Ai Rabu Yuu Yori Aishiteru (愛羅武勇より愛してる) by Kumichou takes a common trope, grabs it by it’s ear, drags it out behind the school then gives it a big kiss on the forehead. ^_^
Takaoka Risa is the quiet, loner, smart girls glasses type. She eats alone, studies alone, but she is not lonely. She’s fine by herself.
Tough girl Shinjou Kazumi is always getting into fights. She also has no close friends, but when she sees a bunch of upperclassmen trying to bully Risa, she jumps in to save the other girl, although she really has no idea why.
When Risa later spies Kazumi being set upon by a large group, she likewise jumps in to stop the beatdown, and in the mix tells everyone that she likes Kazumi. Kazumi is embarrassed, but finds Risa interesting enough that she wants to be friends.
What follows is a sweet, awkward courtship by Risa, who knows what she wants, but doesn’t care why and Kazumi who isn’t sure, but really likes to be around Risa.
They both aren’t sure, until they have it out in a major blowout, whether what they feel is “like.” When it becomes apparent that “like” it is, they both accede to their interest without difficulty.
An extra story about an low-achieving athlete and the girl who cooks her wonderful food rounds out the volume.
The art is cute, the characters are cute, the feels are cute. I enjoyed this story when it ran in Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari and as a collected volume.
Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 7
Service – 1
Overall – 8
This book strikes a pleasant balance between the one-note plot needed for a single volume romance story and my desire to read stories about characters with character.