Title: Ima Koi: Now I'm in Love Vol. 1
Author: Ayuko Hatta
Release Date: March 1, 2022
Publisher: VIZ Media
Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love Vol. 1 is a romance shoujo from Ayuko Hatta, whose previous works include the popular series Wolf Girl and Dark Prince. Through this first volume, we get to know a simple premise. While it may not be a contender for originality, it manages to be relatable and captivating all the same.
Ima Koi tells the story of a young girl called Satomi Mizusawa. When she’s going to school by train, a boy saves her from a pervert. She doesn’t know him yet, but his uniform is from her school. So Satomi decides to look for him to thank the boy and maybe get to know him better.
It was a simple gesture for this boy called Kazuma Yagyu. However, for Satomi, it left a lasting impression. She can’t just act as if it never happened, or she would regret it. It’s this fear of missing out on an opportunity that may never strike again that moves her forward.
Seeing how Satomi thinks and acts, the first volume sells the idea of how impressive she is while still being just a simple girl. Her determination is out of this world, but it’s born from her weakness. There are hints that this might be related to old traumas, something she still couldn’t move on. However, she feels very relatable and charming, going from worry to action.
The first volume is quick, setting up the protagonist and love interest. Focused on their relationship blooming faster than expected, it feels modern, but there’s room for more development. Unfortunately, besides the unknown Satomi’s past, we don’t get to see much about Yagyu.
Yagyu acts aloof at times, but he shows a considerate side through his actions. He’s intrigued by Satomi, who can be very bold and unexpected. The volume also explores his stature, showing the disadvantages of being too tall. This leads to an interesting twist down the line.
The fact he’s hard to read is a point I’m not particularly fond of, so I hope he can become more expressive as the two get closer. Hopefully, we also get to see a little of his perspective moving forward, as it would be helpful to understand him better. So far, it’s almost as if he’s an enigma looking forward to the ride with the curious girl who showed so much interest in him.
Both Satomi and Yagyu have friends who seem to be necessary for the plot. Satomi’s best friend is Nimo, who has known her since middle school. The same is the case for Yagyu’s classmate, Tenma. However, I’d have to say Tenma’s personality is a little clearer so far, as he’s a big stick in the mud, which didn’t have a good impression of Satomi at first.
When it comes to the illustrations, Ayuko Hatta’s drawings are soft and clean. Her style makes the volume very light to read and fast-paced, managing the reader’s attention in a straightforward manner. Along with the already fast pace of the plot itself, the story doesn’t slog at all.
Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love Vol. 1 is a good start for a romance series. It’s quick at setting up the main characters’ relationships, making for an easy read. There are, however, many details hidden in the story, and I’m looking forward to seeing the subsequent volumes exploring them.
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