Manga Review: LDK, Vol 3

ldk-3Author: Ayu Watanabe
Genre: Shoujo, Romance, Drama
Publisher: Kodansha (US) / Kodansha (JP)
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Original Magazine: Bessatsu Friend
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Nishimori has finally started to come to terms with her feelings for Shusei, but she can never seem to find the right moment to tell him. Will the an overnight school trip finally present the perfect opportunity? While Nishimori struggles for the perfect “shoujo manga” romance moment, Shusei’s flirtatious brother throws a very unwelcome wrench in the budding couple’s plans.

Story

With this third volume, I am convinced that LDK cannot possibly be taking itself seriously.

I’ve mentioned before that LDK checks of shoujo cliches with reckless abandon, kind of like watching a trainwreck, but in this particular volume we get the overnight school trip, the hot teacher, the “let’s get closer” angle, and the creepy older brother all rolled into literally four chapters. I don’t expect a ton of depth here, but the story and the plot moves at such breakneck speed that it destroys any ounce of buildup that you may have had. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in every review — and at this rate will continue to do so — but I am amazed that this series somehow lasts for 18 volumes. At some point Watanabe has got to run out of cliches — right?

The cliches would be mostly bearable, maybe, but the relationship dynamics take a turn in this volume that require a disclaimer of “This is a very bad relationship!” shouted from the highest mountain humanly possible. Shusei has a field day pushing Nishimori’s boundaries — including jumping out of a window with her in his arms. So not only is he continually bulldozing over her boundaries while dangling his occasionally angsty niceness like a carrot, the boundary-busting has now crossed into, quite literally, unbelievable territory.

What’s worse (yes, worse) is that Shusei’s brother makes his way to the scene in the latter half of this volume and almost makes Shusei look like a saint. At first I even thought he might be a decent guy, trying to help Nishimori convey her feelings to blockhead Shusei, but he is far, far worse than his brother. At this point Nishimori is like a walking prop for the men’s various issues that they mostly have with one another, not her. We see plenty of shoujo where the main lady is obviously with a horrible guy, but for Nishimori to be mistreated by literally every man in the series — then to have her love interest blame her for it — is depressing on a completely different level.

Art

The art for this series doesn’t really shift much from volume to volume — standard, generic shoujo. It’s not bad honestly, but I could basically copy and paste what I’ve said about previously volumes because it hasn’t noticeably changed.

Overall

The above is why I have come to believe LDK isn’t taking itself seriously. It can’t be, right? Either way, this series a grade A example of a very, very bad relationship. The fact that younger girls might read this and think it’s romantic, yikes. The whole series makes my head spin, and unless you jumping into this and know, very firmly a) what you’re getting into b) that this is a very, very bad relationship, then please, skip it.

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