I usually hate love triangles. They are especially frustrating when I have a character that I am cheering for and that character ends up being the character left out by the end. You know, shows like Toradora with Minori Kushieda or Nisekoi with Onodera or Go-Toubun with Miku or any romance with childhood friend characters, you get the point.
An Easy Introduction to Love Triangles (To Pass the Exam!) is not a manga like any of these shows; rather than having multiple characters like one male lead, it’s closer to an actual closed triangle. A likes B, B likes C, and C likes A. Well how does this work? The cast is all female.
That’s right. An Easy Introduction to Love Triangles is a yuri manga with a love triangle.
That might seem like a weird thing to emphasize, but the thing about yuri is that they aren’t usually well done. Of course, there are yuri manga that I like with enjoyable couples such as Asagao to Kase-san, but the concepts that Yuri manga deals with are usually pretty boring most of the time. Whereas I just want to see two main female leads be lovey dovey, you get this weird drama about their relationship or weird drama about why they wanted to get involved in a yuri relationship.
So while this manga is called “An Easy Introduction to Love Triangles” it’s actually not much like any normal love triangle romances.
I first approached this manga as a recommendation from Jun. I didn’t know if he gave this manga to me because he thought that this was going to be a fresh, innovative take on love triangles that would change my mind on the trope or if he gave me this manga because he wanted to watch me drop it with disgust.
So naturally, I didn’t really go into this manga expecting it to be any good. I saw some characters with bad grades and some girls getting slapped from the relationship before. These all seem like normal frustrating highschool romance with overly dramatic problems that would be frustrating. But what hooked me was the end of the first chapter, where Mayuki and Mochizuki kiss. I really loved the fact that this was set up immediately; there wasn’t any stupid drama to start off, nor were there any reluctance on any of the characters. Mayuki was dead set on her love towards Akira. In fact, Mochizuki was seen immediately in a relationship with another girl at the start.
Both the biggest strength and weakness with the manga is the drama. The drama in this manga revolves mostly around two different parts: drama from the love triangle and the drama from their everyday life. The former is pretty fun to watch just because of how ridiculous it can get. The amount of devotion that these characters have for their love is insane. It’s also pretty nice seeing the bits of the background that gives us a look into why these characters like the characters that they do. While it’s nothing too special, they are sincere enough for me to follow and resonate with the reasons why each character fell in love with these characters. Most importantly, when I saw the seduction scenes or characters being lovey dovey with each other, I had my mouth go ear to ear.
The latter part of the drama, however, is what I have problems with. Most of the drama outside the relationship felt pretty cheesy and forced. Reasons why Mochizuki can’t love anyone or the conversations that Akira has with her friends or the studying related problems were all slightly frustrating to handle. But naturally, with this being a manga, and the fact that I didn’t even really go into this expecting a careful read, I pretty much just skimmed through these dramas with school or past relationships when I could. And thankfully these problems really go away after a couple of chapters.
I think that’s one of the better parts about manga as a medium in general; the fact that you can control the pace of your reading gives a lot of control to the pace of the story (though it is obviously true that the author can extend one event over a lot of pages but it’s not as bad as bad pacing in an anime where you are really forced to watch all of it.)
But what the best part of the manga is for me is definitely the art. It’s not necessarily the drawing that impresses me, as it’s possible to see a few proportion errors especially in the beginning chapters of the manga, but more the whole aesthetic feeling. The artist colors the eyes by slightly erasing parts while using multiple lines rather than filling the whole eye lashes. This gives a nice reflective feeling that makes it feel shiny but not overtly sparkly. The texture also has this almost transparent feeling on it which gives it this romance-like atmosphere in a lot of scenes giving it a really nice atmosphere to read.
I think the character designs are unique enough to easily fit into the three main characters the author created, especially because the three characters have such contrasting personalities. The flower hair ties on the main girl who is portrayed more as the younger, cute one; long white hair with a feeling of elegance on Mochizuki; the short athletic look of Akira were all done well enough to set their characters properly. The characters looking cute, pretty, etc is a great added bonus to that.
From here, I’m going to talk about the ending and this is a pretty huge spoiler to the manga so read with caution.
If you read the 11 chapters of the manga, you would know that this manga ends up in a polygamous relationship. Usually I really dislike these types of ending. I’ve seen harems that feature endings with multiple characters ending up today, but they are never usually well done. This is usually because the ending doesn’t feel very satisfying because viewers usually spend time cheering on for their best girl or best guy. Even in a show like To-Love Ru where they pretty much tell you that it’s going to end in a harem, viewers usually have the one character that they cheer for.
But that’s not really what it’s like with this manga. The reason why I think this works in this manga is because of how the love triangle was set up. By not having any competition for one character, the manga naturally avoids creating a competition for the best relationship. Of course, you can enjoy one pair more than the others, but when one of the characters within the pair likes a third character that likes the other character of the pair, it’s really hard to just cheer for one single pair. And because of how the three characters had their arcs set up, getting through reasons why like the other characters, and the arc leading up to that ending, readers are pretty much placed in a situation where they have to cheer on all three characters at once. And what better way is there to do that then have all three characters be together with each other forever.
I really thought that the last chapter was done in a satisfying manner that captured the cute relationship together. The three hanging out under the tree together on a picnic discussing or that ending cut with the three holding hands together, proudly declaring their relationship were some nice moments that rounded out the manga well.
I don’t think An Easy Introduction to Love Triangles is going to be the next masterpiece for anyone. But with a short run time of 11 chapters, great art, along with the crazy drama and story, I think this manga can be a really easy one to enjoy when you have the free time.
Thanks for reading!