So for those that had read my “What the Fuck is the Appeal of Yandere’s?” I stated I was reading a particular manga that brought this idea to my mind to start with, Ijousha No Ai. Penned and drawn by Chida Daisuke, Ijousha No Ai is a violent, psychological tragedy that follows Kazumi, Ichinose, a poor son of a bitch that made the horrible mistake of being nice to a girl at one time in his life, we know how this goes.
Ijousha No Ai is an interesting look at what is typically painted as a yandere, whereas in most worlds there is an underlying connection that aids the main character in some way. The crazy in this story, Midou Saki falls for our main early on in elementary school, confessing to him but ultimately getting turned down as Kazumi is in love with Niimi Fumika. Unable to take the rejection Midou does what any Yandere does and decides the best course of action is to simply remove Niimi from the playing field. Being discovered by Kazumi among the gore and corpse of his friend he is traumatized as Midou is quickly whisked away by a police officer.
This naturally sets a bleak narrative as Kazumi lives out his life rather recluse. Not wanting anyone to get close to him as the images of Niimi are fresh in his mind. In high school now and developing an affinity for art Kazumi runs into a cheerful classmate, Shino, Yotsuya. It becomes clear very early on that Shino has feelings for Kazumi however, is rejected often as Kazumi is still scared of Midou’s violence. But unable to deny her relentless barrage of confessions he decided to date Shino, swearing to put the past behind him.
Oh, I should mention Midou is out and has been stalking him for months unbeknownst to him.
To keep this review mostly spoiler-free and note that I cannot read Japanese, I am on chapter 59 out of 74 waiting for the rest of them to be translated by all those heroes out there that do that. I will from this point on look at the story critically in the respects of writing and world-building. Which is something honestly the book does well.
So if you look around on the Internet Ijousha No Ai ranks around a 50% approval rate, which makes sense once you read it. It is packed full of a twisted sense of love matched with a desire to inflict pain on everyone in Midou’s life. Using a mixture of blackmail, torture, and straight-up threats to keep everyone in Kazumi’s life, including himself, in line.
Minor spoiler: Warning
It gets to the point where Kazumi strikes a deal with Midou, pretty much saying he will be her lover and follow all these rules she has as long as she doesn’t fuck with everyone around her. It is at this time it is made clear that Kazumi hates this situation but for the safety of his friends, puts up with it. It is also the first time we get any idea what Midou’s whole ordeal even is. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of this delivery because at this point we are roughly halfway through the story and we are just now learning anything at all about the main ‘villain’
Opening up to Kazumi she talks to him about her family and other stressors in her life up to this point. None of them justifying in the slightest killing Niimi or any of the other fucked up stuff she had done later in the story. What it does, however, gives some sort of glimpse into her life and unlike Yuno or other notable Yandere who have the “love” part but usually other stressors that make their personalities make a little more sense, Midou doesn’t. She is a sadist and a sociopath, using her love for Kazumi as nothing more than an excuse to play out her desires.
This overall makes Midou herself bland but also in the same stroke makes Kazumi’s position that much more terrifying. He can do everything right, do everything in his power to keep Midou at bay but it will never be enough because what she wants isn’t just his love, she wants to have this control over all of them, and how Daisuke paints this is surprisingly well.
I am very much so looking forward to the rest of the story to be translated so my pea brain that only knows one language can read it. I hope Kazumi can be one of the few to break the chains of the Yandere and get all the ones close to him out of this situation, but on the other hand, Midou is a ruthless, intelligent, and determines alpha predator. It won’t be easy for our boy.
I am confident giving this book a 5/10 not knowing how it ends, and if that changes my mind, then I will make another post amending it. It is a fine book and I trust my knowledge of storytelling to allow me to jump to this conclusion being where I am. If you are in the market for a gut punch that makes you question your sanity, give Ijousha No Ai a chance, or don’t, I guess it’s determined by if you want to be scared of girls for the rest of one’s life.