Romance Roundtable #42: My Love Mix-Up! Vol 1

Welcome back to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss Romance Manga. Today we’re covering volume 1 of My Love Mix-Up! by Wataru Hinekure and Aruko. Fall in love along with us as we cackle throughout this beautifully drawn bisexual love triangle about sweet, goofy teens.


Jenny: this book was so cute!!

CC: I am SOOOOO excited to talk about this one!!!
my [bisexual] love mixup!!!!!

Rachel: this book was such a balm

Ashley: i enjoyed it a lot tooo
just basking in that for a moment
i feel like this is one of the books where there are certain things i don’t want to give away because they are so delightful to experience

Jenny: there was definitely A LOT of gasping on my end
a lot of cackling

CC: I think we can warn folks before voyaging into ~ * ~ the spoiler zone ~ * ~

Jenny: yeah i definitely took way too many screencaps in an attempt to actually covey the absurdity of some of these situations
exhibit a (the premise):

Ida, looking suspiciously at Aoki: "Just... why does your eraser have 'Ida ♡' on it...?"
Aoki, sweating/blushing: "Uh, don't get the wrong idea. It's not mine."
Ida: "Then whose is it?"
Aoki thinks: "That eraser makes it look like I'm in love with Ida! Wait! If I say it belongs to Hashimoto, he'll know she has a crush on him."
Aoki: "Um... actually..."

Jenny: just whole pages
it’s complicated!!

Ashley: hahaha

CC: they really had a whole ass love mix-up! on every level!

Ashley: the immediate reaction to the opening eraser mixup was great and also introduces the perfect himbo at the center of the book’s love triangle

Aoki freaks out as he realizes that Hashimoto has a crush on Ida. "I see. Hashimoto... is so classy. And I love that about her too..."

Jenny: what a kind an earnest hunk!!

Rachel: it’s true!!!
idk i know this is teen-complicated, but i love this simple love triangle
like, guy likes girl, girl likes other guy, maybe guy likes other guy??
maybe other guy likes guy????
amazing

Aoki draws out the love triangle ona piece of paper. "I like Hashimoto. And Hashimoto likes Ida... and Ida likes — "
Aoki realizes he's drawn an arrow from Ida to himself. "Nope. That's a plot twist I can live without..."

Ashley: truly this is like, a golden ratio of bisexual love triangle

Jenny: and i feel like it gets handled really well!
with a lot of good humor

CC: i mean
hashtag blessed

Aoki thinking as he looks at the photo taken of him with Hashimoto and Ida, "I mean... who am I even jealous of now...?"

Ashley: so good

Jenny: lololol this sweet dummy

Rachel: love the classic genderbent fairy tale play
as a way to shake things up

Jenny: oh my god!! i was CACKLING!!

Ashley: YES i was like okay drag is a trope i can root for every single time
the very special episode where we all gender at each other

When the classes tries to convince Hashimoto to be the princess in the play: "Um, but I'll freeze up onstage. I'm terrible in front of crowds."
Aoki: "Wait a second!"
He slides in dramatically, pointing to himself. "I'll wear... that dress!"

Rachel: nobody does it better than Card Captor Sakura but this honestly gets really close!!!

CC: LMAO RACHEL I was gonna say

Ashley: HAHA yeah i was thinking about CCS the whole time

Syaoran Li wearing his Juliet costume.

CC: a true classic

Ashley: just the best
i love the way the artist draws his volunteer moment

Jenny: BAM
there are a lot of really great panels
a lot of really great faces

Ida, talking to Aoki in his princess outfit: "You look more rugged than expected."
Aoki, blushing and panicking: "Shut up! Just so you know, I didn't volunteer because I wanted to do this with you!!"
Ida: "I know. You don't have to tell me. You stepped in for Hashimoto, right? That was cool of you, Aoki."

Jenny: like
incredible
art

Ashley: so good lolol
just adorable and hilarious

Aoki squatting, head in hands, full-on panicking. "GYAAAAAH?!"

Rachel: i was living for these expressions

Aoki sits at his desk, bent under the weight of all this drama. A little ghost escapes his mouth — mascara runs down the ghost's face.

Ashley: the ghoooost haha yes

Jenny: the mascara on this ghost!!
a perfect touch!

CC: i love the back of the head screaming

Hashimoto, not knowing that Aoki likes her and trying to encourage him with his crush: "You'll do fine because you're so nice! I'm rooting for you!"
The back of Aoki's head, a horrible, spooky, vacant look.

Rachel: LOL YES

Ashley: HAHA so god

Rachel: this is the same artist as My Love Story but i feel like they go so much harder in this book!!!

