In the first two volumes of So Cute it Hurts!, twins Megumu and Mitsuru switched schools and genders, fell in love, and their deception was partially discovered. Now the romance and the drama resume in the next three installments.

In the second plot arc, which begins in volume three, Megumu is in love with Aoi and she’s willing to go on pretending to be a boy to keep his friendship. She knows a romance is out of the question since he passes out whenever he touches a girl, but will Aoi forgive her for lying? Will he even want to be friends with her? Meanwhile, Mitsuru is pleasantly surprised that mean girl Azusa doesn’t spill his secret, so he can continue being friends with gentle Shino, who is deaf. But Azusa has some secrets of her own, and it all promises to come to a head at a Sunday meet-up! Volume four covers a dizzying series of events on that fateful Sunday with multiple developments in various relationships: Megumu and Aoi struggle with the awkwardness of a first date on which they must stay two feet apart because of Aoi’s “allergy,” while Mitsuru thinks he’s going to duel with Azusa, but she’s got other ideas entirely. The story ends with a satisfying and sweet step forward for Megu and Aoi’s romance and a shocking surprise for the triangle of Mitsuru, Azusa, and Shino! This plot arc ends in volume five as Megu and Aoi’s relationship continues into their second year and Mitsuru deals with his broken heart, continuing to challenge and be challenged by Azusa. The story also focuses on the changes experienced by the main characters: Megu is more mature, although she keeps her old friends and interests, and Mitsuru is more gentle and thoughtful than he once was. There are still plenty of secrets, though, especially in Aoi’s past, and future volumes promise to reveal all.

These three volumes include many more ads and interjections from the author, as well as promotions for the anime, a brief glossary, and a quick review of characters and events at the beginning of each book. The fifth book shows the most change in the artistic style: Megumu’s growing maturity is symbolized by her longer hair and more relaxed, peaceful attitude, although she still has occasional moments of explosive cuteness. After dramatically cutting his hair, Mitsuru is also showing a calmer, more mature look, symbolized by his shorter hair. His movements feel more fluid and less reactionary. Azusa continues to display a split personality, jumping from the sweet face she shows the world to the inner rage only Mitsuru sees, to her powerful and sometimes nasty professional face.

As an adult reader, the romantic relationship between Shino and a college student five years her senior bothered me, although I realize it fits into the conventions of the genre. Apart from that, this series actually has very little physical romance due to Aoi’s “allergy,” but there are plenty of swoony moments and romantic gestures. Teen readers who enjoy generally innocent romance filled with secrets, dramatic moments, and all the drama one could want will devour this series and clamor for continuing volumes.

So Cute it Hurts!! vols. 3-5
by Go Ikeyamada
Vol 3 ISBN: 9781421579870
Vol 4 ISBN: 9781421579887
Vol 5 ISBN: 9781421579894
Viz, 2015-2016
Publisher Age Rating: Teen

  • Jennifer

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Matheson Memorial Library


    Jennifer Wharton is the Youth Services Librarian at Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, Wisconsin where she maintains the juvenile and young adult graphic novel collections and was responsible for creating the library’s adult graphic novel collection. She is constantly looking for great new comics for kids and teens and new ways to incorporate graphic storytelling in programming. Jennifer blogs for preschool through middle grade at JeanLittleLibrary and has an MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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