ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Love Me Love Me Not,’ Volume 9

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9

Love Me Love Me Not from mangaka Io Sakisaka started with miscommunication, messy crushes, love quadrangles, and confusion. But over the course of the series, we’ve seen our characters grow, embrace their feelings, and begin to open up. Now, Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9 continues the course by showcasing the two couples we’ve been following on a romantic holiday.

Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9 is written and illustrated by Sakisaka, localized and published in English by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint, and features an adaptation by Nancy Thistlethwaite, translation by JN Productions, with lettering and touch-up art by Sara Linsley. In this volume, love and friendship have become a little more complicated for Yuna, Akari, Rio, and Kazuomi. While Yuna and Rio are now officially dating and have been communicating, Yuna’s insecurities begin to resurface as she spends her first Valentine’s day with Rio. On the other side of things, having grown closer over the last two volumes, Akari plans to give Kazuomi chocolates, but a series of unfortunate events thwart her plans.

When I read the description of Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9, I was worried. The strongest part of the series has been how much care Sakisaka has put into Yuna and Akari as characters. Sakisaka has developed them beyond the tropes they represented at the beginning of the series –the hopeless romantic and the cynic – and has done so at a natural pace. So when I read that Yuna’s insecurities that she has fought hard to overcome and that Akari’s budding romance with Kazoumi hits a rough patch, I was worried that the two girls had regressed in their character journeys.

Thankfully though, Sakisaka introduces new conflict in this high school romance in a way that makes sense. For starters, Yuna’s rising insecurities come from her relationship progressing with Rio. She goes into his room for the first time, they spend more time alone together, celebrate his birthday, and have their first Valentine’s Day. But with a world of firsts also comes the rising pressure of being a good girlfriend. While old insecurities like being “good enough” rise when the girls around her very vocally share that she isn’t good enough for Rio.

While Yuna is very much back in the mindset she was at the beginning of the series; it’s not because she naturally lost faith in herself or trust in Rio. In fact, her fears and insecurities are pushed on her by others around her. From mean girls to friends, having to continually tell yourself your insecurities are just in your head while those around you confirm them is difficult. This leads to an emotional confrontation between Rio and Yuna that allows them both to open up to each other more and helps Yuna realize that her insecurities impact others and not just herself.

The only frustrating element to Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9 is the lack of communication between Akari and Kazuomi. Having bonded and opened up to each other in the last volumes, their relationship seems to have regressed, with the two of them refusing to vocalize their crush on one another. In standard shojo romance form, the lack of communication leads both of them to make assumptions that stunt their growth and hinders their romantic progress.

That said, Kazuomi gets more than a push from Akari’s ex to finally start moving, while Akari does what she can to support those around her instead of dealing with emotions about what is happening in her life.

Overall, Yuna and Rio’s chapters of Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9 are great. We see conflict and resolution that is more than relatable if you weren’t a popular kid in high school. Rio’s commitment to assuring Yuna is not only adorable but shows that he is dedicated to putting her first while also taking into consideration that because she was his confidant in his last crush, his words may take a different meaning. That said, with Akari, who has been a standout character in the last couple of volumes, there is so much more to be desired from the storytelling – well, mainly, I don’t need her and Kazuomi to kiss. I just need them to talk.

Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9 is available wherever books are sold on July 6, 2021.

Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9
3.5

TL;DR

Overall, Yuna and Rio’s chapters of Love Me Love Me Not Volume 9 are great. We see conflict and resolution that is more than relatable if you weren’t a popular kid in high school. Rio’s commitment to assuring Yuna is not only adorable but shows that he is dedicated to putting her first while also taking into consideration that because she was his confidant in his last crush, his words may take a different meaning. That said, with Akari, who has been a standout character in the last couple of volumes, there is so much more to be desired from the storytelling – well, mainly, I don’t need her and Kazuomi to kiss. I just need them to talk.