Title: Love of Kill Vol. 1
Release Date: March 30, 2021
Publisher: Yen Press
There are manga that I don’t enjoy fully until I understand the author and their approach to telling a story. Love of Kill Vol. 1 has such a quick opening and introduction that left me feeling like I needed to start over after the first chapter. However, once I was able to read some of the notes provided by the author, I actually felt myself a little more engaged in this brief style of character development and careless violence.
During Love of Kill Vol. 1, it’s told that the word is more or less in a state of the wild west. Companies hire bounty hunters to take out individuals who are causing problems are breaking the law. The bounty hunters complete these money contracts, but it isn’t explicitly “in the shadows” kind of work. These companies operate in offices and have employees like a typical 9 – 5 workplace.
So our male protagonist Ryang-Ha Song is a killer who takes out his targets with a calm and casual attitude. Evidently, he doesn’t meet many girls but has become infatuated with a bounty hunter named Chateau Dankworth. Chateau doesn’t talk very much and is typically presented coldly, which creates a strange dynamic between her and Ryang-Ha.
So to boil this plot down for you, Ryang-Ha likes Chateau, but he is one of her targets. Instead of killing him, though, he promises to trade in other targets so she can collect the bounty. However, she doesn’t like him very much and is very annoyed that he even interacts with her.
I don’t know if Fe is just not good at writing romantic scenes or is setting up some kind of deep twist. Any time these characters are together, their conversation seems to skips minutes or even hours at a time. It’s most Chateau not saying anything and then Ryang-Ha saying, “well, you have to do this if you want this.” There’s no chemistry here at all, and it’s even more unclear what Ryang-Ha even likes about Chateau in the first place.
This first volume gave me more information about Chateau’s boss and this Indian guy that she works with than the two leads. I’m not kidding; those two characters have significantly more dialogue in this story than the main characters. The only reason I’d say this works is that it sets up the possibility that there’s more to this relationship than we are being led on.
I really loved the way Fe depicted Ryang-Ha in action scenes. It’s almost scary the way he can switch his level of aggression without losing a smile. I’m not sure if he enjoys this line of work or is just desensitized from all the killings, but he’s definitely got some demons. At this point, I wouldn’t say I like Chateau, but I don’t really even know her, so I’m looking forward to how her personality expands if it even does.
A few great action scenes happen in Love of Kill Vol. 1 and even a car chase that really sells the minimalistic narrative. A lot of the story is told in the panels with very little dialogue, and I liked these scenes the most as we saw what the characters were feeling through their facial expressions.
Love of Kill Vol. 1 has a lot to deliver in Volume 2. I think too much of this volume was spent on the wrong characters, and I’m left with knowing little to nothing about the leads. Further, I’m afraid I have to disagree with their relationship or how Ryang-Ha is going about it. It’s just so forced and almost lazy as he brides Chateau with targets. If this is going to be an assassin romance, this volume sells the assassin angle greatly but fails on the romance.
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