and his present one. It would make for a nice conclusion to the love triangle, especially if the two girls can remain likable. Two, it turns out the locket/key they own was actually mass-produced and every major female character will have a key of their own. This is similar to how Love Hina turned out, though I doubt it will actually turn out like that. Still, it would make for a nice gag or two to have characters realize this possibility.

Naoshi Komi’s reputation has been for coming up with unique ideas, but the problem is that it hasn’t done the best job at showing the uniqueness yet. All the premise has really lead to so far is a lot of over-the-top comedy, and while it’s nice to see the male lead actually yell back at his tsundere love interest, it’d be nicer if they didn’t clearly dislike each other right now. The seeds for an interesting story have been planted, and now we just need to hope that they’ll get the nourishment they need to grow.

The thing I was worried about most of all was whether the series would get canceled before it got interesting. Recent Shonen Jump series have had considerably shorter lifespans than they used to, and I don’t know how long the premise can last here. I recently checked the Shonen Jump rankings and this series has been doing surprisingly well so far. I don’t think it’s dropped below the top 10 yet, and the most recent rankings placed it in the 5th rank. I only have Bakuman to go by, but I assume that’s doing fairly well so far. I have hopes that this series will live up to everything I’ve heard, but it may take time for that to happen. Let’s just hope it gets the time it needs.

Posted on December 28, 2011, in Chapter Discussions, Nisekoi, Series and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I saw this article and decided I had enough time to read the first chapter of Nisekoi. It is so choke full of cliches It was almost unbearable. However the characters saved it.

    he main lead fighting back against his tsudere fake girlfriend was amusing but for once i’d like to see the male actually win against the agressive female with subduing her, i.e she still remains hositle towards him even after being overpowered and losing.

    Do you think you will keep reading?

  2. That manga style, that’s nice! That alone would warrant a read.

    If you add to the top that the premise looks nice…well It’s a must read for me…thanks Yerocha! 🙂

  3. Ok, before i talk about Nisekoi,… you know where to find the Weekly Shounen Jump Ranking’s? Share please!

    Ok, as for Nisekoi, if i talk about this series anymore i’ll just be a broken record. I think that it would do better without the comedy, but chapter 7 was hilarious personally. Actually, I like
    the characters, but i’m starting to feel like this manga is relying on, dare i say it, a bad romantic comedy.

    Here are a few questions that could solve the plot to Nisekoi very simply:

    1. Why doesn’t Ichijou ask Onodera if he can see her key to test it on his locket, thus checking if it actually is the right key, and therefore, the right girl.

    2. If the Yakuza/Gangster Groups really do love their… individual child, for lack of better words, why doesn’t the boss just use that as a means of preventing the war, and speaking of which…

    3. Why don’t the bosses just stop the war themselves. Ok, there will be bad blood between the groups, but they’re the fucking bosses. No one should be going against they’re orders, otherwise, they just really suck at this.

    4. Why did Onodera wait at all to tell Ichijou. It was common knowledge that he carried that locket around, so shouldn’t she have been happy that he was still keeping his promise, that even though they had been seperated, they’re love never died. This is the ending to most Romance stories, but here, its treated like she forgot to take out the trash and now she’s grounded for an indefinite time( yes this is a metaphor for kirisaki and Ichijou dating.)

    And here’s just one small thing i did notice

    5. If Kirisaki is so obsessed with making friends, why isn’t she nicer to Ichijou. Ok, i get it, it a fake romance, she doesn’t really like him, she’s the prideful hardass, but it just doesn’t make any sense here. They both share a similar past, which means that she doesn’t have to hide anything from him, and despite having their differences, they have been shown getting along. I’m not saying this should evolve into an actual romance between them ( Personally, i’m cheering for Ichijou/Onodera myself), but why the fuck doesn’t she at least want to be friends with him. I refer back to the Prideful Hardass comment.

    I still like Nisekoi, i do. It’s still young and has a big chance to grow into a really grand romance series, these are just a few problems i’ve noticed. Anyway, can’t wait for your manga ranking list.

    • Ok, for Question 2, i think i didn’t word that properly. They are technically using there children to solve this war problem, but what i mean is, why don’t they just use the children to pull at the groups heartstrings a little. I guess #2 & 3 could be one question, so sorry for bad typing.

    • Honestly, I just Googled “Shonen Jump Rankings”.

      I don’t think it’s that easy to stop a mob war, considering how hostile the two groups are. Granted, I also don’t think hooking up the children would stop things that quickly, but this is a shonen comedy, so I don’t think it’s supposed to be all that realistic.

      It does feel like it’s going down the romantic comedy route, which I find a little distressing. I think the idea is for Kirisaki and Ichijou to slowly warm up to each other, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

  4. I chuckled at the first picture – the AHHHHHHHHH!! part. Yes, it is always a classic.

    I haven’t read Nisekoi yet, but it sounds like something I would enjoy reading and I just ran a check, seems like I’m not too far behind to catch up.

    • Yes, I mainly wrote this because the series was just starting up and it’s the first time I’ve read a manga from the start. I tried with Silver Spoon once, but it didn’t pan out.

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