Love, Hate, Love. by Yamashita Tomoko

Love, Hate, Love.

“I can’t recover from hating something I once loved again.

Love, Hate, Love. is a josei romance manga by the very talented and versatile Yamashita Tomoko.  That should be all that’s necessary to convince others to read it.  But in case it’s not, I have a little something more.  Truthfully, I wanted to make another detailed oyaji themed post, but I keep getting side-tracked by these great titles I want to include and end up covering them instead.  So it’s been a bit unbalanced with lots of josei manga lately.  But don’t worry (or breathe a sigh of relief), I’ll cover something raunchy to off-set it at some point~

Emiya Kiwako is 28 year old professional ballerina and instructor going through a rough time in her life.

Kiwako. One of the fun things is all the cute clothes and shoes.

Frustrated with always being told what to do, Kiwako cuts her long hair off and decides she’s going to quit dancing and do all the things she couldn’t do before, such as smoking, eating sweets, and guys.  She’s been so focused on her dancing that she’s never had a serious relationship with a man.  Determined to experience love, Kiwako sets her sights on her neighbor that she met recently.  While there’s some mutual attraction, it’s pretty shocking when she blurts out if it’s okay for her to fall in love with him.

He sorta accepts the sudden confession.

It’s hard to blame her–who can resist a Yamashita Tomoko oyaji?!  Impossible.  Her neighbor is a 52 year old German culture professor named Nuihara Keisuke.  He actually recognizes Kiwako since he frequents the bar she works at in the evenings.  Sadly, she doesn’t recognize him!  The story basically follows their very casual, but refreshing interactions.

"My hand started to sweat. How embarrassing.." "I know."

Love, Hate, Love. is essentially a coming of age story, which is a bit odd considering her older age.  But it’s never too late!  As a result, Kiwako comes off a bit naive, but earnest.  She struggles with her own personal direction and overly fixates on Nuihara somewhat, but it still comes off as a very sweet story.  She gets to know him better, is confronted with his insecurities of seeing a much younger woman, and learns that it’s okay to sometimes dislike something you love.

Then again, how you could ever dislike *this* is beyond my comprehension.

13 responses to “Love, Hate, Love. by Yamashita Tomoko

  1. Ne ne, did she get together with him in the end?:)
    Yamashita Tomoko is just like you said. Versatile. Her works are all similar in style, yet they’re completely different. This story looks interesting, haven’t heard of this title before!
    I like her women :3

    • Haha, yup. They were together in the end.

      Yeah, you can always spot a Yamashita Tomoko story, but they are never dull or repetitive. I think her josei stuff doesn’t get as much attention from the English speaking community, but it’s just as good! I like her women too and it’s very rare when I can say that as a whole for an author 🙂

  2. I think… there may be less focus on her josei because she’s usually known for her BL/Yaoi stuff. :’D Heck knows, I rarely check yaoi authors to see if they’ve had anything published that wasn’t yaoi. Not that I have anything against the genre, anything that has a good story is fine by me. 😉 Not too many yaoi scanlators focus on the shoujo/josei stuff either, that is… if you’re not a nut about the legality of scanlations and do keep up with some stuff, then it’s uncommon…? :’D *coughs*

    • Don’t get me wrong either, I obviously love BL and shoujo, but sometimes I really wonder about the sampling. It never ceases to amaze me how so much mediocre at best stuff gets translated (licensed or scanlated) while top notch stuff gets completely ignored. It gives an unbalanced impression to those stuck reading in English. Like Yamashita Tomoko’s Don’t Cry, Girl was very popular in Japan (including from those who don’t read BL), but has zero interest in English circles. You’d think a shoujo group would have scanned it. More of a shame than anything I guess. Frustrating definitely.

      • I would never imply that you don’t love both genre… you obviously buy them both in abundance. 8D There are very few groups that focus on Josei titles, and those I can count on one hand. I think that there is just some kind of bias people have against Josei in general? `-`? Maybe it’s the targeted group, or the lack of the typical “shoujo” art style, or just the age of the characters (as if people in their 20’s or 30’s are older) that turns people off.

        I can’t say why only the shitty stuff gets worked on, but art definitely comes into emphasis in a lot of cases. If it’s pretty or has pretty boys or lots of sparklies, it’ll get chosen. Shoujo groups cater to the heterosexual-oriented readers, and BL groups cater to the homosexual-oriented ones. Those who do both are greedy. 😛 Pffft. Kind of illogical, but it kind of makes sense when grounded in American oriented mentality. `-`; *sighs*

      • Haha, yeah.. that was just my own disclaimer since I was going to whine about them. Josei titles are terribly, terribly under-represented. Which sucks, since I hate reading stuff with no furigana. Perhaps the character age and the audience isn’t there. After all, if you ask the average manga reader about shoujo, they think it’s the same boring high school romance manga over and over. Ignorance sucks :-p

        Haha, we are greedy, wanting it all. That makes sense though.. we need more well-rounded interest groups then. /greedygreedy

