Advertisement: Click here to learn how to Generate Art From Text
Mangaka Anashin debuted in English with Waiting for Spring an inoffensive and by-the-books shojo series that didn’t set the world on fire but was a worthwhile read. Now, the creator is back in the West with a brand new ongoing series How I met my soulmate But will this one be even more revolutionary? Let’s find out!
The story follows Yuuki (20 years old), a college student who has moved to Tokyo from the countryside in the hopes of finding love. Yuuki has been in Tokyo for over a full year and still hasn’t found a boyfriend, or even a friend to hang out with. Her only close friend is Sanae who also moved to Tokyo from a rural area, but unlike Yuuki, she’s taken to the big city incredibly quickly.
Now that Yuuki has turned 20, she’s resolved to change her habits and do all the outgoing things Tokyo students usually do. Sanae, who is her friend, suggests that they go clubbing together to increase their chances of finding that special person. Yuuki, who has never been to a club, is overwhelmed by the chaos. The situation gets worse when she meets Iori – a drunken man who has bleached his hair and has a frightening demeanor. Thanks to Sanae getting along with Iori’s friend, Yuuki feels like she can’t escape and spends the rest of the night nursing Iori.
Afterwards, Yuuki looks back upon the night as a total disaster so she’s surprised when Sanae tells her Iori wants to apologise for his behaviour and thank her for looking after him. Reluctantly Yuuki agrees to meet up and from there begins an unlikely friendship, with Iori promising to help Yuuki find her soulmate – but could it be that Iori is the one for her?
Many ways How I Met My Soulmate Volume 1 reminds me of Virgin Love What I Did Recently reviewed. To us readers it’s clear from the get-go that Iori is probably Yuuki’s soulmate and looking elsewhere is wasting time that could be spent on getting the two of them together. However, unlike Virgin Love where the pair should have just gotten together there and then, here it’s understandable why this story moves in a different direction.
Yuuki is still quite naïve and she’s written off Iori as a love interest due to his troublesome personality (he can be blunt and forthright in the way he communicates). Iori thinks Yuuki’s pining for a boy from high school, for whom she had made bentos each day, but who was never closer to her than that. The closer they become, but before Iori can do anything, Yuuki’s crush shows up! She’s convinced this is fate and ignores the red flags that appear, but Iori isn’t so sure and soon finds himself meddling…
Similar to Anashin’s previous work Waiting for Spring This series feels like a box-ticking exercise. There are plenty of your usual shojo staples here and it has to be said that Yuuki’s airheaded, oblivious personality is one of those. Having an older cast of characters almost works against it as it often feels like this level of drama belongs in high school and not with 20-year-olds, but I think for all the issues I have with Yuuki, she’s balanced out relatively well by Iori.
I’m not concerned about the character. How I Met My Soulmate is offering – particularly in the art department. Anashin’s output is polished and good at showing how Iori and Yuuki feel about each other without it being put into words. Backgrounds can be a little bland or empty as the chapters go on, but I’m willing to forgive this as there’s always plenty of detail when it comes to the characters themselves. All of the male characters have very distinct designs as well, which is important, given there are quite a few, even besides Iori and Yuuki’s first crush! Ultimately, you’re left wondering what the future has in store for these characters and provided you don’t dislike their personalities, you’ll certainly be back for Volume 2.
How I Met My Soulmate Kodansha has brought Volume 1 to the West. It was translated by Sawa Muetsueda Savage, with lettering done by Lys Blakeslee. The release is easy to read and has no major issues. There are some translation notes included at the end and to open we’re treated to a colour spread showing the main characters (although Iori has yet another shade of dyed hair here, so you may not recognise him right away).
As previously mentioned, the series in Japan is ongoing with 4 volumes being published. Kodansha is releasing Volume 2 in English in early March, followed by Volume 3 in June and then #4 in September. Surprisingly for Kodansha, the series has not been released digitally before coming to print, so there’s no getting around the wait this time!
Overall, How I Met My Soulmate Volume 1 is an interesting but fairly conventional shojo series. Some readers will be attracted to the prospect of having older lead characters, while others will simply stick around to enjoy Anashin’s polished storytelling. This isn’t the best romance manga out there by a long way, but it’s a welcome addition for fans of the genre and delivers exactly what it advertises.
A free preview is available on Kodansha’s website here.
Diamond Book Distributors UK provided our review copy of Kodansha.