Love is complicated, and first loves almost never go as planned. In Love Me Love Me Not Volume 2, from mangaka Io Sakisaka and published in English by VIZ Media for their Shojo Beat imprint, we see love through the eyes of two teens, Yuna and Akari. In this series, Yuna is dreaming of fairytale princes and love at first sight while Akari is more down to earth and an advocate for making love happen instead of waiting for it to happen to you. In volume one, we got to know the girls, their personalities, and the love interests who have entered the story, mainly Rio, Akari’s younger brother. However, when the volume ends, we learn Rio’s secret love is Akari and we’re left hanging and thrown for a loop just like Yuna is.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, but the two siblings are not in fact related by blood but instead through marriage. A common trope in romance manga, Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 2 goes beyond that by detailing not only with Yuna’s feelings towards Rio but also diving into his feelings and giving him a solid reason that fleshes out the story instead of using the brother-sister trope as a shock for drama. In this volume, we learn more about Rio and Akari’s relationship as siblings, their parents, and why Rio has not only held in his feelings but why he has them in the first place.
In Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 2, love and friendship gets extremely complicated. It’s clear that Yuna is in love with Rio and while it would be easy to leave this as the center of the story, Sakisaka instead makes Yuna into a dynamic character with a tremendous amount of compassion. While Yuna knows that Rio can’t return her feelings, she doesn’t let that keep her from being the best friend she can to him. There are awkward moments after she confesses in the early chapters of the volume, but instead of avoiding him and fueling more drama, Yuna decides to be what she can be for him and not push for more. It hurts to love, but the real heart of the story is the way relationships that aren’t ideal can still be exactly what you need.
While Yuna is dealing with channeling her romantic feelings into a bond of friendship, Akari is trying to realize what exactly her own definition of love means for her. Akari is the pragmatist instead of the romantic. She doesn’t dream of princes and she doesn’t look for love at first sight. This was quickly established in volume one. Now in Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 2, we realize that Akari is more vulnerable than she lets on and struggling just as much as Yuna to make sense of her emotions. Are infatuation and love the same? And if it isn’t, has she been in love before?
There is a dichotomy between Yuna and Akari that is both wonderfully complex and thinly separated. With Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 2, Sakisaka does a wonderful job of both deconstructing young love and giving readers two characters that while extremely different are both exploring relationships in meaningful ways. There is never a moment where Akari’s pragmatic nature is made to seem fickle or bad and Yuna is never stuck in her naivete nor chided for it. Both girls are valid for their emotions and for their dreams.
Overall, Sakisaka’s Love M,e Love Me Not Volume 2 is a wonderful collection of chapters that beautifully explores bonds between people. The love and friendship in this series are both enjoyable, cute, and contains layers that each character is navigating. If you’re looking for a lovely shojo about young love and the struggles in it, this is one series to move to the top of your reading queue.
Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 2 is available from online booksellers May 5, 2020.
Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 2
Sakisaka’s Love Me Love, Me Not Volume 2 is a wonderful collection of chapters that beautifully explores bonds between people. The love and friendship in this series are both enjoyable, cute, and contains layers that each character is navigating. If you’re looking for a lovely shojo about young love and the struggles in it, this is one series to move to the top of your reading queue.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.