Title: First Love Reset (Hatsukoi Reset / ハツコイ・リセット )
Author: Urara Kuroda (Story & Art)
Genres: Josei, Romance, Drama, Smut, Slice of Life
Rating: M (18+)
Chapters: 14 [Ongoing]
Available to Purchase in English?: Yes ( Renta! )
Synopsis: Ako and Hiro were always together. Ako was so sure that Hiro reciprocated her feelings, but after he rejected her, it left a deep scar in her heart. Ten years have passed since then. Ako decides she needs to spread her wings and forget all about what happened. Right when she’s having trouble convincing her dad to let her move out on her own, someone comes to the door. It turns out to be Hiro, her first love, and they haven’t seen each other since the rejection. But, since Ako’s parents trust him a lot, they let her move into his apartment building. Ako is thrilled to be on her own, but when she forgets to call the gas company, she’s forced to ask Hiro for help and close the distance between them. Ako wants to reset the bittersweet memories of her first love and try her relationship with Hiro again. (Renta!)
This review contains mild spoilers.
So, story time. This manga caught my eye because 1) the artwork is gorgeous and 2) it’s a romantic drama. I honestly didn’t even notice the rating until I got a couple chapters in and read a sex scene. Only then did I go back to First Love Reset‘s homepage on Renta! and notice that it was an adult manga. ^^;;; Oops~ But I am completely and totally hooked on this title so I’m reviewing it anyways.
One of the issues I struggle with when reading online manga is that the chapters never feel quite long enough. I haven’t actually sat and compared the length of a Renta! chapter to that in a physical tankōbon, I just know that to me online chapters feel shorter. Maybe it’s the lack of physically turning a page? (It’s also why I don’t like e-readers, but that’s a tangent for another time. xD )
Anyways, I mention this personal annoyance because when I find a title I really really like, such as First Love Reset, I feel like each chapter starts getting really good and I’ll be reading along until suddenly it just ends. Sometimes that ending is gentle and one chapter will neatly blend into the next, but sometimes it feels like abruptly hitting a brick wall. I feel like the “shorter chapters” contribute to what feel like shorter plot arcs, which kinda sucks and this disjointedness often breaks the immersion for me. Maybe manga in an online medium is meant to be consumed in shorter periods, and not as engaging as a physical tankōbon? I dunno. All I know is that if an ex-partner re-enters the picture, it’d be nice if their arc lasted longer than just one or two chapters.
I did a lot of personal comparisons between this title and one of my earlier Renta! reviews, Loving You! Mainly: as much as I enjoyed Loving You!, why was I more excited about First Love Reset? TAfter some reflection, the answer I came up with is that I feel like First Love Reset is more relatable and therefore I enjoyed it more. Workplace romances aren’t at all uncommon these days, but I feel like childhood friends-turned-lovers is something perhaps more people can relate to. Or if not the aforementioned specific situation, then at least feelings of possibly-unreciprocated love, the excitement of being near your crush but being unable to say anything about your feelings, being scared to speak up and say what you feel… I guess in the end, the draw for me to titles like First Love Reset is the tension building up to the plunge of a big heartfelt confession, which is then hopefully followed by a happy ending (no pun intended). I feel like most people have something in their life that they’d want to “reset” if given the chance, whether it’s a first impression, a past relationship, a former job, and so on. I feel like it’s that relatability factor which may make First Love Reset appealing to some of its readers (myself included).
Also, unlike Loving You! where Yuri’s doesn’t immediately have feelings for Aio, in First Love Reset it’s fairly obvious that both Hiro and Ako love each other. Ako’s fairly clear about her feelings for Hiro towards the beginning but even though Hiro doesn’t voice his lingering feelings for Ako (because he’s still dating Seri), the reader can pick up on them through his actions and body language. These two loved each other in their own way as kids, Ako loved Hiro as a teenager, and now that they’re young adults, perhaps those feelings are still present for both of them.
Ako and Hiro are awesome characters, well-rounded and realistic. There were moments of humor sprinkled throughout the chapters which made me giggle occasionally, such as the picture to left with Hiro saying Ako has no class because she’s drinking from paper cups. It was moments like these which helped humanize Ako and Hiro. I also thought it was cute that their families still liked each other – Hiro’s mom still finds Ako adorable and Ako’s mom is still very friendly towards Hiro. Both of Ako’s parents also still think very highly of Hiro, although this is much to Ako’s annoyance because she’s trying to be self-reliant but her parents keep nudging her back towards Hiro.
There’s a secondary cast of characters who help move the story along including Hiro’s girlfriend Seri, Ako’s ex Shima, and Hiro’s brother Tomo. They fuel the drama-fire but at the end of the day, every relationship and every friendship helps fuel the manga’s end goal of Ako and Hiro ending up together.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’m unable to finish reading this title at the moment because I’m broke and have ran out of funds, but as soon as I’m able to I will definitely be getting caught up to speed with First Love Reset. Do note that this is an adult title so there is some nudity and a few brief sex scenes – until you get to one of the later chapters, lol. Then nothing’s held back.
Do I Recommend This Title To Others?: HELL YES! The artwork’s beautiful, there’s lots of romance and drama, and it’s very well-written. No drama for the sake of drama here – these are real people with real problems and real feelings. Sometimes the setup feels a little cheesy (Ako frequently having reasons to go to Hiro’s apartment, or vice versa), but the end goal is pretty obvious going into the manga so I can’t really fault First Love Reset for being a little cliche-y.
Final Score: 10/10