Loveless: Volume 1
Story by: Yun Kouga
Published By: Tokyopop
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
Once again, I’ve been called upon by the gods of Manga to review one of their creations. Loveless, by Yun Kouga, is a fantasy/romance story, centered on a twelve year old boy named Ritsuka, and his introduction into the world of unit fighting.
Ritsuka has a problem. Two years ago, something tragic happened to him, something he could not handle—something that caused him to lose his memory. Since then, his mother has been waiting impatiently for her son to return to her, becoming increasingly more violent toward him. Only his brother Seimei is able to protect him from his mother’s rages.
But when his brother is murdered, Ritsuka becomes even more secluded, even more of a loner. When he transfers into a new school he meets two interesting people. One is a young—well-endowed—girl named Yuiko, who is desperate for his attention and has a penchant for referring to herself in the third person. The other is Soubi, an old acquaintance of his brother, an adult who claims to want to protect Ritsuka and has a habit for professing his love for him.
It’s not long before Soubi and Ritsuka are attacked by a pair of children with special powers. Soubi fends them off, using only the power of his words. He tells Ritsuka that his brother had been a unit fighter with him, and had actually been murdered by Septimal Moon. He also tells Ritsuka that his brother had ordered him to protect and love him. Now Soubi is bound to Ritsuka, and together they will become a fighting unit. But will Septimal Moon come after Ritsuka as he had Seimei?
I must admit, I found Loveless to be a bit unusual at first, and initially, the only character that endeared themselves to me was Yuiko. Her openhearted attempts to befriend Ritsuka, despite his aloofness caught hold of my sympathetic nature and did not let go. The rest, in the beginning, felt awkward, as if I was reading a story from the middle and not from the beginning. But the further along I went, the more interesting the story became for me. I like the concept of the fighting unit, that out of the two, one person is designated to cast the spells, while the other ‘the sacrifice’ must endure the pain of his teammate. It’s a far more cooperative pairing than most of the anime I watch in which one person simply sends monsters, living cards, or pets to do their dirty work.
What really got my attention was the mystery of Seimei and Soubi. From what I gathered, the fighting units were bound according to their names—how they got their names was not explained in this volume. Soubi’s name is beloved, while Seimei was loveless, as is Ritsuka. They should not be able to work together, but they do.
My only real problem with this manga was Soubi’s constant physical displays of affection toward Ritsuka, who—and I must reiterate this—is only twelve years old.
However, I managed to overlook that and see the gem of a story that lurked behind it. Besides, in a reality where words are powerful, it is possible that Soubi’s affection toward Ritsuka was the result of poor wording by Seimei, however, if that’s the case, it is not made clear in this volume. Check it out for yourselves; you won’t be disappointed.