Manga is one of my favourite mediums. I love the versality of its storytelling, the vast amount of originality and genres, and best of all the artwork tends to be gorgeous and just as unique as the tales they tell. Yet, there’s one more thing about manga that I simply can’t seem to get anywhere else and that is slow-burn romances.
Slow-burn romances are some of my favourite types of romances, and it’s just not that common in novels nowadays, especially not in young adult literature, which I read quite a bit of for my studies and work. A lot of the romantic tropes that I tend to swoon over are beautifully rendered in most of the manga that I read. I actually don’t think there are a lot of tropes for falling in love that I don’t care for, with the exception of insta-love. I fucking loathe that shit. However, beyond that, I say bring on the various methods for heart-fluttering ooey-gooeyness.
Romance is something I don’t typically talk about because I merely haven’t read as much of the genre as I would like, especially in manga. So, as a way to kick-start some self-motivation for reading more of it, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my favourite first kisses in the medium!
Please note that most of these kisses are major spoilers for their respective serials, so please read cautiously. To avoid ruining the fun for folx out there, I’ll go ahead and randomly list the serials here: Tsubaki-chō Lonely Planet, Skip Beat!, Inu x Boku SS, and Naruto.
05. Naruto & Sasuke (Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto)
Oh yes, I definitely put this fucking kiss on my list. These two characters have such an epic bromance going on, one that spans decades, and I’m honestly surprised they didn’t end up together by the end. Then again, that would be too damn convenient, wouldn’t it?
I remember that while I was reading, when this scene happened, I literally choked on my Milo. It was unexpected and glorious, and it couldn’t have happened to a better duo. I wonder, if Sasuke had received more loving from his dearly beloved chum, then maybe he wouldn’t have become such a trite little brat, no?
04. Ririchiyo & Sōshi (Inu x Boku SS by Cocoa Fujiwara)
I read this manga series way back when the anime had just wrapped up in 2012 (can you believe that was eight years ago?). While the anime wasn’t the greatest thing I had ever seen, I fell in love with the goofy characters and their ridiculously silly comedic traits. Getting to the kiss in the manga felt like it took ages, but it also incited more gushing when I finally got that point. Then they became very romantic and coupley with one another as the series progressed, and it helped that first kiss to feel even more fluffy and sweet. Unfortunately, the story took a serious detour from it’s decent quality into chaos and I ultimately dropped it. Nevertheless, this kiss is still one of my favourites.
03. Fumi & Akatsuki (Tsubaki-chō Lonley Planet by Mika Yamamori)
Mika Yamamori is such an amazing mangaka. Not only is her art gorgeous, but her romance stories are also very wholesome with imperfect characters. But this isn’t a gush-about-Ms-Yamamori post. No, this is a gush-about-people-lip-locking post. Tsubaki-chō is a manga I’m almost finished with and I can’t wait to talk to you guys about it in a few days. These two characters have had such a cute journey, and they are some of my favourite people in the medium. Their chemistry is so damn natural that when they finally kissed, I squealed with joy like a tiny little adolescent. It was quite a lot of fun. There was one point in the series where I just didn’t think it was ever going to happen but thank the fricking kitty cats that it did!
02. Sho & Kyoko (Skip Beat! by Yoshiki Nakamura)
Man, the anime stopped right where all of the bloody fun begins. There’s enough manga material for the series to have numerous more seasons and I hope that one day the fans will be blessed with it because, goddammit, this scene needs an anime adaptation. I fucking died when this kiss happened.
It was my very first time reading through the manga. My friend gave me all the volumes she had. It was like three in the morning and everyone in my house was asleep. Then I got to this page and I shouted, “WHAT THE FUCK” so loudly and woke everyone’s ass up. I still don’t have any regrets because the reaction that was pulled out of me was so fantastically sincere. Nothing has really made me WTF like that before (at that point in my life). After that I just started laughing uncontrollably because of the aftermath of this entire fucking scene.
Glorious. As all the Seven Hells. Just glorious.
01. Kuon & Kyoko (Skip Beat! by Yoshiki Nakamura)
This is the biggest spoiler on this whole damn post, so if you haven’t read Skip Beat! and were planning on it, what are you doing? I gave a warning up there, didn’t I?!
Ten years in the making. This kiss has been a goddamn decade in the making and it was so beautiful and almost worth the bloody wait. I definitely screamed when it happened. I remember my heart was racing and I couldn’t breathe, and it was just a hot, sweaty mess of shock and glee and disbelief. Ah, what a way to feel alive.
The events that follow and the impact that this kiss had on the storyline was also quite great, although I wish that certain parts took a very different turn. Considering the series is still ongoing, only time shall reveal how everything will wrap up one day. In the far, far future. The only reason this is in my number one spot is because this kiss is the reason that my cousins and I kept writing fan fiction. We started to get requests like fucking crazy, and at the time, it was a great source of destressing and coping through heavy life stuff that we were all dealing with. Otherwise, I’d say that it’s either equal to Kyoko’s kiss with Sho (which was her actual first kiss) or just a tiny smidge below it.
Although, if she ever kisses Reino (I’m a bit behind, so I don’t know if she has or not yet), I will definitely die from joy and fanhumaning passion unlike any other. He’s my favourite motherfucker in the whole franchise.
Honorary Mention: Gōda and Suna (My Love Story!! by Kazune Kawahara and Aruko)
Okay, I have to give this kiss a shout-out because it is the ultimate display of true friendship. I used a screenshot from the anime because the manga one was utter crap. But when Gōda needs help with learning how to kiss, Suna mans up. Okay, he gets ambushed with plastic wrap, but I’m sure if he really wanted Gōda to stop, the big guy would have. His love for his best mate, Suna, is so marvellous. It’s filled with mutual respect and admiration and this raw sincerity and is extremely difficult to find nowadays. Plus, this moment was so outrageously funny, and what makes it funnier is that I can totally picture my small circle of chums stepping up and doing something just as outlandish as this. Good times. Good times.