Venus in Love 3Posted: March 5, 2010
Yuki Nakaji – CMX – 2008 – 12 volumes
As I said, I was reading this volume when I suddenly realized how it was the polar opposite of We Were There. Both are awesome romance series, but while We Were There takes the depressing path of tragedy and emotional brass tacks, Venus in Love is literally one of the cheeriest, most upbeat titles I’ve read. There’s the barest hint of drama towards the end of the volume, but even that is treated lightly and the characters mostly are awkward and scold themselves for being silly. There are plenty of romantic elements, but mostly it’s just Suzu and Eichi together having a good time.
Venus in Love is different from We Were There in that it doesn’t really examine happiness, the characters are happy because they choose to be and are doing things that they feel content with. It’s easy to relate to them, but it can only be done on a superficial level, so it’s not quite as striking as We Were There.
But the happiness isn’t the series’ only asset. There are a handful of pretty unique things about it. First and foremost, it’s set in a college. It reads like a high school romance, and it’s hard to remember that it’s a college, but all the same, it’s a campus romance. Also, time is elapsing. One year has gone by since the beginning of the series. There are other things, too. Suzu has a best friend, but rather than having her be a competitor for the boy she has a crush on, the friend has her own crush and subplot where the two of them get together. Interestingly, the crush seems to have been minimalized already, and most of the story in this volume is about Suzu and Eichi, her crush’s best friend. Eichi is also gay and completely in love with his friend, so he’s also in competition with Suzu, in a way. Except they become friends who cheer each other on, both seeming to know that the crush’s feelings lie elsewhere. I was momentarily afraid that Eichi was somehow going to turn straight to date Suzu, and Suzu definitely begins to develop feelings for him (maybe. a little.), but later, a competitor in the form of a hot new boy on campus shows up with a big crush of his own on Eichi.
Weird stuff. Amid all this, there’s donut munching, rabbit costumes, toy sales, furbies, awkward dates, awkward kisses, student/teacher relationships, and all sorts of other silliness. There aren’t really any jokes, though, which I appreciate immensely. Usually series like this are played for comedy, but this isn’t. It’s merely happy.
It’s not as good as We Were There, but I think it’s quite notable in its own way. I’ve only got one more volume, but I think the next time I see it on sale, I’m going to grab all the current volumes. It’s great stuff.