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'My Love Mix-Up!' Vol. 2 review
Viz Media

Manga and Anime

‘My Love Mix-Up!’ Vol. 2 review

A boy falls for a girl who falls for another boy but then the first boy falls for the second, and then…

As I noted in AiPT!’s coverage of the best manga and anime of 2021, My Love Mix-Up! had one of my favorite series debuts of the year. Now the shojo romance by Aruko and Wataru Hinekure is back with its second installment. The plot thickens but its core conceit remains the same: high schoolers get really confused about who likes who, with new crushes spinning out of misunderstandings. Is Vol. 2 as great as Vol. 1?

So what’s it about?

Here’s a plot synopsis courtesy of Viz Media:

Aoki has a crush on Ida, a boy in his class. Hashimoto’s eraser, which caused so much confusion among friends when Aoki borrowed it, is also at fault for making him flunk a quiz! Aoki, Akkun, and Hashimoto meet up at Ida’s for a study session where Aoki and Ida talk about what they are to each other—if they can figure it out?!

So how is it?

This manga’s artwork remains one of its core strengths. Aruko is very skilled at adjusting style and level of detail to properly increase the impact of both humor and emotional gut-punch moments. Some panels are rendered very sketchily to point of feeling free-form, while others make more meticulous use of screen tones in enhancing the shading and texture. All in all the resultant feeling is of a world as delicate and frequently shifting as the endearing but panicked protagonists’ emotions.

Besides impacting the tone, shifts in art style and compositional choices play an important role in the characterization. As focus shifts momentarily between the protagonists, we get better glimpses of how they view one another. For example, many of the softest and most vulnerable-looking depictions of Aoki on panel occur when Ida is looking at him. Conversely, Ida’s expressions often look more calm, cool, and collected when he’s being looked at thoughtfully by Aoki. Even the glint of an eye or a zoom-in closer on lips can be made all the more affecting when tailored to the context of which characters are acting as the viewpoint, and with what sort of emotional heft.

Plot-wise Aoki’s internal struggles continue to be the focus and they’re every bit as heart-rending as in Vol. 1. The misunderstandings just keep piling up, and he’s perpetually stuck between a rock and a hard place. The depth of his character and the nuance to his dialogue is very impressive. His internal monologues convey massive amounts of both affection and anxiety, as his thoughts always veer toward other people’s feelings. With that said, he also frequently has freak-outs in which he loudly shoots down what Ida is saying in an effort to avoid rejection or inflicting pain. The contrast between his sharp words and kind intentions is palpable, and makes him an easy figure to root for.

It’s also worth noting how much spotlight the other characters receive in this volume. This is most pivotal for Ida, whose understanding of his own feelings comes slowly but surely. The writing excels in this regard, as he finds himself contradicting himself and unlocking new trains of thought before he even realizes it. Ida is not simply an object for Aoki’s affections, but a character with interiority of his own.

Akkun meanwhile is accidentally the cause of much of the volume’s strife, and a layer of depth is added to him here that wasn’t present previously. As far as straight best friend characters go, there are many who are far worse. His time on-panel feels just right: he’s there to instigate conflict or deliver support as needed, but also easily shifts to the background when it’s time to pivot back to the main pair.

The wrap-up

All in all, My Love Mix-Up! Vol. 2 is just as touching as the series’ debut. The artwork is consistently pleasing while delivering both humor and great character introspection, and the writing is thoughtful to boot. If you’re looking for a sweet love story, this manga is definitely worth reading.

'My Love Mix-Up!' Vol. 2 review
‘My Love Mix-Up!’ Vol. 2 review
'My Love Mix-Up!' Vol. 2
All in all, My Love Mix-Up! Vol. 2 is just as touching as the series' debut.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
The art is pleasing to look at and shifts appropriately to match the tone
The change in characters' presentations dependent of who is viewing them provides insight on all parties involved
Akkun gains a level of depth he didn't possess previously
The visual comedy is strong throughout
10
Fantastic

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