Youth is a crock - at least that’s what resident loner and hardened cynic Hachiman Hikigaya thinks after years of having no friends. When his bitter rumination on the meaning of youth gets him in trouble with his teacher, Hiki gets sent to join his high school’s “Service Club” as punishment. The club only has one member: the beautiful and brilliant Yukino Yukinoshita, putting Hiki in way over his head. However, through their cold meetings Hiki finds out that the bitter Yukino has no friends either, meaning these two awkward teenager have a little more in common than they might have expected.
How Was It?
My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected @ comic’s title might be a mouthful to say, but it appropriately describes the fascinatingly cynical perspective of its characters as they become involved in a type of romantic comedy. The story follows embittered loner Hachiman Hikigaya as he is forced into teaming up with Yukino Yukinoshita as part of the broadly problem-solving Service Club. Right off the bat this series imbues each of these characters with an entertaining genre-savviness in noting that this the type of situation where characters would normally fall in love just as we as readers might expect. The result is instead something a little more subversive than that as Hiki and Yukino mercilessly dissect each other’s personalities before their club is called on to help assist with their classmates’ various problems. The dialogue throughout is reasonably snappy, and I enjoyed the bite that this series displayed early on in demonstrating the world-views in play here.
One of the most interesting things that this series does to help bring about this subversives is by using Hiki’s internal monologue as one of the driving forces of the plot. It is established very clearly early on how cynical Hiki is, but I thought the focus on his own internal thought process was very interesting because it helped to flesh out his actions, setting the tone as the narrative proceeded. One thing I appreciated is that this series shows its work in the sense that Hiki’s feelings are always given a reason for existing, making it easier to become invested in his world-view. Additionally, Hiki’s internal monologue was effectively played up for comedy by showing the ways that he overdramatizes his life to hilarious effect, and I thought this did a good job of livening up this volume. This is particularly true for his explanation of his attempts at romantic success which play out like a bit of a movie thanks to his retelling, helping to get the point across in an entertaining way. The focus on establishing Hiki’s internal line of thinking was especially effective because we got to see him begin to slowly change because of the events of this volume, and I really enjoyed this small sense of character progression as a great form of pay-off.
Although Hiki gets most of the focus throughout this volume, I felt that Yukino was an equally interesting character for the counterpoint she provides to Hiki’s particular world-view. We see very quickly that despite her haughtiness and good-looks, Yukino suffers from many of the same problems that Hiki does in terms of being a loner. This point is fleshed out more in their conversations, and their similarity become a main plot point later on when a third club member, the bubbly Yui Yuigahama, is introduced. The inclusion of Yui leads to a very interesting dissection of what “friendship” really means, and I particularly enjoyed a scene in which Hiki reflects on the differences between Yui and Yukino for the way that it felt that Hiki learned something from watching their small group bounce off of each other. Again, both of Yukino and Yui’s personalities are amply backed up by various examples which make it clear why they do the things that do, and this made me interested in watching them progress throughout this volume.
While the story and characters generally hold up quite well throughout this volume, the art is a much more mixed bag. The inconsistency in the art throughout bugged me more than anything - although many of the scenes had a general roughness to them, there were also a number of really nicely illustrated “wow” moments that I liked quite a bit. More than other series, it was very obvious where artist Naomichi Io spent a majority of the time, with other scenes not being nearly as eye-catching. This was a little bit jarring, but the better drawn moments did a good job accentuating a few of the more dramatic moments to accompany the story. A lingering problem in this volume was some inconsistency in the way that the faces of the characters’ were drawn, and although this wasn’t a deal-breaker by any means I did find it distracting in this volume.
My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected @ comic does a good job putting together an interesting exploration of the meaning of friendship in following the adventures of Hiki, Yukino, and Yui as they go about their high-school days. I really enjoyed how this series made the effort to justify each of the characters’ personalities, making me feel more invested in their development over the course of the volume. This is most apparent in Hiki’s development, and I was happy that we got some good pay off early on that made his experiences in this volume have meaning. Although the art is a very hit and miss, this series should be given a look by those looking for a more introspective sort of series.
My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected @ comic Vol. 1 was translated by Jennifer Ward and was by Yen Press on May 31st, 2016. Based off of the original light novel (also licensed by Yen Press) by Wataru Watari, the series is drawn by Naomichi Io and runs in Shogakukan’s Sunday GX magazine. An animated series entitled My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU was aired in two seasons and was licensed by Sentai Filmworks. The second volume is scheduled for release in English on September 20th, 2016.
Date of Publication: May 31st, 2016
Translator: Jennifer Ward
Author: Naomichi Io + Wataru Watari
Publisher: Yen Press