Loving Yamada at Lv999!, which has a brand-new anime adaptation titled My Love Story With Yamada-kun at Lv999, opens with Akane being dumped by her boyfriend. She’s spent a ton of time gaming lately because he’s a gamer, only to find that couldn’t cement her relationship.
Not long after this, she sees her ex with his new girlfriend at a party, and she has to show him up. There’s a cute boy there and she latches on to him and convinces him to pretend to be her boyfriend. It’s perfect, because it turns out he’s something of a famous gamer, so this really rubs it in her ex’s face.
But it’s also not so perfect, because they’re not really dating, and even though he’s cute, he’s weird. He seems to have no passion in his personality, he’s never had a girlfriend, and it doesn’t seem to occur to him that sometimes he says off-putting, blunt things.
Then again, sometimes he’ll go out of his way to help, like when he sees Akane’s foot is bleeding so he goes to buy her bandages. Or when she gets drunk and he makes sure she doesn’t get left on the street corner. There’s a nice guy underneath, but on top of that is an enigma.
Yamada is an odd duck, though he and Akane keep being together, and their relationship grows more complicated. Akane also meets other gamers through Yamada, including a fun character who uses an avatar very different from what you’d expect. There’s also a lot of gaming humor.
Loving Yamada at Lv999! is enjoyable and laid-back, a good escapist manga. In fact, it’s also an award-winner, taking home the Grand Prize of 2022’s Annual Tsutaya Comic Awards. The story flows well, the characters are relatable, and the quirkiness and jokes are fun. Sometimes it also gets quite sweet. With the anime here, now’s a great time to be reading this lighthearted romp.
Story & Art: Mashiro
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.