ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Love and Heart,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Love and Heart Volume 1

Messy romances are par for the course for both shoujo and josei, but Love and Heart Volume 1 embraces that with a sinister twist that you question from start to finish. Love and Heart Volume 1 is created, written, and illustrated by Chitose Kaido, published and localized in English by Yen Press, translated by Alethea and Athena Nibley, and features letters from Kimberly Pham.

The series follows college freshman Yoh Yagisawa immediately during and after her messy breakup. Dumping a cheating boyfriend is never easy, and it’s a little bit harder when you get a mysterious text message about the cheating. But all of that becomes even more complicated when she returns home only to find she has an unexpected male roommate. Introducing himself as her old childhood friend who moved abroad when he was seven, handsome Haruma Hirose is back to do a homestay. Of course, he’s there with the approval of her unreachable and hardworking mother with no confirmation.

But how bad can it be? He’s totally hot, super-nice, and always there when Yoh’s in trouble. But that’s a premise that is all too simple. When the secret that the family in the house Haruma claims to have lived in committed suicide years ago is revealed, Yoh begins to question if his involvement in her life is a little too perfect and too well-timed.

When it comes down to it, Love and Heart Volume 1 focuses on a love story that dances between wholesome and thriller-focused. Kaido can walk the line so that there are moments where the story feels like a simple shoujo, but when the potential danger begins to rise, it warps. Like Yoh, the reader doesn’t know who to trust until the end of the volume. This works to create a stressful read that keeps you engaged and on your toes. To be honest, Haruma is the typical shoujo male protagonist, and because of this, it’s easy to be lulled into a sense of comfort as a reader, let alone for Yoh.

Ultimately, Love and Heart Volume 1 does a lot to set up the story that’s about to happen. There is a stalker, miscommunication, and childhood memories, and they all are combined to create confusion for Yoh. That said, Kaido does a great job at keeping the narrative flow clear enough to follow all of the twists. Instead of being annoyed with Yoh for not solving her issues, Kaido makes sure that we understand that Yoh is capable. This is important because, too often, female leads in manga are purposefully unaware, but with Yoh, she confronts her stalker and listens when people warn her about the potential secret that Haruma might be hiding. This helps create a story where the reader roots for Yoh and the final chapter ultimately pulls the rug out from under them in a good way.

Overall, Love and Heart Volume 1 is a good read when it comes to potential romance and even more so when it comes to danger. I’m not sure where volume two will go, given the revelation in the volume’s final pages, but I do know that I’ll be picking it up.

Love and Heart Volume 1 is available wherever books are sold on March 30, 2021.


Love of Heart Volume 1
4

TL;DR

Overall, Love and Heart Volume 1 is a good read when it comes to potential romance and even more so when it comes to danger. I’m not sure where volume two will go, given the revelation in the volume’s final pages, but I do know that I’ll be picking it up.