Romance can often be full of awkward moments and uncomfortable events. Unfortunately for Volume 1 of Having an Idol-Loving Boyfriend is the Best!, the discomfort wasn’t just in the love scenes. The storyline was filled with un-endearing characters and shallow relationships, making the volume a difficult read.
Writer and illustrator Mito Aoi is an experienced author with multiple series under her belt including School of Horns and Turn the Page to My Heart. So far, however, Having an Idol-Loving Boyfriend is the Best! unfortunately misses the mark. The plotline has potential: coworkers Akari Tachibana and Onda-san are both huge idol fans, obsessed with their own favorite idol. They bond over their idol discussions and events, which eventually leads to Onda-san confessing his feelings to Akari. Unsure but willing to try, Akari agrees to date him, and they begin to explore their newfound feelings.
The volume starts out strongly, introducing the characters endearingly at first. Onda-san is seemingly a hardworking, gruff, and tough person, while Akari is cheerful and obliging. Readers then discover they love idols, and it’s presented as a semi-secret, hidden side to them that they only share with each other. But then… that’s it. There’s not much else to their characters. Sure, Onda-san shows a soft side towards Akari, but that’s something readers easily expect, especially once they start dating. There’s no other character development though, and we really don’t know who these two are. They really don’t even talk about anything else besides idols, so readers don’t even have the opportunity to learn about them through conversations.
Also, the fact that their conversations are ninety percent about idols makes their relationship seem shallow and unappealing. We really have no idea why Onda-san was attracted to Akari in the first place. Her understanding of his love of idols is frequently quoted as something he likes about her, but that’s such a hollow reason to initiate a relationship, particularly if that’s the only reason. Acceptance doesn’t breed love alone.
But Akari’s feelings towards Onda-san are even worse. Actually, they’re non-existent. She doesn’t have any romantic feelings toward him, yet she agrees to date him because they have the same interest. It all feels very shallow and immature, and it really turns readers off of the characters. They’re not likable in the first place, with no full character development to help readers relate, and then the superficial relationship development just feels scuzzy.
It would make more sense, and be more endearing if the relationship showed growth beyond just the idol connection. It’s understandable if that’s the only thing that connects them at first, it could have opened doors for their friendship to blossom into something more. It could have then led them to learn more about each other, find other things they like about each other, and then develop feelings. In reality, that’s a healthier relationship strategy, albeit more of a slow burn. But this storyline feels rushed, with no basis for feelings, and if we look at it objectively, it seems like this relationship is already doomed to fail.
My hope is that the second volume, and others to come, will focus more on development and expand their relationship beyond this superficial level. While this volume does have a few cute moments, they’re overshadowed by the general flinching feeling I felt while reading. Only once did I find myself able to smile at a sweet scene, but that moment was quickly gone when the story moved on to, you guessed it, a discussion about idols.
There’s still time for the series to turn around, however, so I plan on willingly reading the next volume or two before I completely scrap it as a lost series.
Having an Idol-Loving Boyfriend is the Best! Vol. 1 is Possibly the Worst
Unfortunately Misses the Mark
Unrelatable and unlikable characters. Shallow and superficial romance. Lack of storyline and character development.