So Cute it Hurts! Volume 3 by Go Ikeyamada
This is an excessively silly series, but I’ve been enjoying it, mostly because of the amount of plot twists that get resolved in each volume, so more goofy subplots can promptly develop. Also, I feel like Shojo Beat should always be publishing at least one title where the heroine cross dresses just on principle.
I feel like in many shoujo series, the fraternal twins’ cross dressing antics would fuel plot lines for 4-5 volumes, but in So Cute it Hurts! their true identities were unmasked at the end of the second volume. Aoi, the delinquent boy with a crippling physical aversion to female contact is surprised when the boy he’s been hanging out with is unmasked as Mitsuru’s sister Megumu. At the same time, Mitsuru’s masquerade is uncovered by mean girl Azuza. Aoi deals with the psychological impact of being around a girl unknowingly, and Azuza blurts out a confession of her crush to Mitsuru instead of revealing his secret. Meanwhile, Mitsuru is struggling with his feelings for Shino, but doesn’t want to ruin their friendship by telling her that he’s actually a boy. Oh, the tangled storylines of cross dressing shoujo romance!
When the week-long switch ends after Megumu has taken Mitsuru’s tests for him, there’s still plenty of emotional fall-out as Megumu pines for Aoi, and he begins to come to terms with his own feelings. Aoi’s allergy to girls causes some hilarious reactions when he and Megumu get closer, although they have to stay a certain distance apart to avoid triggering him. Their budding romance is indeed ridiculously cute, and while this manga in no way approaches both the hilarity and emotional depth of My Love Story!!, it is still entertaining. Ikeyamada ratchets up all the emotional reactions of her characters for added hilarity. While this volume focused a bit more on Megumu, I can see how the next volume is going to be focusing more with the love triangle Mitsuru is in since the object of his affections does not even know him as a boy while Azuza continues to have a violent crush on him. So Cute it Hurts! continues to be a fun read for those who enjoy romance with broad comedy.