Book/Novel

The One I Love

The One I Love or わたしのすきなひと or Watashi no Sukinahito is a romantic, slice-of-life shōjo (targeted towards girls) manga by Clamp, an all-female, manga artist team consisting of Satsuki Igarashi, Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi, and Nanase Ohkawa. Appearing as a monthly serial in the Japanese manga magazine Monthly Young Rose from December 1993 to June 1995, the twelve stories were collected into a bound volume by Kadokawa Shoten and published in July 1995. The One I Love contains twelve independent manga stories, each focusing on an aspect of love and accompanied by an essay. Ohkawa wrote the essays while Nekoi illustrated the manga; it was the first time she primarily illustrated a manga by Clamp. Some of the stories draw on the life experiences of the women while others take inspiration from conversations they had with friends.

In 2003, Tokyopop licensed The One I Love for an English-language translation in North America, and published it in October 2004. Viz Media republished the manga in February 2015. The manga has also been translated into other languages. Reviewers have identified a few themes in the collection. They had a range of reactions to The One I Love: some considered it heartfelt entertainment, while others reviewed it less positively, as a badly done take on romance.

Each story of The One I Love consists of seven pages of manga and an accompanying essay.

  • “Different” (ちがう Chigau): A girl asks to meet her boyfriend in the park after they have had a fight. She wants to apologize, but she does not know what to say. She wears a kimono instead. When she meets her boyfriend, she finds that he is dressed up too; he had the same idea as she did.
  • “Cute” (かわいい Kawaii): A girl reflects on the word “cute” with her boyfriend. She cannot visualize “cute,” so she does not understand why it makes her happy when he says that she is cute.
  • “I Miss You” (あいたい Aitai): A girl has doubts about staying with her boyfriend, who has a very demanding work schedule. In the end, he skips work to visit her, and she decides that their romantic relationship will work out.
  • “A Younger Man” (としした Toshishita): A young woman working at a bakery reflects on a past unsuccessful relationship with a younger man. In the end, a younger bakery worker asks her on a date, and she is hopeful that their romantic relationship will work out.
  • “Suddenly” (とつぜん Totsuzen): A girl working in a design company thinks about her past relationships, and one of her coworkers, whom she does not get along with. When a design job goes wrong and that coworker offers his ideas, she realizes that she is in love with him.
  • “Together” (いっしょに Isshoni): A girl reflects on her childhood sweetheart, who introduced her to playing the harmonica.
  • “Pretty” (きれい Kirei): A girl panics as she decides what to wear to meet her boyfriend. When she is late to meet him, she realizes that her boyfriend always thinks she is pretty no matter what she wears.
  • “Insecure” (ふあん Fuan): A girl has a dream about her boyfriend ending their relationship, and she is worried that it is a premonition.
  • “Courage” (ゆうき Yûki): A girl confesses her love on Valentine’s Day.
  • “Normal” (ふつう Futsû): A young woman has doubts about getting married to her boyfriend. In the end, she realizes that even if they marry, nothing will change between them.
  • “Apart” (はなれる Hanareru): A young woman wonders if her long-distance boyfriend is being faithful. In the end, she finds out that he is very dedicated to her.
  • “Marriage” (けっこん Kekkon): A young woman about to be married is nervous about her future. She is worried that she might change, but her husband reassures her that they will change together.
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