The big question readers are left with after Love and Heart volume 1 is whether Haruma is some sort of supernatural being with a possessive streak or an outright yandere.
Well, volumes 2 and 3 strongly lean toward option B, but I’m sure Haruma would love some vampire-like abilities to go with his technology and social media skills to help keep all the pests away from Yoh.
However, for a yandere, “pests” can also mean “anyone but me”, and in this case, he definitely means that.
Yoh, however, still occasionally senses something off about the childhood friend she doesn’t remember, but the combination of his everyday sweetness and knight in shining armor routine is winning her over. She still has reservations and makes excuses about entering into a relationship with him, stemming from her being alone for much of her childhood.
The manga continues giving readers only brief glimpses of the gaps in Yoh’s memory, but it’s people from her more immediate past that take center stage in these volumes. First is Kunie, the VP of the student union who invites Yoh to help out. The fact he is two-faced is hardly a surprise when Yoh notices the hands of the student who delivers Kunie’s message are shaking and another member of the council warns her to flee. Kunie shows his true colors rather quickly, and Yoh struggles with how to handle him and prevent him from messing with her friends’ lives. Then, Yoh reunites with a friend from junior high, Wakana. Wakana is the pretty and cutesy type (she still refers to herself in the third person), and as she visits Yoh at home and at school, men quickly flock to her side. Wakana initially seems thrilled to see Yoh, but chances are it’s more for the fact she can mess with Yoh rather than hang out together.
Making an overly possessive love interest someone to root for requires a delicate threading of the needle, and Haruma does an excellent job of using his charm and resources to avoid overt violence or doxxing. He’s clearly playing 3D chess here. But I have gripes about Love and Heart potentially being nothing but a series of figures (perhaps all from Yoh’s past?) coming in and wanting to wreck havoc on the heroine for Haruma to stop. There is already plenty of intrigue with what happened to Haruma and/or his family, and the clues we get about their shared childhood are my favorite part of Love and Heart. I know there have to be some antagonists in a story, but geez, Yoh’s already on #3 — even more if you count the ex and the random serial slasher. I’ve read manga with actual delinquents and yakuza members who have fewer enemies, geez.
However, it’s Touya whom I felt was the weakest link in the story. He just seems to flop between from platonic friend to obtuse about his feelings to harboring a secret crush on Yoh to someone barely able to control his feelings. That means Sawako is being portrayed as the other member of this love polygon even as she tries to encourage Touya. Plus, the stronger he feels about Yoh, the higher the chance he’s going to face strong opposition from Haruma. In fact, Haruma convinced Touya he’s a nice guy and was going to ease up on him, so Haruma is likely going to be very angry about Touya’s sudden passion.
Yoh continues to show some spunk even though she has plenty of duh moments, and seeing Haruma delivering just desserts to her enemies is just as sweet as his doting of her. Readers who want a positive, healthy romance will want to avoid this series, but I have to give Love and Heart credit for having that addictive quality for those who are just looking for their next guilty pleasure.