Also by this author: Pre Mari, Peach Girl, Papillon: Flower & Butterfly
Love confessions are one of those things from my youth that I honestly miss. Confessing to the person that you have a crush on is nerve-wracking, and when looking back there are often so many missed opportunities. I remember the crushing feeling the first time I found out that a high school crush that I had been nursing for months ended up becoming a friend’s boyfriend. This happened a few times, I never felt sour about it but shrugged it off that I was just too slow to act on those feelings.
This feeling of being too slow forms the basis of Loco Moco. Hiroko feels that she has to keep up with her childhood friend, Tomoko, who seems to have a new boyfriend all the time, so she plays along and brags about having boyfriends as well. When Hiroko finally gathers up the courage to confess to her crush, however, she finds out that her crush is her friend’s new boyfriend.
“Roko-chan, have you tried getting confessed to?”
Loco Moco is a short and sweet series about this predicament, about missed opportunities and trying to cope with a crush that has now become unattainable. While Takeru also has a mild interest in Hiroko, it’s understandable that he dates that cute girl that confesses to him. While the drama between Hiroko and Tomoko could at times be petty, it is understandable when they both realize that the other is a romantic rival.
While Roko and Tomo butt heads at times, their friendship remains intact, and they choose to do what’s best for their friend which made me happy to see a good female friendship take precedence over one’s romantic feelings. There are a few character traits that seem to reappear in all of Ueda’s series, namely the protagonist having a complex about being misunderstood for a physical trait and having a jealous best friend.
I’m glad that I didn’t give up on Ueda’s work, I love her art and characters, but I honestly got mad with the last two Ueda works that I had read. Compared to other works by Miwa Ueda, Loco Moco is relatively tame which I feel made it better. It’s an underrated gem that tackles the drama that comes with crushing on a friend’s boyfriend with relative maturity.