Love of Kill is Every Double-Crossing Spy Movie Packed Into a Manga Series – Which is as Thrilling as It Sounds
When I first started reading Love of Kill, I don’t think I was ready to really understand what this series would turn into. The character writing is brief, and the backstory runs deep for each plot point introduced, making the first few chapters confusing to follow. However, then I realized what was going on. I was basically reading the opening of a film such as Mission Impossible or The Departed.
I was being drip-fed information throughout the chapters about these characters and their current carrier paths, but I thought I wanted a detailed explanation of these characters. I used the word “though” because the payoff is so definitely worth it to stick through.
Love of Kill is written by author Fe and was developed based on a webcomic version. Although many of the characters are expanded on in the published release, the title of the original, I Wanted to Read a Manga About an Assassin Couple in Love so I Started Drawing One, is still found in this serialized release. Romance is a significant topic within the opening of the story, but it’s very one-sided and often overshadows the more important plot points. However, it does establish some interaction between the story leads, Chateau Dankworth and Song Ryang-ha.
Chateau is a bounty hunter, and Song is an assassin. While the reason for their meeting wasn’t pleasant, they end up running into each other many times after. Their relationship is not overly fanservice or in your face. Instead, it’s subtle and almost innocent most of the time. Like the plot, you’re constantly guessing if this is when their feelings will show, but like the core narrative, that is a slow burn. These characters are all about pointing their guns first and talking later, which is amazing in execution. They’re so over-the-top in the roles they play that it’s almost like you need a bowl of popcorn while reading.
Each chapter introduces a different angle of espionage, adding to the high (and sometimes unnecessary) drama during flashbacks. You have every possible assassin or spy movie narrative on full display. You know, double-crossing, triple-crossing, fake death, hidden pasts, you name it, it’s here. The story builds on these plot points far past the established romance, which still finds a way to remain a central theme. To that point, you begin to hold onto the romance for dear life because it’s the only grounded thing in the story.
What’s impressive is how toned down the writing is. So much of the action occurs in the panels, with very little dialogue between the characters. Instead, their facial expressions tell more of the story, with slight smirks of plotting revenge or a side eye to show they are watching someone. This creates a balance within the pacing so we can focus on the events rather than a ton of dialogue shoved in our faces that might go over our heads.
Love of Kill is one of the few manga series that paid off the more I stuck with it. The first volumes didn’t leave a good impression, but then something snapped in Volume 3 that completely changed my perception of the series. Now, it’s one that I can’t stop recommending. Fe seems to know their audience with subtle jokes and behind-the-scenes notes sprinkled as intermissions during chapters. It also serves as a way to explain some of the more outlandish scenes.
The series ended with Volume 13 in January of this year, but Love of Kill Vol. 11 is gearing up to release in the west later this month from publisher Yen Press. I encourage you to give this series a chance because sticking with it was the best decision I could have made. There is also an anime adaptation available.
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