Let’s Do It Already! Volume 1: The Dotted Line



Have you ever found a piece of media that just speaks to your heart? One that you can race along, all the way to the perfect finish line, the moment your eyes meet that first page? That was my initial experience with Let’s Do It Already! volume 1. Part of the newer glut of high-octane RomComs out of Shoujo Beat, Let’s Do It Already! features free-spirited Yuri Hasegawa attempting to lead straight-laced and upper-echelon Keiichiro Katsuragi from his beaten path. It was enough that he fell for her, but now she’s trying to get him to break the biggest rules in the Katsuragi family’s book- doing the deed with Yuri.

It’s a crazy concept, punctuated by over the top reactions and starry-eyed shoujo spreads, but that intense rift ultimately works in its favor- sort of in the vein of “it’s so crazy it might just work”. And that concept extends incredibly thoughtfully into Keiichi and Yuri themselves, creating something of a love song between the pair as they teach one another about the worlds they live in. Keiichiro brings Yuri up to speed on the workings of the modern world from a more technical and objective perspective, and Yuri acclimates Keiichi to the more human comings and goings of it. Together, they make each other far better people- and sneak in more than just a few laughs along the way. Perhaps the best example of this in Let’s Do It Already! volume 1 is when Yuri draws up a contract for Keiichi so that the two can walk home. It’s concrete development in the story that shows off the intersection of their lives, and just how each has influenced the other. And yes, it’s silly as hell to show up with a contract saying, “sign here to walk home with me”, but in the context of the manga it appears as a heartwarming and bright moment all the same.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, let’s chat about how Aki Kusaka wields information in this initial volume. First of all, the appearance of special agent Shinobu Kasuga is very fun and a massive plot point. Why? Because we actually saw that name earlier. The first instance was when Keiichi re-submitted his memorandum for a cell-phone, and the second was when Keiichi got into high school. Shinobu Kasuga might be Keiichi’s age, but more importantly it proves that Shinobu has infiltrated Keiichi’s school with him (and that he’s not quite as smart). Considering this as a fact, it makes Keiichi’s revelation about friends and interactions as a child that much sharper. Here Shinobu is, beside Keiichi all the time, but unable to create a bond with him that both can cherish. Then comes Yuri who surpasses that boundary as if it were nothing- obviously drawing the ire of Shinobu. One could then assume that with the emotion in Keiichi’s memorandum, Shinobu approved it in an attempt to have either Keiichi or Yuri overstep boundaries, “forcing” them to remove Yuri from Keiichi’s life.

It’s the kind of thinking that someone puts together when they want a story to really go the distance and have that big curtain drop later on. Kusaka’s provided a wealth of content to this degree, showing how far into the future they’re thinking with the series- despite the bullet train speeds of pacing that Let’s Do It Already! volume 1 gives off. For example, Shinobu’s involvement as a spy, and Yuri’s proximity to her best friend Chigusa, you could posit that Shinobu and Chigusa might get… involved. A spicy espionage subplot that turns into a sibling romance to Keiichi and Yuri, tainted by the curtain drop on Shinobu’s end would just be incredible- and Kusaka’s already laid the groundwork for that as a possibility.

Anyways, I’ve been off the rails with theorizing there, so let’s get back on track. Speaking of Chigusa, I do like how Kusaka is able to find reasonable normalcy for Yuri and co in Let’s Do It Already! volume 1. The pair talk frequently-if only for Yuri to vent about Keiichi- and they even provide Yuri with character outside of Keiichi and school. For one, they paint her family situation as equally distant as Keiichi’s, but in a more free-flowing manner- allowing her to stay up until morning on the phone, staying out all night, etc etc. It gives readers a clearer picture of Yuri if they’d like to look closer, and will certainly be using her background in the future. On the flip side though, Kusaka has been rather forthcoming about Keiichi’s background, creating an interesting dichotomy. Though Yuri is the “main” character, her background remains a little more blurry. Keiichi, on the flipside, doesn’t get as much “main character” attention, so Kusaka instead paints a clearer picture of his past. It’s really balanced storytelling that keeps readers engaged on both fronts without overwhelming the reader.

But that’s enough conversation about characters and narratives and whatnot, let’s talk art. Simply put, it’s good. It’s a bit odd, in that it certainly has a recognizable style, but it feels like it exists within the “typical” framework of pretty shoujo manga. That’s certainly not a bad thing though, but it’s just a note that it lacks the same strong identity of series like Tamon’s B Side or My Special One. You could argue that the art for Let’s Do It Already! is “better” than both of those though, so it’s really just a preference thing. The most interesting piece is my eyes in the sheer fullness of each page.

There’s so many panels- and that’s a good thing here. It keeps the energy of the series high, proving for a dense and full read that rifles off humorous and emotional outbursts in equal amounts. And even within that, Let’s Do It Already! volume 1 goes further, adding superimposed panels alongside plenty of collages, creating a visual cadence just as unpredictable (yet equally readable) as the story it depicts. A great example of that is how pages tend to “fill up” and “break” in accordance with major developments. It’s a simple tool, but with the style of Let’s Do It Already! it feels like a noticeably good match. You’ll have the panels and pages pile up and fill every little space before breaking apart to open up a romantic or serious moment- operating as a strong visual counterpart to the similarly executed narrative mechanism.

It really must not come as any surprise that I’ll be recommending Let’s Do It Already! volume 1, right? I all but said it in the opening paragraph, and backed up it with every subsequent chunk of writing. It’s a RomCom for RomCom fans, continuing to tip the needle of Shoujo romance more towards the excessively humorous and light rather than dramatic (though series like Honey Lemon Soda still exist). It’s got strong art, humor, and story, and does great with thinking ahead and providing a bread trail for readers to follow- if they so choose. It doesn’t require a lot of attention or focus, it doesn’t attempt to pierce your heart with this first volume, it doesn’t do anything too strong (aside from concept and comedy). In reality, despite the eye-catching debut, Kusaka’s work has a very aloof feel to how it attempts to grab you as a reader. It’s not going to grasp at straws to pull everyone in. Instead, it’s far happier being itself and enjoying the ride. Because of that, if you did enjoy the ride of the first volume, it’s very clear you’ll be hooked on the series- and like me, you’ll certainly be looking forward to the second volume of Let’s Do It Already!.

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