Artist and author Ayuko Hatta has many shojo manga successes under her belt, including the popular Wolf Girl and Black Prince. Her latest series Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love is no different. Readers follow Satomi Mizusawa as she asks out her handsome yet intimidating classmate, Kazuma Yagyu, after he saves her from a pervert. As they begin to date and learn more about each other, they find their feelings growing into something more.
While at first glance this novel might seem like the usual romance manga, it actually takes a unique perspective by focusing on what comes after the love confession. Yagyu and Mizusawa have agreed to date, but love isn’t as simple as that. It’s uniquely cute to see two people figure out their relationship even after they’ve decided to be together.
As a huge shojo fan, I’ve seen many a confession, and usually, the entire romance story builds up to that moment. However, I love seeing what actually comes afterward, especially when the two main characters don’t know each other well. It’s refreshing that the characters are so open about that, realizing that the decision to date can just mean they get to know more about each other and potentially fall in love.
I often find it hard to believe when mangas create couples out of thin air, with people that don’t really know each other and yet have feelings. This different perspective on relationships opens up so many possibilities, especially for very cute and awkward moments!
The high cuteness factor in Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love Vol. 1 makes the storyline addicting and sweet while still unique. Shojo fans might initially be thrown off by the fast pace at the beginning of the volume, as it quickly escalates to Mizusawa asking Yagyu out. After that defining moment, the story slows somewhat, allowing the relationship to develop more smoothly and along more familiar lines. Readers get to experience the adorable moments between Mizusawa and Yagyu in full limelight. Their goal to get to know each other spurring their relationship.
It’s worth noting however that we don’t get to know too much about either of them in this first volume of Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love. We have vague hints at their family members – Mizusawa lives with her parents and older brother, and Yagyu has a little sister. While we do see some special character strengths, both characters are still only lightly developed. In a way though, this ‘lack’ of character development coincides with the idea that the two are getting to know each other over time. If this was the author’s intention, then it’s quite poetic.
The artwork of Ima Koi is also a surprise for me. I usually shy away from softer lines and watercolor covers, but the synopsis of this volume luckily encouraged me to overlook my biases. The artwork is excellent, fully utilizing shading effects to create beautiful pages. The backgrounds are often simple, using the different levels of shading along with patterns to contrast them against the characters.
We rarely see a fully drawn background, usually only in important moments, but the lack doesn’t affect the story at all and actually isn’t too necessary. The focus is entirely on the characters, which makes the moments stand out even more.
Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love Vol. 1 surprised me with how much I enjoyed it, and I can happily admit I initially misjudged the volume. It was such a sweet, cute, and alluring read that I found myself sucked into the story, completely ignoring the outside world. I certainly recommend it to any shojo lover for a relaxing and feel-good read!
Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love Vol. 1 is Worth Falling For!
A Surprising Love
Surprisingly addicting and fun read. With sweet moments, excellent artwork, and a cute storyline. A great start to the shojo series.