By Maki Enjoji. Released in Japan as “Koi wa Tsuzuku yo Doko Made mo” by Shogakukan, serialized in the magazine Petit Comic. Released in North America by Viz Media. Translated by JN Productions.
Sometimes an author’s style is so prominent that you can guess they are the creator after only a few pages despite knowing nothing else. With Maki Enjoji it takes three pages. The first page of this new josei title has the male lead asking the female lead if there’s “something wrong with your head”, and we then cut to a two-page spread of her gnashing her teeth in anger at him while he smirks for the reader. That really sums up exactly what to expect for this entire series, and I’m not being sarcastic or silly, it’s a fantastic talent. Know your audience. We’re going to get an outwardly mean and belittling guy who turns out to have a softer side that he doesn’t show the heroine. We’re also going to get a heroine who can go toe to toe arguing with him, while still also feeling vulnerable and sympathetic. It’s also seven volumes long, having just ended in Japan, and that seems almost exactly the right pace for a series like this.
Five years ago, Nanase was on the street when an old lady collapsed, and a young doctor happened to come by and help save her. Nanase immediately fell for this “prince”, and decides to dedicate her life to becoming a nurse so she can meet him again. Now, she’s at the same hospital he’s in… but he’s a jerk! Turns out Dr. Tendo has a terrible reputation among the nurses, and he doesn’t even seem to recognize Nanase? What’s a girl to do? Well, fortunately, the answer is “keep doing her job”, as well as push back against him verbally whenever she gets the chance. As the volume goes on she does get the chance to see his softer side, though not necessarily directed towards her, and also learns what it’s like to deal with the minor triumphs and major tragedies that come from being in pulmonology. Can she learn on the job while also dealing with this handsome guy?
This first volume does a petty good job of balancing out Nanase’s priorities. She straight up admits that she became a nurse so that she could meet him again, and was ready for it to be a fairytale romance. This goes a long way towards explaining Dr. Tendo’s horrible attitude, as I imagine he has no time for nurses who are not there to do the job. Fortunately, she is also that, and is not going to quit (as he tells her to, a lot) just because of this disappointment. The initial “screw-ups” are kept to a minimum as well… Nanase is a pretty good nurse for someone just starting off. Sometimes the book gets a bit overdramatic (we get a saving someone from jumping off a building right away), but is also dedicated to improving herself, be that dealing with the fact that patients die, or learning how to cope with sexually harassing patients. Meanwhile, he sees her compassion.
It’s a good setup for exactly what fans of this author want: romance between two people not afraid to speak their mind at each other.