She’s My Knight Vol. 1 Review – Charmingly Standard

    Title: She's My Knight Vol. 1
    Author: Saisou
    Release Date: March 30, 2021
    Publisher: Kodansha

She’s My Knight takes the basic Shoujo premise and inverts its age-old gender dynamics. The leading male protagonist, Ichinose, is a stuck-up, overconfident high schooler who has a major crush on the female protagonist Yuki Mogami, the titular knight-like character. Despite Ichinose’s cockiness in his suave abilities, he is apt to revert to a shy, flustered version of himself when Mogami dazzles with her overwhelming charm.

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Even with this seemingly subversive premise, She’s My Knight Vol. 1 provides the same Shoujo fun as its early genre predecessors. The push-and-pull interactions between Ichinose and Mogami elicit the blushy corniness as its gender-standard counterparts, without being overbearing.

The humor tends to revel in this self-awareness, with a layer of the joke being Ichinose’s desire to be on the dominating side of the budding relationship. This is the main difference that pushes forward the plot progress in comparison to classic Shoujo literature.

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In that sense, the one-off stories that do not contribute to the plot have a similar style to other comedy romance manga. The main difference is that instead of making all the characters humor-based, Ichinose stands alone as the only non-standard Shoujo character. This usually leads to multiple characters being the straight man to his often convoluted plans to get Mogami to fall in love with him, which is a welcome one-two punch of comedic value.

The side characters consist of Miyoshii, Ichinose’s observant friend, and Akito Nikaido, a friend of Mogami’s brother and childhood acquaintance. Miyoshi is frank with Ichinose, pointing out the lovelorn actions that he ignores out of embarrassment, but frequently ruffles his feathers further by pointing out things like how Mogami’s height difference would help with kissing.

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Nikaido takes a straightforward approach to hooking up Mogami with her secret admirer, keenly understanding how Ichinose will move when he pushes his buttons. While the supporting characters fill up space where the setting does not feel empty and provide most of the teasing that Mogami is too sweet to deliver, they are not prominent enough to be of much consideration.

On that note, Mogami’s concern for Ichinose’s anxiety regarding things like his height is both pleasant and amusing, considering that she can pick up on most of his internal turmoil, but not that he clearly wants to date her. This prevents Mogami from feeling too perfect since her actions can be misguided in intent yet thoughtful enough of Ichinose’s ego to act the part of a chivalrous knight.

While She’s My Knight’s humor feeds off the genre awareness of gender stereotypes, the manga leans into self-awareness too much in some chapters. In one such chapter, Ichinose laments about the daily princely duties that Mogami performs. This comes off as explaining the joke, which slows the pace considerably.

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She’s My Knight Vol. 1 feels like a prologue to a story that will be different in structure from its beginning. With much of its plot revolving around Ichinose attempting to ask Mogami out, it is safe to assume that once the main couple has been established, the dynamic between the two main characters and their accompanying side characters will change dramatically. The lack of progress in this regard is normal for Shoujo manga, but the conclusion to this first volume does not leave much of a clue as to how the story will continue.


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