My Special One Volume 1 is a shojo manga about 16-year-old Sahoko Wakaume and her battle to resist a crush on warm, bubbly J-pop idol Kouta Kirigaya, a member of Like Legend. It’s not easy for Sahoko. Upon their first encounter, Kouta’s charm batters her cynical defenses. It’s easy to picture this as a J-drama or anime, thanks to the cute characters, but the series has more. My Special One Volume 1 moves in the rom-com realm but adds a layer of depth that demands your attention and heart, thanks to the main characters.
Sahoko learns young about pretty privilege. There are a lot of biases that open or shut doors. With pretty privilege, doors swing open, allowing more opportunities for success. After suffering mortifying heartbreak five years ago, Sahoko swears off boys. Like another character from a light novel, Hana, her game plan is to graduate, get a job, and live alone and in peace. When Kouta arrives at her family’s restaurant for a meal, his charm challenges that plan.
My Special One Volume 1 Develops MC and Her Friend
Written by Momoko Koda with translations by Adrienne Beck and lettering by Brandon Bovia, this first volume, serialized in English from Viz Media, focuses on Sahoko’s perspective and past. Using a flashback, My Special One Volume 1 shows why Sahoko swore off love. The flashback makes you feel awful for Sahoko. It’s traumatic when students use your love confession as a collective joke. After that experience, she keeps a notebook full of warnings. But they’re also hilarious because she writes them like biblical commandments. That’s why she curses them and their ability to move through life easier than everyone else. But her Achilles’ heel is still gorgeous men.
Sahoko’s best friend Yuko gets this. She points out to Sahoko through the volume that Sahoko’s comical dislike stems from her fear of being vulnerable again. Yuko’s maturity differs from Sahoko. Given Yuko did not close herself off emotionally, she’s more observant. She’s the one who introduces Sahoko to Kouta and his group Like Legend. Yuko refers to Kouta as her “bias” but acknowledges she’s only a fan. She understands the difference between fandom, a crush and love. Sahoko must work on separating her feelings of dislike, a crush, and love.
A Twist That Shows There’s More to Kouta
As a shojo, it hints at romance and future drama. At first, it looked like My Special One would focus on Kouta tearing down Sahoko’s defenses over multiple volumes. Within the first volume, that trajectory shifts. Instead, the series winds up deeper than at first glance. Kouta cares how people feel about him. So he talks to Sahoko constantly. He effectively wears down her resistance with smiles, hugs, and compliments. But while Sahoko’s past is painful, Kouta’s might be worse. Kouta’s smiling, warm outer personality hides something beneath the surface.
Kouta’s character reminds me of a phrase about the crow girls in Someplace to Be Flying. They describe them as wearing their heart on their sleeves but never giving them away. That description fits Kouta. He’s not an animal person, like the aforementioned book, existing in the world for centuries. So there’s another reason he has that mindset. Kouta’s dream is to make others happy, but he does not want someone special. He declares this will never happen, creating a dynamic character. One we need to learn more about.
The only concern about My Special One Volume 1 and future volumes is how they balance the pursuit of love. There’s a difference between pursuing love and falling into toxic patterns trying to receive it. As it is now, I’m also curious if the series is a shojo reverse harem series. After all, as the other members of Like Legend encounter Sahoko, the series can move in that direction. My Special One Volume 1 is more than a shojo manga, exploring superficiality, love, and trauma with two main characters you fall for quickly.