Everyone wants to be the hero or heroine of their life story. But Hatori Matsuzaki in No Longer Heroine Volume 1 takes it to another level. She pretends her life with best friend Rita Terasaka is out of a shoujo anime or manga. You know the ones where the guy realizes he loved his best friend all along? That’s the one. A manga that ends when Rita confesses his feelings and they finally become a couple. Unfortunately, when Rita’s new girlfriend enters the picture, Hatori’s dream shatters. Hilarious with that pang of unrequited love, No Longer Heroine Volume 1 is sweet, funny, and damn if you do not cheer for Hatori by the end. 

Created by Momoko Koda, translated by Alex McCullough-Garcia with lettering by Rachel J. Pierce, and serialized in English from Yen Press, Hatori starts unlikeable. Rita is popular among the high school girls. Hatori sees all these girls, including Rita’s ex-girlfriends, as side characters in her and Rita’s great romance. She even sees her friend, Nakajima, as an extra. It is funny, albeit annoying to watch Hatori look at others with sympathy. She is delusional. Though Nakajima warns Hatori to confess her feelings to Rita, she ignores it. After all, in Hatori’s mind none of Rita’s partners can hold a candle to what she and Rita have. So, she just waits for Rita to come to his senses.

No Longer Heroine Volume 1 Moves From Heroine To Friend-Zoned

That changes when Rita dates a fellow student, Adachi. Plus, like her friend Nakajima states, she cannot be a heroine if she never confesses her feelings. As Adachi and Rita grow closer, Hatori faces hard truths about her character and relationship with Rita. Despite her fantasy, she is only Rita’s friend. Now, she might never be his partner because she waited for him to come to her. No Longer Heroine Volume 1 is more than a romance or comedy. It is also about growing up.

Comedy, But From A Different Heroine

Hatori’s blind conceit rubs you the wrong way. Hatori goes from kind of self-centered to jealous, clueless, and superficial. This is where you really start disliking Hatori. She thinks Adachi is not attractive enough for Rita, not compared to her. It is frustrating seeing Hatori make Adachi feel threatened and insecure in her relationship with Rita. But through small moments, you learn she is not malicious. Hatori is just unsure how to handle her feelings. Many of us are guilty of letting our jealousy get the better of us. Especially as teenagers. Even as adults sometimes. So it is not surprising when Hatori badmouths Adachi in a bathroom to other girls who like Rita. 

No Longer Heroine Volume 1 cover of Hatori
No Longer Heroine Volume 1 cover

Like Kimi Ni Todoke, the girls praise Hatori. They even state they would be fine if Hatori dated Rita. After all, Hatori’s is beautiful and Rita’s childhood friend. Adachi, listening in a stall, demonstrates greater maturity than Hatori. She understands why Hatori is acting this way. Reading No Longer Heroine Volume 1 gives life lessons through each entertaining page.

Hatori still has bouts of jealousy and anger after this. But Hatori realizes she is no better than those other girls. They insult Adachi just because Rita chose her. Still, what makes you like Hatori by the end is her capacity for growth. She soon realizes her behavior leaves her hollow and it does not change the outcome. No Longer Heroine Volume 1 captures all the confusing emotions and discomfort with young love. 

Hilarious Comedy

Teary scenes are not the only thing here. Hatori feels like a cross between Koizumi from Lovely Complex and Yukino from Kare Kano. Her antics and facial expressions remind you of a conceited villain. Which Hatori herself does pick up on. Hatori shines because she feels real. Not all good or all bad, but human. That’s where comedy lies. Another comedic character is Hatori’s friend, Nakajima.

Thanks to Hatori’s obsession with Rita, Nakajima rages at her. You laugh because you are either Hatori, whining about someone you like, or Nakajima, screaming at your friend to move on. The reminder of your teen years makes No Longer Heroine Volume 1 a memorable read. Plus, Hatori’s speed bursts as she tries to avoid being around Rita and Adachi, leaves you cackling

Though a bit shallow regarding backstory, No Longer Heroine Volume 1 crafts emotional investment thanks to the believable, and funny, characters. Focusing on comedy and drama, if the series maintains its momentum and fleshes out the characters, it could easily be one of the best romantic comedies. You might not ship Hatori and Rita, but you will cheer for these friends never to lose their friendship. 

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