When Will Ayumu Make His Move? Vol. 1 Review – Pieces of Shogi and Romance

    Title: When Will Ayumu Make His Move? Vol. 1
    Author: Soichiro Yamamoto
    Release Date: October 19, 2021
    Publisher: Kodansha Comics

When Will Ayumu Make His Move? Vol. 1 is a romantic comedy series with a shogi spin to it. As Ayumu and Urushi play the game, they also tease each other. As such, it works as a simultaneous competition for them in both shogi and romance.

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Urushi Yaotome and her kouhai, Ayumu Tanaka, are the only members of their high school shogi club. Despite the fact it isn’t an official club, they gather every day after class to play a match. Their meetings aren’t only about the game, though.

The boy wasn’t a shogi player at first, and he’s still clearly inexperienced. As Ayumu learns the rope, he hopes to ask her out after beating her in the game. It’ll be tough, though, as she’s much better than him. She’s not oblivious to his intentions, but he won’t admit it.

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The story is mainly about Urushi trying to get Ayumu to declare his love. But the boy tries to act as if he felt nothing, not telling her about his plans. It’s hard to imagine he’ll back down from this battlefield of shogi and love, but his silence is what ends up making the whole situation a little hard on Urushi.

His actions speak volumes to what he’s feeling after all. He’s constantly calling Urushi cute, which leaves her flabbergasted and gives her a hard time. They’re so close, always next to each other, and it’s obvious, but without him verbalizing it, the girl has no way to know how to act.

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One compelling aspect of the story is how it draws parallels between the game and the romance. It’s already clear from the title’s double entendre, as the term move is a reference to playing shogi and the expression “to make a move on someone.” However, there’s also a sense of them playing with and gauging each other out as if love were shogi.

If I had to pick one word to describe When Will Ayumu Make His Move? Vol. 1, it’d be “cute.”

It’s a cute story that can sell the feeling of chemistry between characters who should frankly just be dating already. Unfortunately, for those already familiar with the genre, it’s nothing impressive. However, the characters and situations still offer the feeling of relatability that makes it all fun.

For people who want to know more about shogi, the volume details a little about how the pieces work. In every chapter the characters play, there’s a list of their moves at the end. That means more eager people can even reenact the matches to learn more about the game.

The art style complements the volume well, mainly being basic and cute. Most panels are focused on the characters’ expressions with a particularly expressive Urushi and the usually stoic Ayumu. The two pretty much carry the whole volume, with very few side characters even showing up.

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If I had to pick one word to describe When Will Ayumu Make His Move? Vol. 1, it’d be “cute.” It does a great job at being compelling as a romance story simply by having good character chemistry. Though it may not be a genre-defining work by any means, it’s worth a read.


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Ivanir Ignacchitti

Random Japanese games are my jam. Handhelds, RPGs, VNs and PC banzai.