Josei manga, a.k.a. titles that are aimed at adult women, are not licensed in the West as frequently as manga that falls into the other demographics. That’s why I was so excited to pick up An Incurable Case of Love by Maki Enjoji. This romantic comedy features adult professionals who struggle with their romantic feelings and disappointments while just trying to get through the workday.
When she was in high school, Nanase Sakura was the first person on the scene when an elderly woman collapsed on the street. While she was in the middle of panicking over what to do to help, a doctor by the name of Kairi Tendo happened by and took charge of the situation, helping Nanase to stay calm and ensuring that the woman got the help she needed. Nanase was instantly smitten with this handsome young man and decides to go into nursing so that she can get a job at the same hospital as him. Fast forward a few years and Nanase has succeeded in becoming a nurse and on her first day on the job she is reunited with Dr. Tendo. She immediately confesses her love to him, only to be met with contempt. Turns out Dr. Tendo isn’t the perfect prince charming she had built him up to be in her mind and he is not the least bit impressed with her public confession. He doesn’t seem to remember Nanase and as they work together, she discovers that, while he is a great doctor, he can be a severe and demanding person to work with. Looks like their relationship, and Nanase’s career, are off to a rocky start.
Conflict is an important component of a narrative that helps make a story exciting. Likewise, having the leads in a love story start out as hostile towards each other can help to build up tension around their relationship, however, if taken too far, one or both characters can come off as jerks or as abusive. Thankfully, An Incurable Case of Love seems to have avoided this pitfall, mainly because I can sympathize with why Dr. Tendo would initially be disdainful of Nanase after she confessed that she went into nursing because she wanted to see him again. Nursing, and any kind of health care profession, is a serious job where people’s lives and wellbeing are on the line. I can understand why he’d be upset that she had chosen her profession just because she wanted to chase after a guy. He also eases up and becomes nicer to her, once he realizes that Nanase does actually take her job seriously and wants to continue to pursue it, irregardless of her failed love confession. For her part, Nanase is very disappointed when her dream guy doesn’t live up to her expectations, but she decides to move on rather then keep chasing him. Since this is a romance story, she’s not very successful at getting over her feelings, but she does stick up for herself when Dr. Tendo is being harsh, which prevents their interactions from being too one sided. She even gets a few barbs in at his expense, such as giving him the nickname ‘Dark Lord’, a name which quickly catches on with the rest of the nursing staff.
The work-place romance aspect of the story might turn some readers off, Dr. Tendo is, after all, Nanase’s superior. Personally, I didn’t mind that facet of the story too much. Or, rather, I’m willing to overlook it because setting the story in their place of work allowed the plot to spend a lot of time focusing on Nanase growing into her role as a nurse. Nanase has just started her job and has a lot to learn and there’s always something happening at the hospital that winds up testing her mettle. Over the course of this volume she must deal with some difficult situations, including being sexually harassed by a patient and having to cope with the death of a person who was in her care. I found these subplots to be really interesting and I look forward to seeing how Nanase continues to develop throughout the series.
This was an entertaining first volume of what looks like a promising series. So far, the romance has relied heavily on clichés (e.g. carrying a torch for someone you only met briefly in your youth, the romantic leads becoming neighbors, a sister being mistaken for a girlfriend, etc.) but I still found it to be enjoyable. I’d recommend An Incurable Case of Love to any shojo manga fans who are feeling a bit tired of reading about the shenanigans of high schoolers and would like to try a romance featuring some adults.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
For more information on this series, check out Viz Media’s website: https://www.viz.com/read/manga/an-incurable-case-of-love-volume-1/product/6052/paperback
What did you think of this manga? Would you like to see more Josei manga published in English? Let me know in the comments!
Also be sure to check out some of my other Josei Manga reviews:
- Paradise Kiss 20th Anniversary Edition Review
- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom (Manga) Vol 1 Review
- Little Miss P Review