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REVIEW: A Condition Called Love GN 1


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pharmboy23
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Joined: 05 Oct 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:05 pm Reply with quote
It still makes me sad that she never got the story she deserved. Such a great heroine in such an icky book.
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Lactobacillus yogurti



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
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Location: Latin America
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:05 pm Reply with quote
Going by the description, it seems like the male character might have either borderline personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder, and yet, women have always been taught that they have to put up with abuse because that's the man's way of "showing love" in many countries where machismo is still the dominant trait (e.g Latin America, Spain, Italy and Japan)
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meruru



Joined: 16 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:07 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, this review is spot-on with what I've read of this. It doesn't get better. At some point it's revealed Hanonoi has a covered shelf in his room that's "Hotaru's spot", that he doesn't let her see because she needs to be prepared for it. Dude is a stalker. The only possible explanation I can think is that I've seen other shoujo that are similarly cutesy, but much more obviously playing to D/s kinks, and maybe this one is trying (and failing imo) to do something like that.
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pharmboy23
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:46 pm Reply with quote
Haha, the shrine just killed me. The author so clearly wants that to seem cute and it’s really about two steps removed from him having her taxidermied so she can be part of his room forever.
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#HayamiLover



Joined: 22 Jul 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:55 pm Reply with quote
I wonder why we are much more likely to see toxic relationships in shoujo manga than in shonen or seinen. Of course, seinen, especially ecchi, is full of terrible or simply problematic relationships at its core (I recently read a manga, where the author justifies the girl x girl harassment, considering it a simple sex stuff, and not "real sex"), but shoujo has just some kind of magnet for that. Are Japanese teen girls so fond of this?
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:23 pm Reply with quote
#HayamiLover wrote:
Are Japanese teen girls so fond of this?


It's not just Japanese teen girls - this is a problem in international girls' fiction. Remember the whole Twilight thing? That was very similar to this in terms of toxic relationships, and it certainly isn't the only one. More recently the Three Dark Crowns series featured what might be termed damaging portrayals of romantic relationships, and books where one of the romantic leads asks for active consent are still rare. It's a fantasy that's been sold for centuries ("I can fix him! It's not bad if he loves me!") and what I find particularly troubling is its continued prevalence in teen fiction when it's largely been phased out of mainstream adult romance novels.
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meruru



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:19 pm Reply with quote
I really object to the idea that toxic relationships in fiction is a particular problem for women. A whole lot of women consume this stuff because they like it, and fully aware this is a fantasy. I never see people complaining about the same stuff in male targeted fiction, even when I've had similar objections. Like Golden Time, I thought the girl in that was quite stalkery, but I've almost never seen people object to it, and certainly not with the idea that we shouldn't let boys read it because they might get bad ideas about relationships. I just think it's bad when people rec A Condition Called Love without warning that they might find it creepy.
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#HayamiLover



Joined: 22 Jul 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:40 pm Reply with quote
Princess_Irene wrote:
#HayamiLover wrote:
Are Japanese teen girls so fond of this?


It's not just Japanese teen girls - this is a problem in international girls' fiction. Remember the whole Twilight thing? That was very similar to this in terms of toxic relationships, and it certainly isn't the only one. More recently the Three Dark Crowns series featured what might be termed damaging portrayals of romantic relationships, and books where one of the romantic leads asks for active consent are still rare. It's a fantasy that's been sold for centuries ("I can fix him! It's not bad if he loves me!") and what I find particularly troubling is its continued prevalence in teen fiction when it's largely been phased out of mainstream adult romance novels.


Well, my experience tells me that authors in general tend to portray harassment and seduction with dubious consent as something hot and permissible if it comes from an attractive partner. For example, in the aforementioned seinen Hagure Idol, a bisexual female MC fundamentally fights against male harassment and overt rape attempt, while at the same time accepting the same things from always cute or hot female characters, only portraying a little disagreement to maintain her shy good girl reputation.

But in the case of shoujo, such characters can be found in a much wider range of “serious” works, despite the often quite obvious creepy toxic atmosphere. In the case of Hagure Idol, I can say "nah, it is just ridiculous porn with a plot like so many ecchi in general", but Condition Called Love is clearly published as conditionally serious romance without perverted fetishes. It is such tolerance that surprises me.

Of course, it would be doubtful to compare frank pornography with emotionally toxic relationships, but personally, I think that the latter receive a more serious attitude, therefore they have a stronger effect on the audience.

And it is symbolic that although shonen / seinen and shoujo both love to idealize active partners, their MCs will never allow themselves to do this. The editor-in-chief of Dengeki Bungo once even said that their MCs must have a good morality and cannot afford morally dubious acts.
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Naotomato



Joined: 22 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:56 pm Reply with quote
I like how everyone including the writer are saying how she is in a toxic relationship yet they haven't caught up to the series like I have.

