Friday, June 28, 2019

Love in Focus vol. 1 doesn't have much to show (Manga Review)

Mako, Kei, and Amemura
Love in Focus vol. 1 - 6.5/10

Love in Focus vol. 1 (Kodansha Comics) is a shoujo manga about a first year high-school student, Mako, who moves into a boarding house at a distant school when her caretaker grandfather passes away (and of course both her parents work away from home). She's an avid photographer and chose the school because of a renowned photographer who consults with the photography club and her long-time childhood friend, Kei, also goes to school there.

When she arrives in town, she meets another boarding house resident, the somewhat reclusive and closed off Amemura. Thus setting us up for the eventual love triangle of Mako being pursued by both Kei and Amemura. There isn't much else to say about the plot of this volume as it's basically just setting up their three personalities and a bit of their history. Some photos are taken, dinner is eaten, Mako trips and falls on Amemura, there is a declaration. Whatever. Honestly, nothing too interesting or earth shattering.

And that's my problem (not problem?) with this. It honestly feels almost exactly like the setup of Shortcake Cake which I'm also reading (girl moves into boarding house for school, two guys both fall for her and pursue her). I'm four volumes into Shortcake Cake so it's hard to know if I would have preferred Love In Focus if I had started it first, but Shortcake Cake has a few more quirks and some slightly more interesting personalities than Love in Focus (at least so far).

The art in Love in Focus is good: characters are easily recognizable, the line work, the shading, the backgrounds, the screen-tones are all well done. There isn't anything particularly novel about the art, but it really is very nice. It doesn't have a ton of personality to it (I think of Ao Haru Ride, Twinkle Stars, Kimi Ni Todoke, Sweet Blue Flowers which have individualized art styles) but I did like the way Nogiri-sensei did some shading on noses when shown front on (so that's something).

So there you have it, this is about the shortest review I could have written. Basically, if you want a by-the-numbers (at least it seems like it will be) shoujo manga where a plucky girl is pursued by two attractive nice boys, then read Love in Focus. At this point, I'll put it on the back burner to concentrate on other series because it just feels too similar to others I'm reading. It's fine, but nothing spectacular and there wasn't anything about this first volume that stood out. So for a rating, it gets a perfectly bland 6.5/10. Yawn.



  1. I actually never looked at it as similar to Shortcake Cake, probably because it has been a while since I've read it, but I this Love in Focus has it's good points too. It is a really short series, only 3 volumes long, and it has a very point A to point B storyline. It's very average but at the end I found myself wanting more, but was satisfied with the ending that was given. I'm just kind of sad about he fact that Nogiri-sensei introduces all these characters and you don't really get to see them much. Like, I'm a tad more interested in the other boarding housemates but you get a snippet about them and the series ends which kind of sucks.

    1. That's a great point about the side characters not getting enough "screen time." One of my favorite series, Kimi Ni Todoke, does such a great job honoring the side characters and having them develop on their own arcs over the series. I think that's a sign of a truly great writer.


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