A josei thriller is just what I had been looking for, and Love and Heart has been delivering. If you’re unfamiliar, the series follows college freshman Yoh Yagisawa immediately during and after her messy breakup. Right after the break-up, which was sparked by a mysterious text, she returned home and found an unexpected male roommate, Haruma Hirose, who introduced himself as an old childhood friend who moved abroad after a tragedy. While the last volume showed us how nice and charismatic Haruma was, it ended on an ominous note, and Love and Heart Volume 2 picks up by unwinding the twist at the end.
Love and Heart Volume 2 is created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Chitose Kaido. The volume is localized and published in English by Yen Press. It features translation by Alethea & Athena Nibley and lettering by Chiho Christie. In this volume, Yoh has eased her doubts about Haruma and has begun letting her guard down. She’s opening up to him and relaxing. She has no idea that he’s actually the person behind the stalker incident. But when Yoh begins to assist the University Students’ Union, she finds herself in trouble once again. The group’s vice president, Kunie-senpai, has a grudge against her—and he’s threatening to take it out on Sawako if she doesn’t do as he says.
The crux of the conflict in this volume is that Yoh is being isolated. From one end, Haruma is doing what he can to get his competition, Yoh’s friend Touya, out of his way. By pushing him from Yoh’s life, one of her friends becomes unreachable. On the other side, she has the terrifyingly obsessive and exploitive Kunei, a leader in the Student Union who is spreading rumors about Yoh, blackmailing her into doing his work, and ultimately isolating her from everyone. This tension in Love and Heart Volume 2 is uncomfortable to read, as you see Yoh become beholden to everyone around her. She’s helpless.
In truth, Kaido keeps Yoh stuck in her trope, a clueless female lead who is consistently in danger and not really in control of the world around her. While this could be awful in one way due to the very slow growth towards agency, the truth is, it pushes the fear. The reader worries about Yoh, and Haruma seems like the only escape for her. Isolated, when he’s the only one there, she has to turn to him.
Love and Heart Volume 2 is unsettling because you can see a future where Haruma completely consumes Yoh. While the volume’s opening shows him orchestrating getting close to Yoh, the rest of the volume has him working as a guardian angel – until, in the last pages, he shows his colors again.
Now, Love and Heart Volume 2 isn’t a complete horror show; it is psychological in a way that gets at you differently than, say, a horror manga like Can’t Stop Cursing You. While I want to see where the story goes, it’s getting more uncomfortable, and Yoh’s pushover attitude and closeness to Haruma is like impending doom. That said, if you’re into psychological thrillers with slow-burning elements, then Love and Heart is a story for you.
Love and Heart Volume 2 is available now wherever books are sold.
Love and Heart Volume 2
While I want to see where the story goes, it’s getting more uncomfortable, and Yoh’s pushover attitude and closeness to Haruma is like impending doom. That said, if you’re into psychological thrillers with slow-burning elements, then Love and Heart is a story for you.
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.