By coolkyousinnjya. Released in Japan by Takeshobo, serialized in the magazine Manga Life. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Ben Robert Trethewey. Adapted by Clint Bickham.
I feel a bit guilty about this, as the author admits that this was one of their earliest series. But frankly, Ojojojo is easily the best thing we’ve seen licensed by this author, and it’s not even close. Dragon Maid is OK, but this was really, really good all the way through, keeping up the “plotless 4-koma” st5yle while actually having quite a good plot. There isn’t much of a plot, but that lets the series breathe, and allows its characters to drive things. We move towards a climax, taking in Haru’s little sister (who tries to be the bad guy, but isn’t, something that is cliched but works well), Tzurezure’s past (which reminded me a lot of Sousuke in Full Metal Panic!), and their attempts to communicate with each other better so that they can be better partners. Which, despite rich gossips and inheritance struggles, is the real enemy of this series, as the two of them just aren’t really good at communication.
(I’m using the color cover for Vol. 4, which annoyingly is not included in the omnibus, as I like it better.)
As noted, the only major addition to the cast here is Aki, Haru’s younger sister, who arrives from overseas and immediately sets out to make her sister’s life hell because, well, she’s decided she wants to play the villain for her sister’s sake. It’s amusing that almost everyone gets this immediately, despite the author’s attempts to drawing Aki with the world’s most ridiculous evil grin. As it turns out, she and Haru are both lonely rich kids at heart, so once everything is resolved they are allowed to rediscover the affection they have for each other… and Aki is allowed to tease Haru shamelessly by flirting with her man, something that works mostly as Tsurezure is so stoic about the whole thing. Akane and Chris also reach an agreement, though I’ll be honest, I like these two better as a “greek chorus” to the rest of the cast than I do as a couple. Akane as the only normal person is also very amusing.
There’s a lot getting in the way of the main pairing, though. Haru is a noblewoman, Tsurezure is a commoner. What’s more, he has a secret past, one which, if it gets out, could pose a lot of danger for them. (I forgot to mention his adopted family, who are both sweetie pies. Honestly, everyone in the series is a sweetie pie.) And Tsurezure is clearly brooding about this, to the point where he tries to run away and live in the woods, a sign that he’s not nearly as mature as he sometimes appears. Naturally Haru follows after him, in helicopter no less, and belts him across the chops for daring to decide everything for both of them. Her solution, oddly, also reads as very immature and ill-thought out… but actually works out for the best for everyone involved. In the end, they make a great couple.
So everyone lives Happily Ever After. (Well, except Aki. Sorry, Aki.) If you want a sweet romantic comedy with great characters who grow over the course of four volumes, I really recommend this. Plus Haru is frequently straight up hilarious. Especially when cooking.