Recently the hearts of many have been stolen by the delightful Spy x Family, which tells the story of a spy who builds a family to complete his mission. Usually, such a job isn’t suitable for settling down and that’s something the characters of the new series Love of Kill also have to wrestle with. Today we find out if this manga also offers an entertaining tale of love and life.
Our story follows the two professional hitmen, Chateau Dankworth and Ryang-Ha Song, who come across one another while on a mission. For Ryang-Ha it’s love at first sight and he quickly decides that he must find a way to gain Chateau’s attention.
After their initial meeting, Ryang-Ha goes on to kill all of Chateau’s targets for her or offers her otherwise difficult to obtain information. Chateau is grateful for the help, even though she has no interest in even speaking to Ryang-Ha, but when she finds herself in trouble and he lends her a helping hand, perhaps her feelings will change…
This first volume of Love of Kill is made up of six relatively short chapters that serve to introduce us to the cast and setting. We learn that Chateau works for an agency of sorts, with a boss who cares about her wellbeing and a spirited coworker. When Chateau starts taking on more dangerous jobs and growing close to Ryang-Ha, her boss warns her to take care of herself and reminds her that there is more to life than work.
Meanwhile, Ryang-Ha remains more of a mystery. He seems to work alone and has no qualms about killing those who stand in his way. I’d say he’s a coldhearted killer if not for the affection he shows Chateau. In the first couple of chapters, I wouldn’t blame anyone who thought he was simply toying with Chateau but as the volume goes on, it’s clear that he does love her in his own way.
The series is based on a series called I Just Wanna Read a Short Comic About a Couple of Killers that author Fe first published on Pixiv. I confess I did wonder if this had been serialised on a web platform rather than through a magazine initially since there is a somewhat disjointed feeling throughout.
The biggest issue for me is that we’re not given much of a reason to care for either of our protagonists. They’re both so muted emotionally that it’s hard to get invested in their love story. This is especially true in the case of Ryang-Ha whom we know very little about, even by the end of Volume 1.
None of this is helped by the fact that most of this book contains action scenes and not a great deal of interaction for the cast (outside of a date storyline). It’s so busy that I wish it would slow down and let us get to know the cast more effectively but maybe Volume 2 will deliver there?
This is Fe’s first published manga and that shows in the author notes between chapters where they talk about the difficulty in drawing the series. Not least because they were ambitious and even included a car chase! I, for one, praise Fe’s efforts, which I feel paid off in the action department. The fights are well choreographed and it’s easy to follow what’s happening. The only real issue with the art is that it sometimes feels cluttered because there are a lot of speech bubbles during exposition scenes, but otherwise it delivers what it sets out to do well.
In terms of the storytelling, it all feels a little clumsy, but the series has been running for ten volumes so far and there is an anime in production so that leaves me optimistic that things might improve in future instalments.
Love of Kill Volume 1 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Eleanor Ruth Summers. The translation reads well with no issues to note. This release comes complete with colour pages depicting the two main characters, which is nice to see (especially since you only see the back of Chateau on the cover!). Volume 2 of the series is currently scheduled for an English release in May.
Overall, Love of Kill has an interesting premise but doesn’t quite deliver on it. To capture readers we need to spend more time getting to know the protagonists, but if you’re willing to give it more than a single volume, it seems likely to improve.