Missions of Love Volume One is a manga by Ema Toyama, and it was published in North America by Kodansha Comics in 2012. The series is rated “OT” for ages 16 and up; after reading this volume of the series, I would agree with this rating.
The main character of Missions of Love is Yukina Himuro, a high school girl with an icy reputation. She’s gained this reputation because of how she looks at people and by the fact that she’s cold to the touch due to her poor circulation. Yukina writes cell phone novels under the pen name of Yupina. Her cell phone novels are successful, because she is able to observe her classmates from a distance and come up with ideas for her stories.
One day, she overhears some of her classmates wishing that there was romance involved in the stories. Unfortunately, Yukina has no personal experience in this department, so she has avoided including this element in her stories. One day, she sees a classmate confess her feelings to Shigure Kitami, the most popular boy in her class. After Shigure turns down the classmate, he runs into Yukina and they talk briefly. When Shigure leaves, Yukina discovers he accidentally dropped a notebook on the floor. She discovers this is a journal where Shigure keeps tracks of the girls who confessed their feelings to him, when they did, and where they did.
Yukina uses the notebook as a way to blackmail Shigure to start doing things like holding her hand, kissing her, etc. That way, she can experience these things firsthand in order to incorporate these elements into her stories.
I will admit that the high school student secretly being a popular cell phone novelist is kind of an interesting idea. However, this whole blackmailing business just isn’t doing it for me. OK, Shigure does find a way to get back at her by blackmailing her back; however, I find what her secret is to be a little on the lame side. By the time I finished this manga volume, I thought there was potential for the concept, but I really wasn’t interested in it due to the execution. Ultimately, I found myself not “feeling” the story like I thought I should.
When it comes to the art, I can say that I’m impressed by the details that Toyama utilizes in panels with closeups of characters’ faces. While the rest of the art looks good, I think Toyama’s strongest work comes through in the closeups.
While I may not personally be in a hurry to read more of Missions of Love, I think this series will appeal to manga readers that enjoy shojo stories that include romance and blackmail.
I wrote this review after reading a copy of Missions of Love Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.