So Cute It Hurts!!, Vol. 1

By Go Ikeyamada. Released in Japan as “Kobayashi ga Kawai Sugite Tsurai!!” by Shogakukan, serialization ongoing in the magazine Shoujo Comic (“Sho-Comi”). Released in North America by Viz.

In general, I’m a sucker for over-the-top comedic shenanigans in a shoujo manga, but it can be very difficult to actually achieve this. The author has to be ridiculous while still keeping the reader interested, and suspend disbelief without hanging it by the neck. It can also be very easy to slide into drama, particularly if you run in a magazine like Sho-Comi. When done right, though, it can be pure fun. I think the first volume of So Cute It Hurts!! shows a lot of promise, and while not perfect, has enough fun that I will be reading more.


The author was previously best knows for Suki Desu Suzuki-kun!!, an 18-volume series that I thought might be licensed by Viz but never was. (Not that you’d know that by the back of this book – all the extras are included, including the cast of SDSK talking to us about the new title.) This new one is 11 volumes and counting, and for once actually feels like it was planned out to be a long series rather than a short one that catches on and gains plot points afterwards. Our heroes are identical twins, one male and one female. Mitsuru is good at athletic things, a bit of a playboy, and a bit of a delinquent. Megumu is a history otaku who plays Edo-period datesims. Together, they do not fight crime at all – in fact, they don’t really interact as much as you’d expect. But when Mitsuru’s grades are in danger, he asks his lookalike sister to swap with him for the week and take the tests for him.

To her credit, she refuses. Of course, he then proceeds to switch anyway, as he’s that sort. Mitsuru spent the first volume annoying me, to be honest, and I had to occasionally remind myself that his character development is part of the point. He does despise bullying, of course, like all manga heroes, and when he comes across a deaf girl who is being harassed by the queen of the school, he not only falls head over heels but starts to study sign language. As for Megumu, she’s in at the deep end at the boys’ school, not even trying to act like her brother and accidentally winning fights by tripping and headbutting the opponent’s crotch. She does meet a sexy aloof guy, though. With an eyepatch.

If all of this sounds melodramatic, you are absolutely correct. Naturally, the deaf girl seems to be in love with the eyepatch guy. Naturally, the Queen of the School ends up falling for Mitsuru (in another disguise), and absolutely everyone is completely amazed at the feelings in their heart! The humor is broad but fun. I like that the twins never even bother to try to imitate each other beyond the outfit swap, and how it works anyway. I like Mitsuru’s cocky ‘I can’t believe I’m this cute’ persona, which provides the title for us but also tells me he’s being set up for a fall. I like how Megumu may be a shy girl falling in love, but she’s still happy to rabbit on about Masamune for minutes on end in front of her crush.

this first volume doesn’t knock it out of the park. It’s fun but slight, and I hope it will continue to develop its characters as it goes along. If you’re a Shojo Beat fan, this should please you.

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