No spoilers but the guy isn't that type of 'yandere.' He has his moments but he has a reason behind it and he grows as a character. The girl handles him well and they work out things like a couple should in a relationship. He doesn't abuse her, he even goes above and beyond and respects her, and despite his pushy personality he doesn't treat her friends like crap (like most yandere types do.) And he NEVER forces himself on the female lead at all. Ever. Kind of annoyed that people are judging this series since it's pretty good based on a few chapters.

spoiler[The shrine was explained that they are childhood friends, even though she doesn't remember it. He actually attempts to work with the guy friend, despite him being annoying, and to change himself for the sake of his girlfriend. I'm not even sure why this is considered toxic. Coming from a toxic relationship, the male lead wouldn't attempt to work out anything or change himself for the sake of the FL. Oh and his parents pretty much abused him up until that point and we don't even know fully about his past, but so far girls dumped him because he was too clingly since he didn't receive it from his folks among other things.]
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:23 pm Reply with quote
meruru wrote:
I really object to the idea that toxic relationships in fiction is a particular problem for women.


You're right - it's not a "woman thing" at all, and plenty of YA novels for boys have awful romance plots. (And in adult books, I tend to have more of an issue with romance in specifically male-oriented novels.) There's a lot more studying right now about romance tropes in YA books for girls, which is slowly changing, and academic attitudes towards romance fiction in general are also changing. (Dangerous Books for Girls by Maya Rodale is an interesting study.)

Also, no one should ever feel badly about whatever kind of fiction (romance or otherwise) they read. If you like romances that get labeled as "toxic," that's fine. Fantasy is fantasy, and romance is just as much a fantasy as anything with elves. Just because I found this book creepy doesn't mean that no one can like it!
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pharmboy23
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:27 pm Reply with quote
I have zero issues pointing out how problematic the first volume comes across because I only have that to judge it on. Whatever happens in subsequent volumes, as a reader of the first alone I was creeped out and don’t have any desire to read further.

I’m glad there’s a logical explanation for all that that works for you, but any excuses/reasons aren’t going to fix that behaviour for me.

Different strokes for different folks.
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harminia



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:56 pm Reply with quote
Naotomato wrote:
I like how everyone including the writer are saying how she is in a toxic relationship yet they haven't caught up to the series like I have.


That's the point of a review. You only talk about the information provided in the one volume. Anything outside of that is irrelevant until you're asked to review later volumes.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1763
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:01 pm Reply with quote
Oof, I feel like Rebecca got caught in another "damned if you do [mention it], damned if you don't [mention it]" review. For my money, if this sort of romance appeals to you, great, have at it! But I don't know that it does the series any good if you have to slap a caveat of "he gets better in X volumes". The people who are hooked by this premise will buy into it, but I don't think there's any harm in pointing out that people who aren't into that sort of premise might take issue with the story. I think other reviewers have discussed that sometimes the + and - review system lacks the nuance for cases like this, where the "negative" points are really more to point out that this might have a sort of fringe and/or niche appeal despite its very flowery and mainstream cover art and summary, and not necessarily a mark of "this is something that sucks about the series". (If nothing else, the title alone of The Prince's Black Poison gives me enough warning to know I'm probably gonna' nope outta' that series hard, but there are no such obvious "flags" for this series.)
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phia_one



Joined: 15 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:46 pm Reply with quote
Naotomato wrote:
I like how everyone including the writer are saying how she is in a toxic relationship yet they haven't caught up to the series like I have.


Some people may have never heard of the series until this review. I read what I could after I saw that it was licensed. So as another person that's read ahead I can assure people that the male lead isn't going to go yandere. He can be pushy at points (nothing sexual mind you, more like Hotaru is the only person he wants to interact with. He gets better though) but if Hotaru (the female lead) has a problem she's quick to call him out and the male lead takes her concerns/comments seriously.
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kotomikun



Joined: 06 May 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:21 pm Reply with quote
I'm a little conflicted about this, because (almost) everyone seems to completely agree with the review's conclusion; but without having read the manga itself, I'm having a hard time seeing what the big deal is. The possessive comments are a bit weird, or antiquated maybe, but everything else sounds like... trying too hard, "nice guy" syndrome, that sort of thing, rather than overt manipulativeness. He frantically changes himself to fit what he thinks she wants, but doesn't demand that she do the same for him. He plays the "if we break up it's goodbye forever" card, but compared to stuff like threatening suicide over breaking up (more often how this manifests in real life, it seems), it's hard to see that as super toxic.

Mainly this sounds like an old-fashioned cliche-riddled romance. The main issue with those being not (necessarily) creepiness in the actual story, but normalizing behaviors associated with creeps in real life. Which is a genuine issue, but if that was what you meant by calling it a warning about toxic relationships, maybe that needed clarification? If this specific character is supposedly horrible, though... I'm not seeing it. In need of character development, certainly, but not irredeemable.

This isn't the sort of thing I'd read in any case, though, so I guess I'm just opening myself up to criticism for no real reason, as usual.
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