From the mangaka that brought you Kobayashi Chi no Maid Dragon comes a simple 4-koma story of love between opposites, wrapped up in a convenient manner of awkward encounters and resolving past prejudice. Whether you interpret the previous statement as sarcastic, condescending, or formal, all I have to reply with is “Yes.”
Such a strange path it’s been with my history surrounding this manga. I initially discovered it in 2014(!) and had, up to last month, kept tabs on it whenever it had available scanlations. When it first popped up on manga sites’ radars, the scanlation process was really fast—it seemed like there was a new chapter to read everyday, which is absurdly fast for an ongoing manga. It wasn’t until recently that I figured it had probably been a while since its publication began (2012) and that the initial surge in available chapters was a result of scanlators simply catching up. Those were the best days.
It is apparent both on the outside as it is on the inside that the beginning felt like a match made in Heaven. By that, I mean that while this manga would update on a regular basis, which is a pro to have as an ongoing manga, the content within was also rather charming. I enjoyed the 4-koma style and the growing turbulence that resulted from the two lead characters slowly becoming closer. It seemed aware of the things within the genre that made a good love story, if not a story about growing as a person and becoming more accepting of the world around you.
As time continued forward, the updates became less and less prominent, almost coming to an outright stop in the entire year of 2017. With the passing of time, the story became more and more alien to me, as I would forget various conditions for characters’ behavior or, occasionally, characters themselves. While inevitable it is to have a story become forgotten after not going back to it for so long, there was a special kind of lacking with Ojojojo that I think is notable—and problematic—with its body of content. Perhaps it is because it was a 4-koma, or perhaps because it didn’t have a lot of content outside of the lead couple to focus on if need be. That would become something the mangaka would address in later chapters… boy, did they ever do so.
So, like the good soldier I am, I continued the manga upon the arrival of any new chapter, clinging onto a story that was no longer fresh in my mind, though still interesting enough to continue. At some point, I decided upon not continuing on a single-chapter basis, but to let the chapters build over a period of time and read when there was a healthy quantity to go through. I did just that, as around the end of 2018, I read close to ten unread chapters all at once, and the content was definitely fucking something.
Apparently, the male lead is a former assassin who was adopted by this one woman in order to give him a normal life and to unearth the hidden emotions a capable human has that were banished during his secret training. And then there’s a power struggle within the female lead’s household for control over the estate (she’s rich), which came down to her or her younger sister. Their butler is also revealed to know about the male lead’s past as an assassin, and they have some tensile meeting to discuss it in a pseudo-dramatic fashion with vague comments and serious stares off into the distance (I exaggerate some here). Uhh… what the fuck is all this? Where did my cute, simple romance go?
I’m not sure why the mangaka felt the need to explain the origins of the silent male lead in such excruciatingly dramatic detail, but it seriously turned me off from the story. Bad enough as it was that my attention to the inherent story was inhibited by months (or years) of little to no updates, but then to throw all of this at me is akin to having Dora the Explorer turn into Duke Nukem—I cannot for the life of me take it seriously. Such a drastic decision to try and breath life into an aimless story. It’s almost like the unnecessary dramatic turn at the end of the Kobayashi Dragon Maid anime. It was fine with things being left unexplained; the beauty of the show was in its simpler moments of heart and camaraderie. We didn’t need some cliché dramatic blowout to make it better.
Despite these things, I pressed on anyway… though it wouldn’t last. After that first helping of confusing, overdramatic chapters, the second time I went back to read the manga, I was already spent. I made it a couple pages into chapter 53 (of 64; I was that close) and decided to drop it. The story meant nothing to me anymore. I didn’t care about the characters, their circumstances, or the random things that came up near the end of the manga’s course. I didn’t even know why I was still reading it. By that point, I had forgotten why I even liked it in the first place (I still honestly don’t remember). With the combination of time lost and the betrayal of a slow, but heartwarming course of normalcy, Ojojojo simply lost its luster.
Seeing as I’m so close to the end, I can’t guarantee I won’t go back and finish it just to finish it. Even so, should I pick it up again, I still probably won’t recall the past circumstances that led to that point or any sort of build-up between characters that made them who they were. Such would lead me to simply start over from the beginning, which also seems like a chore rather than a hearty task. Sometimes things just need to be dropped, which is especially disappointing here because I used to really enjoy the content. If only it stayed the course. If only I stayed the course. If only, if only.
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.