Feb 3, 2019
Mixed Feelings
Preliminary (6/? chp)
This manga is really, really bugging me. It's written as if it's a typical cute shoujo romance. Nothing special, girl meets boy, they start dating even though Hotaru isn't sure if she likes Hananoi yet.

The problem I have with it is that Hananoi is continually giving me stalker vibes. He literally knows nothing of Hotaru, yet he's immediately so obsessed with her that he'll do anything for her, such as search for her barrette in a snowy field all night. When they're alone, he throws her against the floor and looms over her threateningly, because he's just so into her he can't control himself. He'll do anything for her, but is mean to her friends because he has no interest in anyone that isn't her. He has a shelf in his room hidden by a curtain that is "Hotaru's spot" that he tells her she needs to be prepared to see. He comes many hours early to any meeting they have, because he's so obsessed he prioritizes anything having to do with Hotaru above anything else. Literally all of this would be red flags for me that would send me running. I keep expecting it to become gender inverted Fatal Attraction, yet at the same time, I get the impression the author thought this was a cute romance with a boy that's "a little bit weird." Shoujo isn't normally like this. I think the author made an extreme error, but I can't help but be puzzled how they could fail to notice how creepy Hananoi is.

The good point to it is the art is really good, but I just can't get over how stalker-y it is. I've read a TON of shoujo, but this is the only one I've read where I've gotten this kind of bad impression. This even includes the ones where the male protagonist is one of those forceful "bad boys." The cognitive dissonance between how it feels like the author thinks it's sweet and harmless and how Hananoi's behavior is actually creepy just makes "Hananoi-kun to Koi no Yamai" even harder to reconcile and accept, versus those with "bad boy" protagonists, you can fully see where the narrative is going, and so you know ultimately nothing seriously bad is going to happen.

I highly suspect given genre tropes that it's going to turn out that Hotaru actually knew Hananoi when they were younger, but she doesn't remember him, and that he liked her even from that time, but Hotaru did not reciprocate. The thing is though, even if that's what happens, it doesn't change the fact that his behavior is obsessive to an unhealthy level. The only thing it really changes is that his obsession didn't come out of nowhere.
Reviewer’s Rating: 5
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