Ashley: oh wow yeah

Jenny: for sure!!
i could feel how much fun they were having with some of these pages
like
the confession scene right at the beginning
it’s like a high noon standoff

Aoki and Ida face off on the rooftop.
Various shots of the sky, with a bird flying overhead, the eyes of Ida and Aoki framed within diagonal panels. Very dramatic!

Jenny: and this panelling!!
so fun!!

Ashley: *energy intensifies*
this mangaka definitely has suuuch good pacing and comedic timing

Rachel: yes!! from a purely comics standpoint, there are some great great bits
i loved this as a manga inside joke

Ida, Aida, Aoki, and 2 randos, each labeled accordingly: "!", "goof", "fool", and "mob" for the last two.

Rachel: the “mob” character with the への faces

Ashley: lol
extremely charming

Rachel: there was another bit that i forgot to screenshot where our main boy is reading a shoujo manga magazine
and i looked it up and it’s the same magazine this story is published in!

CC: i got u

Aoki reads "Bessatsu Margaret", a shoujo manga magazine features a story titled "My Love Fix-Up!"

Ashley: YES
i enjoyed this very much

Jenny: what is love? i will learn straight from the source

CC: my love fix-up!

Ashley: perfection

Jenny: oh my god cuute!
this scene was so funny too
was a good way to build up the meddling friend, aida

Ashley: omg aida

Aida starts scolding Aoki, and the artist shows him dressed a typical mother, labeled "Akkun's mom cosplay".

Rachel: i love him
THE MOM COSPLAY
further proof that comics are good
you couldn’t pull that gag off in any other medium

Ashley: glorious

CC: comics stays winning

Rachel: this also got me

Aida grasps Ida in a one-armed hug. "You're too polite. Don't worry about it! We're great buddies, aren't we?" The caption is "EXTROVERT FRIEND FAST TRACK"

Rachel: we all know that one extrovert friend
bless you, whoever you are

Ashley: AAAhahah “when a gemini decides they like you”

Jenny: lol also get a load of those massive fingers

CC: big hands warm heart

Jenny: can’t lose!!

Ashley: tru

Jenny: the rest of this page is so cute too

Aida is shown in very shoujo and very shounen styles. "Ida... you're an outrageously good guy."

Jenny: i feel like they have so much fun mixing art styles
you’ve got those older kind of classic crying eyes, the yaoi hands
it conveys a lot of context in one small section

Rachel: yes definitely!!
honestly when an artist can speak enough not just to their own work/craft but also to the tropes of the craft as a whole
it gets me so fired up!!!!

Jenny: genious

Ashley: cartooning: great artform or greatest artform??????????

Rachel: as much as i loved the art in this book
i think the lettering choices are very strange

3 different fonts are used across two panels. For Aoki's internal dialogue, a very straight but rounded font. For dialogue within the panel, the standard comics font. For dialogue coming from off-panel, a very ornate looking, serif font.

Ashley: ahh yes

Rachel: the fonts gave me such whiplash!!

Ashley: yeah, wasn’t a fan

Rachel: i’m so curious if this was the translators trying to reflect something about the original text
or if they were like, just being very extra

Ashley: i feel like they are trying to add a vibe layer
but lettering is honestly difficult and important, often treated like an afterthought i think so vibes were off

Rachel: yes definitely!!!
i have been listening to a lot of Mangasplaining and it’s definitely given me new thoughts/feelings about translations and lettering

Ashley: oooo i was also thinking about mangasplaining!

Rachel: a good podcast i would def recommend to anybody interested in manga and comics making!!

CC: 100%!!!!
ok y’all
I am struggling to avoid spoilers but
can we enter the spoiler zone

Rachel: YES

Ashley: do it

CC: OK BELOW THIS IMAGE
WE ENTER THE SPOILER ZONE

The classic POME crone at a computer.

CC: LMAO

Ashley: ooo yes wreaking destruction on the internet with spoilers

CC: ok so: talk about a love mix-up reveal

Aoki, realizing the truth: "She likes Aida! Not Ida! WHAAAAT?!"

CC: L M A O L M A O L M A OOOOO
laughing my whole ass

Jenny: truly screamed

Ashley: the little dotted line on the eraser
incredible

Jenny: just like
this guy??

Rachel: i did not see this coming
i loved it

Ashley: bro seriously

Jenny: i also did not see it coming!!

Aida getting in the wait of Aoki's attempts to find time for Hashimoto and Ida to be alone together. "Akkun is seriously a nuisance!"

Ashley: i was genuinely floored

Jenny: i’m looking at this page again for the first time after the reveal
her face in that bottom panel makes a lot more sense now!