  3. Pingback: Oyaji Romance Manga Selections | the manga habit

  4. I could NEVER deny any of yamashita’s men T^T.
    i agree w/ what you said about yamashita’s other non-BL manga not getting much attention. i love her bl works, but i want to see how she works w/ other genres. and when she does include women in her bl works, i could never hate them. i’m remembering the 1st oneshot of black winged love and this other one fr illumination. i totally loved the women in there.
    i kinda really hate how bl mangaka (at least the ones i know about) include women in bl manga to create annoying tension in the story -____-
    i was wondering if yamashita’s works are popular in japan? it seems that in america, she isn’t (but i kind of like that. i always like works that are like…hidden gems. but i still want ppl to know about how amazing she is T^T. these contradicting feelings…)
    i really like this entry! i really like tomoko yamashita’s works….
    the main reason i want to learn to read japanese is because i don’t like relying on scanlating groups to translate things that i want. T^T. i feel like if i learn japanese, a whole new world of manga will be opened to me. AHH that’s what your blog does to me: makes me want to learn japanese
    OMG I WROTE A LOT. anyway thanks for entry and i like your blog =]

    • It’s just.. unnatural to deny her men! Honestly, I’m shocked that there are still untranslated works by Yamashtia Tomoko. She writes all genres well and manages to create something a bit unique for all the demographics she writes. I swear I’m in love with every woman she’s ever wrote. Even the high school girls, which is unheard of! I particularly loved the girls from Mo’some Sting and Don’t Cry, Girl. Butter!! is too cute as well.

      But yeah, you’ve touched on my huge BL pet peeve–the EVIL woman. Far too many female characters exist in BL just to act as a speed bump in hooking up the two guys. I particularly hate when the author doesn’t bother developing their character at all or doesn’t give them any redeeming quality. She’s just an evil, bitchy cockblocker! It’s sad.

      Her stuff is pretty popular and definitely well received in Japan. Both Her and Don’t Cry, Girl (nominated for the 4th Manga Taisho award!) had a lot of buzz surrounding them. I don’t remember her actually breaking into the top-selling chart, but that’s hard enough as is. :-p But yeah, there’s a big beautiful world of untranslated manga out there 😀 If you ever have a chance to pursue Japanese, I think it’s a fun hobby that you can combine with other fun hobbies, like reading manga.

      Haha, I’m glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing my frustration over poorly written women in BL too XD

        I love her awkward men. I love all her people. I love how they’re not perfect and some are even pitiful, but urgh I just end up loving them 😀
        I’m surprised too T^T. she needs more love haha

        LOL at “she’s an evil, bitchy cockblocker”. FUUU YES. It frustrates me. Not all women are annoying. They can be ahahah. Glad to see yamashita go against that and bring something new and fresh 😀

        I’m so happy to hear she’s well received in japan!
        she reminds me a bit of fumi yoshinaga?
        do you think so? I was wondering if it’s just me. Oh and I read kinou nani tabeta since you recommended it and I love it. I love slice of life.
        OH that’s another reason I love tomoko yamashita. How her slice of life stuff are so realistic, and sometimes just really simple.
        but her dramatic stuff is really good too T^T
        I love her too much.

        yes I know there’s a whole world out there T^T. for now I’ll settle for getting sneak peeks into it by stalking your blog and tumblr XD

  5. wow, I suppose my inability to catch on understanding another language is going to be the biggest hurdle in my appreciation of Yamashita Tomoko’s works. A lot of times, it’s her dialogue that kills. I cried over “re:hello” from Koi no Hanashi ga Shitai because of the little details and amounts of introspection. When I find an amazing story, I usually go over anything by that mangaka. While there’s a bulk of her stuff translated, it’s just usually the BL ones T^T but then, she never fails to amaze me TT^TT

    I really thank you for writing these reviews. That bit about “28 year old” gives the story more depth, since everything else just starts to feel more serious than ever. In that sense, it’s never too late to fall and feel reborn.

    I really love rereading her work. There are things I fail to notice on the first read. The only good thing about running into raws is that I am made to focus in only the art, and it’s not always that I get everything just by looking at the panels.

    Amazing blog!! I am happy I found you *A*

    • Sadly, I think you’re right. My favorite Yamashita Tomoko works aren’t in English. Even a BL one, Mo’some Sting! Don’t Cry, Girl is also not available. Her non-BL stuff is all but ignored, but it’s just as good, if not better. It’s a shame. But that is an interesting point–lacking understanding of the language will force the art to tell the story… I think her characters are expressive enough to carry it pretty well on their own!

      That’s the nice thing about josei manga–it’s easier to find characters you can emphasize with and it explores things like having to find yourself and your own path in the world… when you’re already far past your parents’ house and/or college dorm. Otoko no Isshou gave me a similar feeling, that it’s never to late to change or fall in love.

      Thanks 😀 I hope you discover some new titles then!

      • I’m really having a field day thanks to your blog~ so many hidden gems. I’ll be picture-reading for Otoko no Isshou then~

        Yamashita Tomoko draws very expressive faces. *A* It’s lovely how they go from blank to normal to troubled then pained. And damn their profiles as well haha

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