Ayumu Tanaka and Urushi Yaotome like each other. It becomes blatantly clear throughout the first volume that they want to get into a relationship.
But as you can figure out, they’re not together at this time. For Ayumu, he wants to actually confess once he beats Urushi in shogi. For Urushi, she’s unwilling to actually say the words herself and wants Ayumu to properly confess instead. So the main conceit is Ayumu’s gotta get good and then these two will finally get into a relationship.
The problem…Ayumu really sucks at shogi. Therefore, When Will Ayumu Make His Move? is a title that certainly ties into shogi and the moves you make in said game. But on the romance aspect, it’s when will he finally confess he likes his senpai and these two will finally go out?
Honestly, that probably would’ve been nice if it happened in this volume, because there’s not a lot of jokes to be had in this one. Ayumu is doggedly determined to maintain his stance on not confessing to Urushi, so even whenever she says something that can be constructed as embarrassing, he keeps his unfazed attitude. That does make it a step above your usual male romantic lead continuously being flustered, but that means the slack has to be picked up by Urushi, who is the one who’s consistently embarrassed at how frank Ayumu can be with his words (“I think you’re cute”) or actions (in one chapter, he simply just wants to walk with her).
In general, the nature of their interactions is cute, but unfortunately, the comedy portions don’t shine through. It’s less the shogi aspect but more like these two personalities don’t seem to work at the moment, which is a little different from Yamamoto’s other romantic-comedy series. Maybe it would’ve worked if the topics were interesting, but the chapters generally cycle through the two playing a match, and an occasional chapter or two with them dealing with other events (Ayumu’s kendo past and Urushi wanting to skip gym class). In other words, an extra set of characters or a short arc instead of short one-shot chapters might’ve been best to really settle in with these two.
As it stands, the relative innocence and the fact that they’re the only Shogi Club members, alongside the pleasant art style is what makes this first volume relatively fine overall. The two being at odds on expanding members (Ayumu of course wants less members since he can spend time with Urushi alone, but Urushi generally likes shogi and wants more people so they can actually be an official club) does remain the most entertaining aspect of this manga. But there’s going to need a bit more to these two and this series if it’s going to be worth continuing consistently.