I went into Romantic Killer Volume 1 completely blind, anticipating a manga story that involved romance but murders, too—shows you where my mind is at. Unfortunately, there is no killing except for the unnameable bug. On the plus side, Romantic Killer Volume 1, written by Wataru Momose with translations by Adrienne Beck and lettering by Inori Fukuda Trant, from Viz Media, reminds me of Lovely Complex, thanks to the hilarious antics of anti-heroine Anzu Hoshino. Anzu and magic fairy Riri’s conflict in Romantic Killer Volume 1 stands out because of Anzu’s relatability, the dialogue, and the drawings. 

Romantic Killer Romance? Not If Anzu Can Help It

Not everyone wants fairytale romance. That is the case for Anzu. She is young, starting high school, and while some girls in high school are already pursuing relationships, there were and are others who prefer video games to romantic coupling. Anzu has a whole weekend ahead to enjoy her new game. She has her cat Momohiki and her trusty chocolate. But when she falls into an empty room and hears “congratulations,” something is off. Free wish, perhaps? 

Nope. Fairy Riri, soon dubbed “the imp” by Anzu, introduces herself and says Anzu is the first for a study to help increase birth rates in Japan. Magic land is running low on the energy source innocent children’s hearts provide. So they have no choice but to find other methods to push people to pair up. Essentially, this imp wants to give Anzu a shojo manga life so that she will focus on romance instead of games. The imp confiscates her chocolate and games to ensure there are no distractions. 

This imp will not miss out on a paycheck or get laid off, so the lengths they go to are astronomical. How dare you separate a girl from her chocolate and games?! On top of that, to ensure there is no pesky parental meddling, Anzu’s dad suddenly gets promoted to a job overseas. So the parents pack up, take the cat (another distraction according to the imp), tell Anzu they will return in a few years, and depart. 

Imp Knows Best?

As I read the manga, I kept thinking about The Twilight Zone episode, “Cavender Is Coming,” where an angel gives Carol Burnett’s character fame and fortune. Cavender does not realize she was happy with her life before he meddled. That is a universal theme. Others project their beliefs of what success and happiness look like onto those around them. This can make for the best comedy or the most traumatic experiences. For Romantic Killer Volume 1, I am happy to say it is the latter. 

Romantic Killer Volume 1 cover art of Anzu Hoshino reaching for her stuff
Romantic Killer Volume 1 cover art

Still, Anzu’s situation will get harder as Romantic Killer progresses. Because this is a reverse harem series, and imp Riri is not leaving it at just one possible hot guy for Anzu to avoid. But Anzu is no pushover. She will look and act in the most unattractive manner to lessen her desirability. Hence the title of the series. Anzu gives as good as she gets. She even winds up in a few physical scraps with the imp. I love when she backhands her with a frying pan.

Stellar Comedy Thanks To Anzu’s Personality and Reactions

Anzu makes the story. I gagged at her facial expressions. She plans to reject all the hot guys who approach her, but the imp does not make it easy. After all, Anzu is not evil or heartless, so as situations spiral out of control, she winds up letting the first hot guy, Tsukasa Kazuki, live with her for a month. If you want to know how that tricky imp pulled that off, read the manga.

The similarities between Anzu and Koizumi Risa from Lovely Complex are uncanny. I love goofy, tough, caring girl and woman characters because not all of us are delicate flowers. Koizumi Risa was the funniest character I have ever seen until now. Anzu may take the prize. Unlike Koizumi, Anzu does not want a relationship right now. There is nothing wrong with that, except to Riri and Magic Land.

Hot Guy Likes Girl Who Does Not Fall At His Feet

The hot guy, Tsukasa Kazuki, is standard hot guy fare. He has girls flocking around him but is not interested in romance. Tsukasa’s interest in Anzu stems from her avoiding him. Anzu flees every time he is near her. He is the guy that falls for the girl because he is not able to read her. Edward Cullen from the Twilight series is the most famous iteration of this man of late. What made that and this manga unique is the motivation behind the enigmatic girl. Of all the possibilities, Anzu avoids him because there are hostages on the line—Anzu’s description of Riri’s confiscation of her games, chocolate, and cat—is low. 

Romantic Killer Volume 1 is light shojo reverse harem fun. An implausible story poking fun at shojo tropes as Anzu tries to skirt past all conceivable hookup scenarios to free her cat, chocolate, and games. I am a gamer, so if someone robbed me of my ps5 and I could not play the DLC for Dead By Daylight or Fortnite or the next Resident Evil game, best believe there would be hell to pay. I am rooting for Anzu to get all her stuff back, but also excited to see how Riri and Anzu’s relationship develops as the manga continues, plus more comedy. 

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