Manga Reviews: Love at Fourteen Volumes 8, & 9

Love at Fourteen follows two middle school students (7th grade to be specific), Kanata Tanaka and Kazuki Yoshikawa who are very mature for their age. Because of the way their classmates perceive them, the two feel the only people they can be their true selves around is each other. A very sweet, innocent first-love blossoms between the two.

Series: Love at Fourteen
Volume 8
Author: Fuka Mizutani
First published: 2010
Ongoing: yes
Rating: 3/5 stars
Date read: April 25, 2020

Majority of the focus of this volume was on one of the side characters, Kato, and a girl he really wants to help out. We also have a Shiki storyline, with Shiki trying to deal with her unreciprocated feelings towards Kanata.

Before we get into the reviews I feel the need to address that this manga has some very problematic content. It features a lot of student-teacher relationships and if that is not something you are comfortable with, then this is not the manga for you. I personally like to imagine these kids are in high school or university, and that’s how I cope.

If I’m being completely honest, Shiki is one of my least favourite characters, her attitude towards Kazuki makes me really uncomfortable, so naturally this is one of my least favourite volumes. I really do hope she finds someone who can reciprocate her feelings. Also, while I did find Kato and Arisaka’s situation and interactions cute, I can’t get behind an elementary student dating. I wish, more strongly than ever, that the students in this series had been aged up, college would have been ideal (I totally think you can be sweet and innocent in college!) and would have made the problematic elements in this story less so, heck even high school would have been an improvement. As always, Kazuki and Kanata’s interactions are adorable and the highlight of the volume for me. 

Series: Love at Fourteen
Volume 9
Author: Fuka Mizutani
First published: 2010
Ongoing: yes
Rating: 4.25/5 stars
Date read: April 26, 2020

We start off Volume 9 with Hinohara wanting Nagai to watch Mino in a live concert, and trying to figure out a way to make that happen. Kanata also happens to break her leg in this volume, and this causes her and Kazuki to have an even harder time getting time alone.

I’ve always thought of Love at Fourteen as episodic, in that I don’t feel there is an overarching story, and each volume stands pretty well on its own. While these characters are changing and growing up (I say this especially in the case of Nagai, he’s easily had the most character development) it’s all pretty subtle. What I didn’t realize was that we really are just following a year in their lives and that at some point that year is going to end. Volume 9 really brought that idea home, and I was shocked by what transpired in this volume.

Volume 9 really tugged at my heartstrings. I loved seeing Nagai and Shota help out Kazuki; I think that really reflects the growth both characters have experienced and the friendships that have evolved. But the real kicker was Kazuki’s news to Kanata. I spent majority of the time I dated my husband (5 years) in a long distance relationship, so naturally this made me very upset. I think the way the situation was handled was great, and this is the first time where a manga has made me teary eyed over this type of reveal. I really hope things work out for the two of them because I’ve never read about two characters more perfectly suited for each other. I do also take this to mean the manga is nearing its end. It’s so strange to think that knowing I’ve been reading this manga for seven years. 

If you’ve read Love at Fourteen or plan to, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading! 💗

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