I will go down with this ship

<em>Kiss Him, Not Me</em> (<em>Watashi ga Motete Dousunda</em>) is a package of humour, romance, and well-played manga tropes. As the title suggests, the main character, Kae Serinuma, is not interested in guys that suddenly want to date her ... she is a fujoshi after all, and she&rsquo;s much more interested in pairing the guys together.

This manga sits at the comfortable crossroads between romance and comedy; though it&rsquo;s definitely a series aimed at the otaku niche, and more specifically, people who are fujoshi, the playful yet self-critical title of &ldquo;rotten women.&rdquo; Fujoshi are usually all female otaku who are fans of <em>yaoi</em> (explicit) and boys&rsquo; love (not explicit) content that portray gay relationships between men, usually written by women for women.

Kae starts out under-the-radar because of her chubby appearance, and when her favourite anime character is killed off, she goes into withdrawal for two weeks, and reappears smaller in size. The guys &mdash; Yuusuke, Asuma, Nozomu, Hayato &mdash; that had zero interest in her prior to her mourning period suddenly are attracted to her, and this leads to several of the them trying to win her over. I&rsquo;d be the first to admit this is really superficial, but if you can get past that, this is a hilarious wish-fulfillment series filled to the brim with shipping jokes and <em>kabedon</em>.

There have been several other manga that have dealt with fujoshi in relationships (<em>My Girlfriend&rsquo;s a Geek, Fujoshi Rumi, Genshiken: Second Generation, Fudanshism</em>) with varying degrees of success.

<em>Kiss Him</em> works because it&rsquo;s told from the angle of a shoujo harem story, where the joke is that the harem itself reinforces&nbsp; Kae&rsquo;s lack of romantic interest in any of the &ldquo;real&rdquo; guys. They come together for their mutual love of Kae, but what this really means is that Kae gets a front row seat to all their normal interactions between each other. All of them being around her just feeds her shipping fire. While it all unfolds like an otome game, she wants no part in (&ldquo;Reality is a shitty game!&rdquo;).

The story is not written in a way that laughs at fujoshi-dom, or told from the perspective of the guy, but rather is a huge heaping of all the heart-pounding shojo tropes and fanservice that is sure to win any degree of fujoshi over. The creator, Junko, really gets it &mdash; after all, most of her other comics are in the genre that Kae so loves dearly, and <em>Kiss Him</em> is an extension of that. Junko&rsquo;s cute art style and good pacing work very well here to achieve the romantic comedy feel.

The manga definitely indulges in all the in-jokes that anime fans will most likely understand: from trying to resist a last minute sale on a limited edition item at the Animate store, quoting basketball series <em>Slam Dunk</em>&rsquo;s Coach Anzai during a soccer match, and much more. My favourite chapters pertain to Kae wanting to skip the Christmas party in order to travel to the &ldquo;holy land&rdquo; of Comic Market, and the guys decide to go along, which leads to them becoming her funnels to buy BL doujins.

<em>Kiss Him, Not Me</em> is a glorious indulgence; if you&rsquo;re a fujoshi or romantic-at-heart, this parody will do wonders to make your day better. The shojo tropes work well with one another, and when they&rsquo;re piled together, the comedy completely overwhelms you. I have no idea who Kae will ultimately choose in the end (not that it really matters), but man, hold onto your body pillows, because you&rsquo;re in for a ride.