Random Manga Theatre 86: Love Allergen

Hit the “Random” button and see what comes up! In this feature, we take a look at whatever manga the Random Number God decides to throw at us and find out if it’s worth your time.

This time: Love Allergen, with art by Yukimaru Katsura and scenario by Satoru Akahori

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It seems that even two whole seasons later, I’m still being haunted by the ghost of Love Lab. Urgh.

Love Allergen starts off with little in common with our 2nd favorite anime of 2013. Our hero Tasuku wants nothing to do with love in any form, having been born with super-bishounen good looks that cause everyone from the girls at school to his own older siblings (male and female!) to fawn over him. On the other side of the obvious-romance-because-this-is-a-romance-manga-duh is Honomi, the beautiful, composed heir of the local business conglomerate, who we learn has a literal allergy to love. If she experiences romantic feelings, she starts to lapse into asthmatic death rattles, leading her to avoid love in any form by necessity. What a coincidence.

Somehow, these two end up at a magical cherry tree with blue petals, considered a local legend by the townsfolk. The tree itself has lived for over a thousand years and gained sentience (I know, just roll with it), and its spirit drags Tasuku and Honomi into its lair to enlist their help. The last time our tree buddy decided to use its magical powers to create life, the resulting child had no understanding of the concept of “love” and consequently died a miserable death. So, this millennium around, it wants these kids to teach her about love so that the new sakura child will be able to live a full life. If they do, she will cure Honomi’s allergy with her magical tree powers.

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Conveniently, a lifetime of avoiding love has caused Honomi to become obsessed with the idea, and she turns out to be highly enthusiastic about the whole venture. Thus, the Love Experiment Club is born, wherein our hapless duo (and a couple of their friends who get dragged into the mess) carry out Honomi’s harebrained schemes to understand love. If this sounds like Love Lab, that’s because this is exactly like Love Lab. Honomi is a dead ringer for Maki, and almost every single gag could be directly transplanted into Love Lab without anyone being the wiser. Marlin rightfully referred to Love Allergen as “a palette swap manga”, and I agree that the resemblance is downright uncanny.

At any rate, you can easily guess what happens in the end, what with two people who don’t understand love trying to work it out together and such. The ending seems rushed, as if the manga was cut short, but things wrap up on a fairly happy note with the promise of continuing offscreen adventures. JUST LIKE LOVE LAB. Who could have guessed?

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Verdict: Cute

Yeah, Love Allergen was cute. I admit it. I read it from start to finish, rolled my eyes at some of the dumb things, laughed at some of jokes, and went “awww” at the end. If you liked Love Lab, this is essentially that but with more heterosexuality. Seriously, I know I’ve said this a million times in this post alone by now, but the similarities between the two are completely ridiculous. I was basically just going “WHAT” the entire time I was reading this. Still, if you want something short and dumb to tie up a few hours of your time, you could do way worse than this. Or just watch Love Lab if you haven’t seen that. It’s surprisingly good for a dumb schoolgirl club comedy.

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