Ai Ore! Vol. 3

By Mayu Shinjo. Released in Japan as “Ai wo Utau Yori Ore ni Oborero!” by Shogakukan, serialized in the magazine Shoujo Comic (“Sho-Comi”). Released in North America by Viz.

This is a turning point for Ai Ore! in many ways. It’s the last volume published before the move from Shogakukan to Kadokawa Shoten, which is why it reads very much like it’s ending. It marks a point where the series stops trying to be a satire or parody of these sorts of mangas and simply becomes another example of them, albeit a funny one. And it also has Akira develop to the point where, though I still have a few reservations, I can now admit without irony that I am enjoying this title.

For one thing, this volume doesn’t even pretend to be about Mizuki anymore. Akira is the star here, and most of what we see are his attempts to deal at being in love with Mizuki. He wants to win her affection and love, his hormones are raging at him to seduce her as soon as possible, and he’s getting bad advice all round from many of his friends – some of which, in fact, we’ve seen him use before in earlier chapters. Akira is trying to find a balance between ‘women like a strong, sexy guy who can take command’ and ‘I know what’s best for her because I am an asshole’, and it’s not as hard a line to cross as he would like.

This makes him stand out from other typical Shogakukan male heroes, even more than the cutesy pretty girl looks he’s stuck with. An excellent example is a chapter where a rival shows up – Tsubasa, another pretty boy who looks like a girl that Mizuki met and accidentally enthralled a couple of years earlier. He challenges Akira to a competition, with Mizuki being the winner. Akira, of course, accepts, and is very curt to Mizuki – “just sit back and wait for me to come claim you”, he notes, and you want to smack him all over again. The contest itself, though, which shows him basically letting his lecherous classmates practically rape him just so that he can get their vote – shows that power is not really what drives him at all. And a good thing too, as he’s so bad at using it.

The end of that chapter has Ran, the slightly more sensible of Akira’s two playboy friends, asking him “Have you given any thought to how Mizuki feels about this?” Well, no, he hadn’t. It’s only partly his fault – Mizuki is still the weak link in this story, though she’s not as bad as she has been. We don’t worry as much about her doubting her femininity or trying to act girly… but we also empathize with Akira, as her waffling really is driving the reader crazy now as well. Mizuki here, I believe, finally at least understands what love is, and that she’s madly in love with Akira. I just wish the couple had better communication. But then I say that about most manga couples.

In the last chapter, everything comes together. Mizuki says that she loves Akira, Akira realizes that this wasn’t something that he could have forced, no matter how he tried, and the two have now been intimate. As I said, it READS like an ending – readers of Shoujo Comic would be satisfied with the way it wrapped up here. Of course, if they also purchased Kadokawa Shoten’s Asuka, they would see the series continue – and so will we, with Vol. 4. Which will also see it return to standard 200-page format, I believe. In any case, finally recommended with few reservations.

Also, great title drop right at the end there, for folks who wondered what Ai wo Utau Yori Ore ni Oborero meant.

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  1. I am still not overly satisfied with this manga. Akira and Mizuki get on my nerves and it feels like they are trying hard to look like a couple. I find it a bit shallow and there is really nothing deep about this series. I have to say that I like the supporting characters more especially Akira’s playboy friends.

  2. Ok I admit that sometimes these situations are hard for me to swallow, I really could not STAND the two protagonists in Lovely Complex because all they seemed to do was WHINE about how one had the ideal (tall height) of a boy but she was a girl and vice versa for the guy. This reminded of that situation a lot but I found Ai Ore! a lot more tolerable, in fact I’ll also say I think I like it more than Sensual Phrase. Although this series gets overly dramatic at times (seriously what school festival would allow THAT!) but I just decided that this series was a fun guilty pleasure. Plus I find myself becoming fond of the characters that throw themselves at the two protagonists and find themselves failing and tumbling off. Plus I admit I find the glasses guy (shouldn’t I know his name? lol) quite attractive, one of her best drawn characters yet…well ok fine, he suits my tastes. So ya…loke I said before… it’s a guilty pleasure for now, but I hope the series doesn’t go too insanely over the top in the future.


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