My Lovesick Life as a ’90s Otaku Volume 3 Review

As we approach the conclusion of this series, things come to a head for Megumi as the love interests closest to her cause her problems in unexpected ways.

One comes in the form of Yui, Megumi’s penpal, who Megumi doesn’t know is a boy named Itokichi, even when he visits her stall at Comiket. With Megumi trying to come to terms with her romantic feelings for otaku-hating Masamune, she decides to tell Yui/Itokichi that she is falling in love with a boy. Matters become even more complicated when Megumi asks to meet Yui. Given his parents’ insistence on him joining a military academy very soon, Itokichi decides to meet Megumi and reveal the truth about Yui.

Meanwhile, Masamune’s sister Sara is about to celebrate her birthday, and Megumi thinks it would be a good idea to organise a party to celebrate it. However, part of the reason for this is an effort to try and get their otaku mother Fujiko to join, despite how much Masamune hates her. There is another problem too: the day of the party is also the day Megumi meets Itokichi. In Megumi’s words: “And then came February 3, 1996. The day all the gears went haywire.”

This third volume in the series is mainly setting out the groundwork for the fourth and final edition, as the tension ramps up between Megumi, Masamune and Itokichi. The meeting between Megumi and Itokichi makes for pleasant and amusing reading – despite a gag in which Megumi accidentally squirts ketchup on Itokichi, resulting in an cross on his face, leading him to happily say how much he now looks like Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin. I know it is a period piece, but all these references to the work of convicted sex offender Nobuhiro Watsuki definitely grate. It’s like someone in Britain making a TV show set in the 1980s and someone making an off-the-cuff gag about Jim’ll Fix It – you cannot make that reference without knowing there’s a massive asterisk next to it.

We also get to learn more about the background of some of the characters. We learn how Fujiko became the way that she is, which was down to her being abandoned by her feckless husband. For her, anime provided a means of escape from the troubles of being a single mother, to the cost of her own kids.

The production quality of the series remains high. Matt Treyvaud’s translation, Jamil Stewart’s lettering, and Maggie Lee’s editing again work well, whether it be the easy readability of the manga, or the quality of the translation notes, providing context and up-to-date information about references to some things from the 1990s which have changed – for example, details on the military academy Itokichi is being made to join, which has changed names over the years.

As we approach the final volume, it’s important to remember this story is told in flashback. Just how Megumi ended up at the point that she too became a single mother, but with an anime-loving daughter, is still to be revealed.

Our review copy from Kodansha was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.

8 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. His debut book, CLAMPdown, about the manga collective CLAMP, is available now. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

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