Love Master A
Shoujo – Comedy, reverse harem, romance
2 Volumes (complete)
Out of print
After being rejected 50 times, Aria has given up on love. Seeking a fresh start at a new school, Aria is shocked when she’s declared the student council president for her grade! Not only is she supposed to work with a bunch of oddballs, but other girls think Aria is an expert in love!
Love Master A would have been so much better if the beta couple was the main couple.
Aria has been rejected so many times that she’s nicknamed the “Love Master”. Well, when she transfers to a new school, her nickname has followed her. At her new school, the principal chooses members for student council (this school has a council per grade), and guess who is not only made a member, but named president? This is really amazing considering she transfers just before the school festival, so school has been in session for a while.
Anyways, Aria ends up meeting the other four members of the council, all who have their own quirks: Jin is an energetic idiot, Chikayasu a quiet powerhouse, Kurusu the narcissistic techie, and boyish Mizuki hates girls. Long story short, Aria deals with other people’s love issues as well as her own. It’s all pretty typical.
Firstly, as a comedy, it isn’t really that funny. Aria’s history with boys is well-known by the end of the first chapter, and she immediately sets her sights on Crush #51 despite her claims of “I’ve forsaken love!” Kurusu the narcissist just basically touts his skills, but for someone who is called a narcissist, he develops a crush in the second chapter. Chikayasu is pretty pointless, as Mizuki is nearly as tough. (The two also look alike.) As a romance, this is cookie-cutter shoujo: first guy introduced is the love interest, and there’s a rival who is pretty much the complete opposite. Aria tries to assist other girls as she struggles with her feelings for the cheerful but obtuse Jin.
For me, the highlight of the manga was Mizuki. She doesn’t just prefer to hang out with guys; she absolutely avoids girls. I really like how she develops a friendship with Aria and learns that she shouldn’t just dismiss a whole gender. I really think this manga would have worked well with Mizuki as the lead. A girl who looks like a boy and hates girls now has to put up with a girl who longs for girl-girl friendships. The two then bond with each other as they each slowly fall in love with two goofballs, one with an idiot and the other a tech wiz. It’s not the most groundbreaking tale, but it would probably have stood out more than Love Master A.
I mean, Aria is a nice main character, but she is pretty forgettable. Her “confessed 50 times” schtick really is only funny in the bonus comics, and her advice pretty much would have played out the same had she only been rejected once. I really wish Hashimoto had played up Aria’s quirks as well as show up how she turns out to essentially be her high school’s cupid. Ever heard of the sitcom The Golden Girls? One of the main characters, Rose, has a story about her town’s eccentric citizens for any occasion. Love Master A might have been really hilarious if Aria had a confession story to fit any situation or plot, no matter how strange. (Maybe School Rumble “shoot a love letter” type antics?)
The rest of the cast is introduced in a hurry, and the funny club aspect is done better in series like Ouran High School Host Club. Two volumes is too short to dive into a large cast, especially when a rival club is introduced.
As far as the artwork, the biggest issue I had was telling Mizuki and Chikayasu apart. I had to keep reminding myself that Mizuki has the spiky hair, but the two could pass off as siblings. Otherwise, Hashimoto’s style reminds me a bit of a rougher version of Nakajo’s of Hana-Kimi fame. I’m not saying it’s weak, but it just has that same feeling. You can see the art improve over the course of the series. The art is pretty clean and cute, suiting the story well. What really attracted me to Love Master A was the covers. It’s too bad manga is in black-and-white, as I really like Aria’s reddish-pink hair. She looks quite trendy on the covers, but she’s usually in her uniform. Too bad. I would have liked to see her wear all kinds of hearts like on the covers.
Honorifics are used. There are a few weird spots (“crikey!” is not really used in American English). The manga also uses some direct Japanese idioms rather than finding an English equivalent. Well, that’s it. The series is too short and too old for me to really care.
Love Master A is a short and forgettable tale that would have been better if the “love master” aspect had really been played up.
Tokyopop released Hashimoto’s The Knockout Makers.