Ashley: yes!!!

CC: AGREED

Jenny: not something i noticed at first!

CC: get it hashimoto

Ashley: hashimoto is soooo adorable, aoki and ida really steal the show but i love her

CC: agreed!!! want nothing but the best 4 her
i mean like, the eraser is a p good misdirection but i wonder if aoki assumed hashimoto liked ida
bc ma y beeeee he also already liked ida a little bit? who knows
seems like a big leap but
it’s my headcannon L O L

Jenny: just like well if you’re going to like an a/ida — ida’s obviously the one to like
is maybe his thought process

Ashley: that thing when you’re like “oh yeah everything thinks that guy is hot” and then you’re like… “he is hot”

Jenny: love to learn and grow

Aoki running and blushing. "What's gotten into me? What is it that I'm feeling?! GYAAAAH"

Ashley: i feel like it is a such a funny and cute teenage thing to like, start liking someone after finding out a friend does? you’re suddenly paying attention to their attractive qualities

CC: ALSO Ida
who wouldn’t like him

Jenny: so classy

Ashley: i know he’s so dreamy

CC: absolutely unflappable gem of a guy

Ida shoes Aoki how to improve his horse drawing. "Whoa! That totally looks like a horse!"

Ashley: he can even draw a horse

Rachel: which is honestly so impressive!!!

Aoki: "The pumpkin carriage, obviously!"
Ida: "That's a horse?"
Aoki: "Horses are hard, okay?!"

Jenny: omh

Ashley: so real

Jenny: that was supposed to be omg
but oh my horse

Rachel: lmaaaa

Ashley: OH MY HORSE

CC: OMH

Ashley: i want to mash that up with “on my way”
on my horse “omh”

CC: yeehaw

Jenny: darn tootin’

Ashley: this is probably the first time we’ve ever done one of these with a horse where it didn’t cause tragedy

CC: MHOBJ (my horse only brings joy)

Jenny: this horse brings people together!!

Ashley: AHHHHHHH hahaha

Jenny: lolololol

CC: IYCTAH
is your child texting about horse

Jenny: LOL

Ashley: in this case yes

Jenny: ok idk if we’ve really mentioned this yet
but kind of the plot of this book is like 1) yes the love triangle, but also 2) our protagonist is actively trying to set up the other two corners of the triangle?

Aoki, talking to Ida: "Like, I know I never had a chance... so why can't I hope that my crush will be happy?"

Jenny: like, he wants hashimoto to be happy!!
but then he starts getting sad and confused
leading to that screencap cc posted earlier (can’t even tell which one of them he’s jealous of)
and honestly i just feel like this love triangle was already so good
but to add this layer of selfsabotage
DRAMA!!
incredible!
this feels so much more Teen than any of the drama from riverdale

Ashley: TOTALLY
the way they’re misinterpreting everyone’s intentions including their own

CC: i mean also nobody’s been stabbed over a game of d&d

Ashley: lol

CC: much more truly relatable imo

Ashley: i will say i did briefly play d&d with a guy who carried a huge knife
but i was an adult at the time

Rachel: as long as it wasn’t tom hanks
no mazes and monsters moments here

Ashley: definitely not

CC: ok so i gotta admit
one of my favorite things about this book
just while we’re talking about the love triangle
is just how i kept waiting for the other shoe to drop
for ida to be less of an openminded sweetheart after aoki’s confession like

Sweating Rila-kuma.

Ashley: HAHAH omg yesss

Rachel: yes tbh i was waiting for some degree of homophobia to show up!!
internalized, externalized, w/e

Ashley: me too, but he was extremely on the level and tactful?
so charming!!!!!!!!

CC: yeah ida’s just like, well, i’ve never been in love before, let’s be friends and i can see how i feel about this
so straightforward!

Ashley: perfect himbo

Jenny: so classy!
also love that they got to reenact one of the scenes from the true beauty pilot

Ida catches Aoki as he falls, and they end up on the floor, Ida over him.

CC: L O L

Jenny: that’s how you know which couple is endgame
did one of them pull the other off a roof and then lie on top of them?

Ashley: hehehehehe

Jenny: that’s the main couple

Ashley: i mean blessed

Jenny: but this scene was one of my favorites
for a lot of reasons
but mostly for jokes

After a pigeon steals Aoki's lunch when he's sitting on the roof, he loses it. "Now pigeons are stealing from me?! Do I have to lose everything? GIVE IT BACK! YOU HEAR ME?!"
He starts to launch himself over the banisters. The caption reads, "Emotionally unstable".

