Title: Mint Chocolate Vol. 1
Author: Mami Orikasa
Release Date: January 19, 2021
Publisher: Yen Press
There’s no shortage of romance manga, but I typically find myself gravitating towards the ones that get creative with their narrative. Mint Chocolate Vol. 1 from Mami Orikasa offers readers an interesting premise with the question of, “What if your crush’s dad marries your mom?” Now, we get to see into this new living arrangement and all the romantic awkwardness that comes with it.
Mint Chocolate begins by introducing Nanami Murata who has just been introduced to her mother’s new husband and son. The son just so happens to be her crush, classmate, and now stepbrother, Kyouhei Suzumura. After Nanami’s mother remarries we witness her new life of living with her crush. The events that follow are as awkward as you’d think, but there’s still a bit of charm surrounding Suzumura that makes him rather endearing.
Mint Chocolate is a rather fast-paced shojo manga that throws in all your favorite stereotypical occurrences, weak female protagonist, popular male main character, the almost-kisses, falling asleep together, and everything else that keeps you turning the page for more romance.
Often times there were situations that telegraphed the forthcoming scenes, which borderline on typical tropes of the genre. It’s not subtle at all, but I couldn’t help but admire Nanami’s resolve. Still, some scenes felt like they were throwing the characters into the next romantic scene a little too quickly, but then you find out a few months have already passed since they moved in.
The pacing feels off during these moments, but the narrative does offer some ways to catch you up to speed. I’m curious to see how long the manga series will end up being if they’re already flirting with all the romance ideas so soon. I wouldn’t mind the story slow down a bit to focus on the relationship’s growth instead of rushing through the months.
The artwork is pleasant to look at and the characters are attractive. The text is easy to follow but sometimes it’s difficult to determine which are internal thoughts and which are actually being said out loud and by who. For the most part, everything is pretty straightforward. One thing I loved was the cute couple images drawn for each chapter.
Mint Chocolate is turning into another cute romance to add to your shelves. The narrative beats offer enough awkward interactions with the help of the fact that the characters are step-siblings. While the pacing is a bit too quick for this being the first entry, I’m anticipating where their relationship goes in volume 2.
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