Kiss Him, Not Me!, Vol. 1

By Junko. Released in Japan as “Watashi ga Motete Dousunda” by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Bessatsu Friend. Released in North America by Kodansha.

It’s always tricky trying to do an over the top comedy that plays with tropes. You run the risk of people not getting the joke, or latching on to the very thing that you’re making fun of, or simply not going far enough. This new title from Kodansha sometimes falls into that pitfall trap, as occasionally it sympathizes with its heroine’s plight a bit too much, or doesn’t hammer hard enough on its basic premise. But for the most part Kiss Him, Not Me! manages to mock reverse harems while avoiding being a copy of The Wallflower, a series that ran in the same magazine and which has a lot in common with this.


The author, as she says in the afterword, has basically been a BL rtist before this title, drawing smutty titles for Gentosha and Prince of Tennis and Haikyuu! doujinshi. Now she has a mainstream title about a chubby girl who loves her BL pairings until one day her favorite character is killed off, whereupon she doesn’t leave her room or eat for seven days, and comes out looking thin and gorgeous. It’s the sort of plotline I’d recently criticized with Let’s Dance a Waltz, and I don’t like it here either – stop doing this sort of thing. That said, Let’s Dance a Waltz read like it was saying “if you too dance for two weeks straight, this can be you!”. Kiss Him, Not Me is telling readers “This is completely ridiculous, don’t do this”.

As for its cast, they’re well sorted out by personality, if not always by art – I sometimes had trouble telling the two blond and two brunet guys apart. There’s no sense yet that one of them is the obvious romantic lead for her, mostly as, well, that’s the premise – she doesn’t really want to date any of them, she wants to ship them. She and her BL friend (who makes a decent straight man) argue about who should go with who, and who’s the seme and who’s the uke. Of course, they’re discussing real-life people rather than characters in a fictional universe. I’m not sure if future volumes will show the discomfort that can arise from this sort of thing, but if so, I doubt it will be hammered on very long – the purpose of this series is laughs.

If there’s one big weakness to this series, as I hinted earlier, it’s that I don’t think it quite goes far enough in its attempts to be over the top. I was expecting more BL tease than what we got here, frankly – it’s all in her head, of course, but we need to see a bit more of it. As for Kae herself, she’s basically placed in the position of female fantasy, as a gorgeous girl who suddenly has the four hottest guys in school all going after her. As such, I’d like to see a few more obstacles in her way. Sports and Study plots come up towards the end of this volume, but both are taken care of in such a way that she wins out completely. Compared to, say, Sunako in The Wallflower, Kae doesn’t exactly have it tough here. Still, if you want silly shoujo that will make you laugh, and don’t mind more magic weight-loss, this is a decent title to try.

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