This is my first time reading My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong As I Expected @ Comic, and it is pretty easy to jump into, despite the contents not being what the title claims. MYRCIWAIE@C Vol. 4 is almost never a romantic comedy, not even a wrong one; this manga is, for the most part, a teen comedy, not unlike Nick or Disney teen live action shows in terms of themes and plot, with its eye set on things other than romantic comedy, such as school and club spirit, bromance, and athletic competition. The first half of this manga volume is great bromantic comedy, however, focusing on the friendship of Hachiman and Zaimokuza.

When the U.G. Club challenges the Service Club to a tabletop game called Millionaire, they add the provision that each hand’s loser must strip, and soon Hachiman is naked while Zaimokuza wrestles with the sense of his own inadequacies inflicted upon him by the U.G. Club’s trash talk, that Zaimokuza will never be a game designer. When Zaimaokuza muddles ahead, Hachiman has a revelation that for all his friend’s failings, Zaimokuza is the perfect friend to have at his back, because Zaimokuza will never acknowledge defeat, and that because he will “deny his losses until the bitter end…he’s closer to victory than anyone.”

Soon after, they win the game, and Hachiman conveys his insight to the group: “It’s not about loving or hating, or knowing the game or not. Life is a game of chance. Don’t you think it’s too early to be giving up on or rejecting our dreams?” However, When Zaimokuza says that they will see his video game on shelves in a few years, the U. G. Club members tell him that it won’t just be his game, because video games are created in a work for hire environment. To which Zaimokuza retorts, “screw that,” and returns to his dream of being a light novel author.

The second half of the manga is a second helping of teen dramedy: despite having graduated, the judo club’s former captain can’t stop haunting practices, where he intimidates the younger players, and the Service Club resolve to stop this alumni from bullying them. The Service Club’s plan is so good that even though the former judo captain technically scores a victory against them, it is so unsatisfying that he never comes back to judo club.

Despite the fact that I was oblivious to the many continuity references, much of MYRCIWAIE@C Vol. 4 was enjoyable. Wataru Watari’s well-defined characters act with the illusion of free will, and, like real life, both the banality of the everyday and the distinctness of the real underlie the events. Naomichi Io’s art is excellent as well, with creative page and panel layouts, and no two teenagers sharing the same design. However, despite the well-realized characters and the clarity of the events, this manga didn’t grab me with an unshakable hold—it may be because the stakes are so low, and the characters’s dreams and drives are often trivialized in pursuit of a punch line. The best example of this is Zaimokuza’s comical inconstancy when he’s confronted with the work for hire environment of game studios. He sidesteps this future so rapidly, desiring once again to write novels, that one immediately questions Hachiman’s assessment, only pages back, about the resoluteness of his friend. So while I recommend this series, you may also find it unsatisfying, as I did, when the stakes are trivialized to the point of near-meaninglessness. At the end of reading this manga, I immediately wanted to read a more satisfying one, so you may want to put this manga above one of your favorites in your reading pile.

MYRCIWAIE@C Vol. 4 arrived in bookstores on March 21st, 2017, and if you are unable to find a copy, you can find links to print and digital storefronts on the Yen Press page.

Yen Press sent the review copy.

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