Title – Kiss Him, Not Me
Story & Art by – JUNKO
Publisher – Kodansha Comics
Release Date – October 13, 2015
Synopsis – “Hi there! My name is Serinuma Kae. I’m the kind of girl who loves checking out boys and fantasizing about them getting friendly (and more) with each other-I’m what you might call a fujoshi.
One day, my beloved (yes, he’s an anime character) died, and the shock of it all was more than I could have ever prepared for! My grief over his passing resulted in some ridiculous weight-loss!
And you won’t believe what happened next! Soon after my change, the four most divinely gorgeous boys in my school asked me out on dates! I accepted them all, and you’d think I’d be happy with my sudden popularity, but the truth is, my heart only yearns for a prince to be next to his prince. Ahh, yes, boys, I’d much prefer that you turn your affections elsewhere and KISS HIM, NOT ME!”
Junko’s Kiss Him, Not Me contains everything I’ve been wanting in a manga series and more. It’s humorous, ridiculously well-drawn, focuses on a fujoshi – which is what I am as well – and has the one element that’s a must for any successful manga series: a likable protagonist. Serinuma Kae, the heroine, starts the series off as a heftier fujoshi who drastically loses weight due to the death of her favorite fictional character. The concept of the lead having such extreme weight loss in the span of just a week seemed completely absurd, and it is, and yet, I found myself not minding such ridiculousness; although a big part of me wishes Kae had remained the same, adding an interesting element to an already stellar tale. Kae is a hardcore otaku through and through – nothing pleases her more than seeing her male classmates interact with one another. Kae is perhaps one of my favorite female protagonists of all time; she’s unintentionally comical and 100% relatable.
Of course, Kae isn’t the only character present – though she is hands down the best one. Volume 1 introduces us to “love interests” Nanashima, Igarashi, Mutsumi, and Shinomiya.
Nanashima looks just like Kae’s favorite fictional character and shows no interest in Kae until later on. Igarashi is Nanashima’s reliable best friend – Kae’s OTP happens to be Igarashi & Nanashima. Mutsumi is Kae’s kind upperclassman who happens to be the only boy (out of her love interests) who was kind to Kae before her weight loss. Last, but not least is Shinomiya; a first-year student who becomes enamored with Kae after her “makeover.” I don't have a favorite among the boys, considering they haven't been sufficiently developed as characters yet. The boys’ dynamics with one another are quite amusing as they constantly vie for oblivious Kae’s attention – more often than not, the four of them end up being completely befuddled by Kae’s otaku personality.
There was never a dull moment in volume 1 and I found myself constantly laughing at Kae’s antics and the boys’ responses to said antics. Whether it's Kae being unable to suppress her otaku qualities during a date or the boys’ drained expression’s after said date – Kiss Him, Not Me was a riot from start to finish. Although the boys’ interest in Kae starts off superficial, they gradually start to grow used to her and like her for who she is – a diehard fujoshi.
Volume 1 doesn’t completely succeed to making the boys’ feelings authentic, but as volume’s progress, I hope to see the formation of a deeper connection between Kae and her boys.
With that being said, Kiss Him, Not Me receives a perfect score of 10/10 with a must-read recommendation. Of course, that’s quite high praise for a manga’s first volume, but I can’t help the fact I’ve completely fallen in love with the series in just 153 pages. It’s unique in its own right and Serinuma Kae’s very character makes this series worth checking out. D
on’t hesitate when it comes to this manga, it’s worth every penny – I’m eagerly waiting for an anime adaptation of this particular title!
Don’t miss out on Kiss Him, Not Me. Volume 1 & 2 are available for purchase now, with volume 3 coming out February 2nd!