Justin: Ryang-Ha Song is a notorious assassin who’s been targeted by a number of organizations over time, yet has gotten by each of them one after another. But on one of his outings, he runs into Chateau Dankworth, another assassin who, after a quick battle, sees she’s quite skilled. But rather than kill her, he decides he wants to seduce her. Chateau’s not at all interested in that arrangement, but a month after that encounter, one of her targets is taken by Ryang-Ha himself. She soon ends up realizing that her already dangerous job just got a lot more dangerous now that Ryang-Ha is involving her in his life.
And Love of Kill definitely emphasizes the danger, and to the point where Chateau’s encouraged to get out of the business. I would’ve just said it’s belittling to keep emphasizing this, but after the first volume, it might be less about that, and more how Euripides, the one who runs the Ritzland Support Company bounty hunter group, just doesn’t want to incur the wrath of his father if she dies. This then leads to Chateau, who we seriously know little about. We know she’s a pretty good assassin. We learn she’s the daughter of the company’s benefactor.
What we don’t know, however, is why she chose to work for this group. And we don’t know what type of past she’s had that could’ve led up to this. And with her cool and very professional personality, she doesn’t talk too much. She’s basically a results are all that matters person, so there’s not much to really know about her. Which is why that mentality gets flipped when one of the most dangerous assassins in the world has apparently fallen for her.
How far? Well aside from taking her targets, he even goes out in public on dates with her. The only thing this leads to is people — or his enemies — picking up on what he’s up to, and that ends up only making Chateau’s job a lot tougher than it already is. And unless something changes in the next volume or so, it’ll certainly continue to be this way. Aside from that though, the majority of volume 1 is this game of cat-and-mouse between Chateau and Ryang-Ha.
The good news is because of that this volume is a fast read. You can pretty much figure this began as a web comic due to its brevity, and also because of how other characters (Indian Guy has a mystery name???) are described. The idea of an assassin trying to seduce an assassin does have some appeal, and the art, while sometimes messy, is fine to look at (and Fe enjoys drawing them in chibi form at certain points). That however, means you’ll have to reconcile with whether you’ll be able to deal with a pretty pushy assassin and/or one that’s mostly serious all the time. Oh, and I did find it funny that the author admitted about one of the characters still living after driving off a cliff, so chances are a few more unrealistic scenarios will occur in this series.
But Love of Kill is pretty entertaining. While the story is fairly simple there’s intrigue in what these characters will do, and there’s definitely much to learn about our two assassins’ pasts that will further shape the work. And well, this is a manga about assassins, so deaths are a-plenty. The comedy is ok, but the main hook is pretty interesting, and that will lead me to read more of this series.
Justin’s rating: 3.5 of 5
Krystallina: A lot of people meet their significant other through work, but there are some jobs where you just don’t get to meet a lot of people. So when Ryang-Ha meets a pretty woman named Chateau, he can’t help but want to go out with her!
But if you thought being asked out by a coworker was awkward, well, being asked out by a business rival is perhaps even stranger. Especially when you’re both in the middle of doing your job of killing people.
Love of Kill is a romance between two professional assassins, but at this point, all the feelings are one-sided. Even then, Ryang-Ha’s initial interest in her was based on the fact she’s a woman, as he doesn’t have many options otherwise. But now he’s happily capturing her targets in exchange for dates and such with Chateau. Whether he’s truly fallen for her or if some of what he’s doing is just imitating couple-ish behavior will likely be a mystery for a while.
Because it’s certainly a mystery to Chateau. She reminded me of Violet Evergarden in both looks and seeing herself as a weapon of destruction. And she’s bewildered when someone who had her dead to rights is now trying to contact her all the time and inviting her to hotels for Christmas dates and such. She goes along with it because, well, Ryang-Ha outclasses her as an assassin and keeps beating her to her targets.
This manga is not for the faint of heart, and bloody bodies are found everywhere. These are likely corrupt individuals, but this isn’t a lighthearted take on the underworld like, say, Spy x Family. Despite the absurdity of two killers meeting on a job and then dating (albeit reluctantly on Chateau’s part), the manga is full of action and suspense. At several points in the story, author Fe abandons dialogue and lets their art tell the story, from sensing another individual to a potentially deadly car chase.
Fe debuted this story on Pixiv (like a lot of manga these days), but this isn’t just one where the online version was just re-serialized and collected into a graphic novel. This results in a very polished, edgy look to the visuals. I also don’t think I emphasized enough how the dialogue-minimal nature of the story gives it a Hollywood feel, something like Mission Impossible. Chateau herself is a major contributor to this, as although she’s the main character, she is not much of a talker. Readers will likely have to rely more on visual cues to see if she returns Ryang-Ha’s feelings, as right now, she’s just focused on her job.
Love of Kill doesn’t establish much about why she (or Ryang-Ha) are in this business. This is a shoujo manga, so I’m sure there’s bound to be a lot of emotion involved. But the gunplay and other action means this series is going to find a lot of cross-appeal.
Krystallina’s rating: 4 out of 5