Kiss Him, Not Me!, Vol. 1

Junko. Kodansha, $10.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-63236-202-5
Attractive character designs, diverse personalities, and eye-grabbing layouts highlight this manga focused on the life of a fujoshi—a fangirl who obsesses over pairing male characters with each other. Kae Serinuma is an unpopular, overweight, pop culture–obsessed high school student. After her favorite character is killed off, she goes into a depression spiral that makes her lose weight; she comes out on the other side as a beautiful and thin object of affection of the four cutest guys in her school (whom she "ships" together in her daydreams). This book could easily go wrong, but it's a well-played farce filled with both laughter and empathy, no doubt helped by the fact that the author is a well-established writer of yaoi ("boys love") manga. The boys, especially, are far from tropes. Rather than saying that thin is beautiful, the narrative lightheartedly tackles both the boys' confusion of what to do with a girl who has weird interests, and Kae's struggle to learn how to function like a normal person and yet stay true to her uniqueness when suddenly given the chance. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 12/07/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
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