Manga Monday: Lightning and Romance, Vol. 1

Series: Lightning and Romance
Author/Artist: Rin Mikimoto
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: February 1, 2022
Received: NetGalley

Has anybody else been searching for a sweet new romantic manga to dive into? My latest search brought me to Lightning and Romance, Vol. 1, written and illustrated by Rin Mikimoto (the creator who brought readers Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight and Kira-Kun Today).

Like many high-school students, Sumire can’t stop thinking about romance. More specifically, she wants to find herself in the center of a romantic story. Yet she’s never had the chance, and her latest seatmate seems to have made this possibility even less likely if that is possible.

Leo Ninomiya is currently back in high school. A fact that shouldn’t seem all that out of the ordinary, except that he’s twenty years old and rumored to be connected to a criminal organization. The scar doesn’t help.

Um. Hrm. Okay, so we have a budding romance between a high-school teen and a twenty-year-old guy? The age difference isn’t huge, but it is still pretty uncomfortable. I just couldn’t shake that feeling, even though I did try really hard to enjoy Lightning and Romance, Vol. 1.

Part of the problem is that Leo’s arc felt so moody and serious, while Sumire’s story arc felt so light and fluffy, very much following a traditional high-school girl story. The two don’t mesh, so seeing them as romantic partners was challenging.

Perhaps Lightning and Romance, Vol. 1 would have been a bit more enjoyable had half the story not been intentionally obfuscated from the reader’s view. I know it was meant to build drama, but all it did was distance us from the characters.

Thanks to Kodansha Comics and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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