Cafe Love - Starter Pack in our manga review

Cafe Love - Starter Pack in our manga review

Spring is in the air, and that means it's time to get back to the chic terraces of quaint cafes. With a delicious hot drink in hand and yes, maybe a piece of cake with it - after all, you can spoil yourself once in a while. What should not be missing, however, is a nice read if you are sitting around alone. With Café Liebe, you'll probably think you've found the perfect manga for your morning trip. In line with the upcoming start of the anime adaptation of Café Liebe, the associated publishing house has released a starter pack in which there are two volumes at a reduced price. You can read here why this volume could make for a rather uncomfortable morning

Originally published in 2016 by Ichijinsha's magazine Comic Yuri Hime, the manga series Café Liebe by Miman was published in Germany in 2018. To coincide with the start of the anime adaptation in the upcoming anime season, there is now a starter pack available from publishing house TOKYOPOP that contains the first two volumes in the series. So far there are ten volumes in the series available for purchase in this country. Café Liebe belongs to the genres Girls Love (Yuri), Comedy and Slice of Life.

The main character of the story is the beautiful Hime, who always dreams of being able to live in the upper class. Instead of earning that status, she would rather use her God-given gift of cuteness and beauty. Loved by everyone, she is spoiled by life and just waiting for her prince to propose to her on the white horse - which will probably take a while since she is still a high school student. While walking dreamily through the streets of the city, she stumbles down a flight of stairs and breaks the arm of a classmate. She was on her way to work and now seems extremely desperate. Hime's naive offer to do whatever it takes to make her better brings her to the Lyceum Liebe.

The Lyceum Liebe, also called Café Liebe, is a Theme cafe where girls serve. They claim to be part of a girls' boarding school and work in the café to learn responsibility. It is not an ordinary girls' boarding school, but inspired by German girls' schools. With their chic uniforms, they not only serve their guests delicious German cake specialties, but also teas from all over the world and, above all, an illusion that the guests are only too happy to indulge in.

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Café Love makes it hard to like your characters. The protagonist Hime has to work in a café, which both embarrasses her and speaks against her arrogant way of thinking. Her colleagues, who are older and more experienced than her, turn the environment into a stage that invites you to dream. The crux of the matter and the humor of the story, however, come from what goes on behind the scenes in contrast to this spectacle. Mitsuki Ayanokoji is the person Hime feels magically attracted to. But instead of drifting directly into a romantic track, a kind of love-hate relationship develops at the beginning of the story, which repeatedly degenerates into bitching.

The biggest problem, why me couldn't warm to the story is the way the characters are written. Hime, like her colleague Ayanokoji-san, have a similar construction of their character. Outwardly they appear cute, lovable, polite and friendly in every way. Inside or behind the scenes, they behave like lethal injections, except that Hime thinks so and her co-worker insults her directly in the face. The dynamic of the two young women is simply unpleasant to watch. It also feels like they're just serving clichés. Although they appear to be written multidimensionally at first, they are actually one-dimensional: Nice on the outside and the true, rather ugly truths then come to light on the inside. Especially the first volume does not succeed in shedding this simplicity of the characters and giving them more depth, so that I as a reader can feel connected to them. Even in the second volume, the quarreling hardly decreases - only towards the end does a spark of hope slowly flash out that there is more behind the characters than previously assumed. Due to the growth of the College of Love, there are also new people who bring their own one-dimensional flavor. A friend of Hime's who is obviously in love with her is the most important addition to the team.

Miman's drawing style is mixed. The skill is repeatedly demonstrated with painterly, detailed drawings in which the young women stand in epic poses and bubble down their old German text. In most other places, however, you'll find simpler drawings that are more functional than artistic. The level of detail varies greatly from panel to panel and does not appear to be consistent. Of course it is understandable that with many small panels that are used here, not every panel can be decorated with the finest details. But if it feels like more than half of it is just sketchy, while other parts are bursting with ornate design, I don't think the balance is right.

> The language and the humor, which are drawn and described again and again, should be positively emphasized. There are often situations in which you probably have to laugh or smile for a moment - mainly caused by Hime's stupidity or the interaction with the customers or the supervisor. The German translation is by Verena Maser. She succeeds in imitating a comprehensible, classic German way of speaking. Although it seems overloaded - which is the author's intention - it remains understandable in every form, so that you have no problems understanding the characters when they are just going through their acting. In order to stage the situation in an additional atmospheric way, a different, very ornate font was used for moments in which this classic language is used. This has an incredibly positive effect on the reading experience. Unfortunately, this double pack didn't motivate me to continue the series. In addition, I don't like the way the characters were reduced and written in a clichéd way. The tightrope walk between hate, friendship and romantic advances may have its charms, but from my point of view it is portrayed too implausibly and extreme, especially at the beginning. This creates a rather ugly atmosphere in which the humor often simply threatens to suffocate. Admittedly, I'd rather wait for the upcoming anime adaptation, which starts on April 6th in Japan and here in the simulcast on Crunchyroll, to see how it goes - maybe the moving pictures will be more captivating and sympathetic.<

If you want to get a first impression of the illustrations and the beginning of the plot, you can view a reading sample online here.

Softcover, black and white ISBN: 978-3-8420-8279-3 12.5 x 18.8 cm, 336 pages 12.00 euros

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Our online magazine ntower is a member of the affiliate networks Amazon PartnerNet, Awin, Webgains, Media Markt E-Business GmbH and Saturn online GmbH. If you order via one of our affiliate links, we receive a variable commission from the respective shop operator. There are no additional costs for end customers.

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