Wotakoi: Love is Hard for an Otaku Manga Volume 4 Review (Eng Version)

It’s been a while since we last talked about Wotakoi. The last volume came out in November of 2018, so to say I was excited to read more is definitely an understatement. Over the years, I’ve come to love this series and would currently list it as one of my top five favorite manga and anime. Fujita has done a great job of creating a group of friends that work well together, grow together, and cover all aspects of otaku life without seeming two-dimensional. While many of them embody tropes of typical otaku life (the overzealous fujoushi, the introvert gamer) they never stay as those tropes, always trying new things, growing, and making meaningful relationships like regular people. It’s one of the aspects of this series that really kept me coming back, and I’m glad to see even more character progression in this new volume four. 

This volume is much the same as the others that came before it, with a couple longer stories split up between some short, more comedic comics. The main story continues after Nao finds out that Ko is a girl and explores how their relationship begins to change and the complications that come with it. It also explores in more depth the relationship between Kabakura and Koyanagi as they get into more arguments but still manage to keep their relationship strong and healthy. And of course we are still following the growing love between Naru and Hirotaka. Overall, the stories come together as the characters support one another through their ups and downs. 

I’ve been loving the fact that each volume starts with a full-color comic that really showcases the character designs. It adds a whole other level to the experience of reading the volume and getting a feel for the characters to see them in full color. This volume starts off with a full-color comic about playing an RPG game together with everyone. I think it really fits the setting, for this to be what gets the full-color treatment, because of their video game character designs and the world that they’re playing in. We get the full experience of seeing Koyanagi and Naru’s outfits and how elaborate they are compared to Kabakura, and seeing Kabakura and Koyanagi argue in full-color is just so satisfying. 

But in general, Fujita’s art is just so good. The expressions on his characters and their designs just pull me right in. Fujita does a great job of allowing the characters to express their emotions in a variety of ways. Kabakura is absolutely one of the most expressive characters in the manga, and I’m loving seeing a more vulnerable side to his expressions this time around. His blushing face is just adorable. Ko and Nao are also giving us some great expressions in this volume as their relationship grows more complicated and Ko tests out a more feminine side to herself. What always amazes me is the ways in which Fujita conveys Hirotaka’s emotions, since he is typically a very stoic character. But through page tones, lighting, and subtle changes to his expressions, we get to understand how he is feeling throughout the manga. 

I made the point of rereading the whole series from the start before digging into this volume since it’s been awhile since a volume has been released. It definitely helped refresh me on the characters and the overarching threads being woven throughout the shorter one-shot comics. This volume definitely expands on the character growth, giving us some important milestones in character relationships, especially between Koyanagi and Kabakura as well as Ko and Nao. 

We see tremendous growth in the relationship between Koyanagi and Kabakura. I’m sure some of you have seen the covers for future volumes going around online so hopefully this won’t be too much of a spoiler, but Kabakura winds up proposing to Koyanagi towards the end of the volume. It’s a huge milestone in an otherwise turbulent relationship, and a much-needed sign of growth for their relationship. Throughout the volume, we get to see how their relationship has progressed from High-school to now through the story of their couple’s necklaces and how that transforms into a marriage proposal. I think this journey allows us to really see more into the emotional nature of their relationship outside of their arguments. We see Kabakura trying to pull back from starting arguments with her as he decides when to propose in an effort to be someone more worthy of being with her. In contrast, we also see Koyanagi getting upset that he’s not acting like himself by not arguing with her, that he doesn’t need to change who he is to be with her. I really love their relationship, and even through their arguments, I think they know and understand each other well and have a very strong relationship.

Ko and Nao on the other hand are just starting to feel out their feelings for one another. While I think Nao either doesn’t realize or doesn’t understand the growing feelings between them, I think Ko is finally seeing that she feels something more than friendship at this point. I think we see this after Narumi and Koyanagi take Ko shopping for some more feminine clothes. She winds up wearing her new outfit out on a date with Nao, showing her willingness to go outside of her comfort zone for him and awakened interest in appearing more feminine for him. I especially love how flustered she gets from Nao changing her honorific from -kun to -chan in a way that makes me think that that change would make her think too much about a possible romantic relationship with Nao instead of staying as “one of the boys.” I’m really interested to see where this relationship goes. I feel like over the last couple volumes, we’ve been building up really slowly to them getting together, and we’ve seen a ton of character growth from Ko that really makes you want to root for her.  

I think this is where I’m going to end it today. I’m trying to get back into writing more often and I have a ton of catching up to do. Let me know in the comments if you’ve had the chance to read the latest volume and your thoughts on the various relationship developments. Hopefully we can see a volume 5 published sooner than we got this one. Fingers crossed!

~~Thanks for Reading!~~

<<< Volume 3

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