Ah, junior high. For those in the US, that’s basically between the 7th and 9th grade, and I’m sure a number of you have many memorable moments from that time. You might also have extremely forgettable moments you’d like to store deep into the recess of your brain, never to be remembered ever again. We happen to follow the chuunibyou, Kyotaro Ichikawa, who has a strange and dark desire to terrorize his classmates, but number 1 on his kill list is Anna Yamada, the popular girl in class and a model. Kyotaro, however, is a nervous wreck, and as we follow his seemingly cringey life, he soon becomes aware of why he’s so obsessed with Anna…and learns Anna might not be as normal as she comes across.
This is a slightly unusual take on the rom-com genre, since for the most part your options usually consist of either a bland male lead with the girls pining for him, a rom-com with some very strong chemistry between its two main characters, or a rom-com where the romance is already decided, to name a few. But I can certainly imagine there being a person where they’re internally letting their imaginations run wild back in grade school, and that’s where we get Kyotaro. Doesn’t appear to be all that popular and is somewhat anti-social, but he sure has some dark thoughts…like saying he’s messed up in the head and that he wants to murder the popular girl in class.
This isn’t the only thing he wants to do — his target is her but there are other characters whom he doesn’t like either — but he keeps his dark thoughts to himself. Other times he’s awkwardly catching Anna eating snacks in the library, mentally calling a group of boys abominations for wanting to ask Anna and her group of girls to take part in a personality test to determine what sex positions they like, or yeeting his bike at some jerk attempting to forcefully get Anna’s number. There’s even one moment where he finds himself sneaking into the nurse’s office after Anna got hit by a basketball to see if she’s ok.
Massive creeper or…he’s just crushing on her isn’t he?
The Dangers in My Heart might be more close to how junior high kids act then most rom-coms. From the stuff they talk about in their circle (the boys wondering if girls play with themselves) to how they end up acting in public (one kid ends up essentially wimping out from asking such a thing after basically getting the death stare by Anna and her friends), this type of comedy actually works out. The story between Kyotaro and Anna, of course, takes center stage though as we learn about Anna’s eccentricities while Kyotaro faces the prospect that he actually likes her…and all of sudden this series got kind of wholesome.
The humor is very effective, as it plays with common school tropes but does so in great ways — see Anna’s friends forming a wall around her when the pick-up jerk brings his friends along at school and they realize it’s not gonna be easy to talk to her. See also the one moment where Kyotaro thinks he’s protecting Anna after her project was rejected by using his box cutter to slash a paper in front of the whole class…but Anna was only looking at some helicopters and no one saw her crying. There’s a ton of hilarious moments in this first volume, and then before you know it, it then hits you with something heartwarming out of nowhere!
So basically, The Dangers in My Heart has some weird teens. The chief of weirdness is our male lead, and then you have the female lead, Anna, who thought she was hiding her snack addiction from one of her friends, only to learn she didn’t. Note that this secret is revealed to Kyotaro as her friend explains this…while Anna is hiding under the table. So yeah, kind of weird too! But these characters have been fun so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they grow as the series continues.