Title: Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku
Review: So, it isn’t often that manga appears on NetGalley but as soon as it does I request it without hesitation as I am a huge otaku myself (my OTP now is a three-way tie between Victor and Yuuri from YOI or Aoba and Koujaku or Aoba and Noiz from DRAMAtical Murder). So, we are introduced to Hirotaka and Narumi who were friends back in elementary school and are both hardcore otakus. If you don’t know what an otaku it, it is a young person who is obsessed with computers or aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills or basically a hardcore gamer. Narumi is also a fujoshi – a self-mockingly pejorative Japanese term for female fans of manga and novels that feature romantic relationships between men. While Narumi decides to hide the fact, she is an otaku from everyone except Hirotaka because her boyfriends kept dumping her because of it, Hirotaka is out and proud about being an otaku.
As this manga series centres around romance I am almost 100% sure that at some point Hirotaka and Narumi will become a couple. And they do quite quickly although they disguise it as helping each other out with their individual otaku clicks and I was actually really excited to see where this relationship was going. Normally, I am not a fan of romance with the major exception of being a fujoshi myself (sigh!) However, their best friends are also in a relationship making double dates super easy but this manga while using some obscure references that only otaku will understand also makes references to very mainstream anime/manga series like neon genesis evangelion.
Narumi and Hirotaka’s relationship develops a little strangely at first because the transition from friends to couple is a little weird for them but they begin to work with instead of against their own unique quirks. One of my favourite parts so far is when Narumi sells her own BL comic and Comiket which is a bit like Comic Con and Hirotaka helps her finish her story and then travels to the event with her as a dedicated boyfriend would and it was just a completely cute and adorable scene. I already know that I will most definitely be continuing with this series.
Despite the hardships their relationship faces we see Narumi and Hirotaka develop a relationship that neither has ever had before and I also love seeing the relationship between Hanako and Kabakura. The first five episode make up the first volume and all of them were amazing and it has a realistic vibe, what I mean by that is the characters and the situations they find themselves in could happen anywhere in everyday life they don’t seem really out there and unrealistic like other (romance) manga. I also really loved the bonus comic strips that follow some of the episode they are funny and the references they make are just hysterical.
In the second volume we re-join the couple’s in the everyday lives and as all four of them are otakus they get along quite well although they have their differences for example, Hanako is really into cosplay and wants Kabakura to cosplay with her but he refuses because it would be embarrassing however, he is the only one of the group that hasn’t actually done any cosplay even Hirotaka has done a gender swap cosplay and damn he looked good.
We are also introduced to a new character Naoya also known as Nao who is Hirotaka’s younger brother by seven years who was also great friends with Narumi. I really loved the scene where Kabakura is sure that Nao is hitting on Narumi but then he thanks her for dating his older brother because he hasn’t found anyone he has connected with before, she is the only person. There was also a funny scene where Hanako bribes Kabakura into getting into a gender swap cosplay and I just found myself laughing out loud. I also liked the types of games played within this series they don’t stick to one type or genre. They play a range of games from solo handheld games to multi player MMORPG games. However, Nao is the odd one out as he is a non-otaku and is awful at games so is often left by the side-lines when everyone else is playing but isn’t salty about it he even enjoys watching other people be happy.
We also learn more about our characters like the fact that both Hirotaka and Narumi fear thunder and the first heartbreak Hirotaka had was when Narumi started dating other guys and not him although he never expressed his feelings. However, the heartbreaking thing was he went and got his ear pierced because her boyfriend at the time had piercing and she still didn’t notice him in that way making him feel terrible and she still isn’t aware of this, poor Hirotaka.
In the final section of this volume, we begin to see Hirotaka questioning whether he and Narumi are actually dating or whether they are friends who say they are dating so he formally invites Narumi on a date and she accepts. I can’t wait to read Volume 3 of this series, it is seriously funny with amazing artwork and compelling characters. If you want a funny, realistic manga then I highly recommend Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku.
Buy it here:
Kindle Edition: Volume 1 – Amazon.co.uk
Kindle Edition: Volume 1 – Amazon.com
I recieved this review copy from NetGalley