MANGA REVIEW | "Medaka Kuroiwa is Impervious to My Charms" - Vol. 1
Nothing is worse than having a story be average. Both great and terrible stories can be talked about for weeks on end; average ones tend to linger in the air for just a blink of an eye. I say this because Ran Kuze’s Medaka Kuroiwa is Impervious to My Charms is as average as a rom-com manga can get. And after spending a bit pondering over its first volume, I can’t help but feel nothing about what I just read.
The manga follows Mona, a popular high schooler who can capture almost anyone’s attention. Medaka Kuroiwa is the reason for the “almost anyone” part, as she cannot find a way to woo the recent transfer student. But when Mona’s not looking, Medaka is trying to get his feeling er for her out of his head. His reason: he’s the son of a monk, and his temple forbids all romantic relationships.
On the surface, the premise of Medaka Kuroiwa is Impervious to My Charms sounds like something that can get some mileage. Mona’s interactions with Medaka in the first chapter are pretty funny, especially regarding catty chats and fan-service-y shots. The fact that Medaka treats Mona with disdain is brought out with such great polar opposite personalities. Mona’s bubbly self is a great contrast to Medaka’s shrewdness, which could make for some great comedy down the line.
But the moment the great what-ifs this story could do fade from existence is when Medaka’s monk self is revealed. I get that a lot of romance manga plays on plenty of confusion, but this is an excuse that could easily be talked about in one single sentence. All misunderstandings would be cleared between Mona and Medaka, and she wouldn’t be trying so hard to get a ruse out of him. The issue is so simplistic, that the fact that Medaka has said nothing about it to Mona is just downright frustrating!
Adding in a character like Tsubomi also does nothing to freshen up the story. She’s no different from the weird stalker-y types that we’ve seen in the past like Komi Can’t Communicate or My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over. At least she’s not super-psychotic, with Mona kind of glad she took pictures of her instead of Medaka. While it’s a gag that’s been done one too many times, at least it doesn’t reach criminal levels of cringe.
Medaka Kuroiwa is Impervious to My Charms could have had so much potential. Sadly, it’s just another shojo rom-com with a premise that could easily be solved with barely ten words uttered. This is the kind of manga that easily forgettable as soon as one reads the final page of it, with there being nothing unique to be shown throughout it. As such, I’m pushing Medaka Kuroiwa is Impervious to My Charms out of my brain, so as to make more room for the more interesting things in life.
Promotional consideration provided by Tomo Tran of Kodansha Manga