Jenny: i found this panel
INCREDIBLY relatable

Ashley: hahahahahahaha yes

Jenny: chasing after a pigeon who stole your lunch
emotionally unstable

Rachel: THE EYES

Jenny: what a day

CC: to be fair who wouldn’t feel that way after thinking a hunk stole ur girl and then literally a bird steals your whole lunch

Jenny: exactly
we’ve all been there

Ashley: truly

Rachel: and then the hunk steals YOUR heart???
amazing

Jenny: what a twist
also i do just want to call out the pigeon

The moment the pigeon steals Aoki's sandwich.

Jenny: the audacity
but also
remind you of anyone??

A page from the travel comics Rachel drew of the POME trip to VanCaf, where we saw a grow steal garbage.

Ashley: garbage crowww

Jenny: YES
our boy
our garbage boy

Rachel: !!!!!!!
our pal!!!

Ashley: i mean at least he waited til it was in the garbage! clever and polite crow

Jenny: knows what’s what

CC: he wasn’t up to any matchmaking mischief

Jenny: that we know of

CC: LOL you’re totally right

Ashley: just providing for his crow family

CC: i want 2 believe
birds will only steal your lunch if they’re also helping one party steal another party’s heart

Jenny: bird law

Ashley: damn that’s a good bird law

Rachel: lol well with that, do y’all wanna do final thoughts?

CC: yeah I’m ready!

Ashley: go for it!

CC: mine isn’t necessarily a joke tho
but
a prediction
which is that this love mixup is gonna work its way into a love dodecahedron by the end somehow and i cannot wait to see how

Ashley: oh my god
that would be so good haha

CC: the geometry of love

Rachel: if anybody can make it happen, it’s this kid!!!

CC: truly

Jenny: i think my final thought is v much in that vein
this kid

Aoki, thinking to himself after asking Ida to meet him on the roof. "Ahh, this is so awkward. I've asked him to meet me, but I have no clue what to say. Maybe I'll just stand him up."
The caption reads, "The worst."

Jenny: the worst!
love a flawed protagonist

CC: GOOF

Jenny: making things As Difficult As Possible for themselves!
he is truly a goof!!
and i think anything with him in the center is going to be an absolute blast to observe from afar

Rachel: yes!!! this is the best kind!!!
this is why Bella and Twilight are bad

Ashley: lololol

Jenny: LOL rachel
very fair

Rachel: look i am here for sparkly vampires
but being clumsy and biting your lip does not make a character fun to watch
but this guy????

Aoki, wide eyed and trying to go to sleep. He remembers Ida saying, "You're a kind person, Aoki." He screams in frustration.

Rachel: this is my final thought
he said something NICE TO ME
AND I WILL BE HAUNTED BY IT IF I WANT TO BE

Jenny: HAUNTING!!
relatable!!
it WILL keep me up actually

Ashley: the abject fear of the desired object
so relatable

Rachel: aoki, romance protag mvp

Ashley: okay my final thought speaks for itself…
—tiddy

Ida imagining Aoki trying to change himself based on the things that Ida told him he likes in girls. "He's not going to change himself or something, right?"
Aoki has black hair, a bow, and has PECKS.

Rachel: LOL
“pecks”

CC: LOL
i love them!!!!!!

Ashley: with the little bow
i die

Rachel: and he’s doing a little blushing flex!!!
just, the best
himbos, all around

CC: you love to see it

Ashley: thank u to these goofs for delivering 3 serotonin


Join us for even more love story shouting in our next Romance Roundtable! In the meantime, monthly donation members can check out our Ko-Fi for just a few bonus goofs that didn’t make it into today’s roundtable, as a treat.

CC Calanthe

CC Calanthe

If you prick your finger and write “Cat Fancy” on your mirror during a harvest moon, CC will appear behind you and make you put human clothes on your pets. CC is Head Crone in Charge at POMEgranate Magazine, as well as the co-host of Moon Podcast Power MAKE UP!!
Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Rachel is a designer and artist from Texas. She is pro-feminism, pro-crones, and pro-dogs. She's also Boss Crone at POMEgranate Magazine, and one day hopes to be able to drink her tea without so much milk and sugar.
Jenny Mott

Jenny Mott

Jenny is just a Silly Nerd with a lot of Feelings about Comic Books and Friendship and also This Capitalist Yoke We All Share; she enjoys Dogs and Sleeping and Cartoons. Her three favorite words are: Breakfast All Day.
Ashley Gallagher

Ashley Gallagher

Ashley writes comics and emails from zir burrow in the Pacific Northwest. Ze is a sentient subtropical swamp fern whose favorite food is old words.
POMEgranate Magazine