Ai Ore! is about a boy who is often mistaken for a girl dating a girl who is often mistaken for a boy. It’s not an in-depth look at gender studies or traditional gender roles. It pretty much just uses this gimmick for moe.
Mizuki, the girl, is the guitarist of the band Blaue Rosen and has gotten her boyfriend Akira to be the lead vocalist, but Akira has to pretend he’s a girl when he’s with the band. One time Akira agrees to go on a fake date with a guy so that the band can play where and when it wants to, and the guy actually believes that Akira is a girl. Another character, Tsubasa, shows up and has a major crush on Mizuki, so Tsubasa tries to ruin the girl’s relationship with Akira.
There are quite a few funny moments in Ai Ore! I have, however, felt iffy with some parts of this series. Well, mainly one part: Akira. In his need to feel “masculine,” he instead sometimes dips into just being a chauvinist. Shinjo makes a comment in the manga about everyone loving Akira, but I don’t think that’s true. However, the good news is that Akira seems to have some growing moments in this volume. He does a few jerky things, but this time around he gets nailed for them. For instance, he tries to say he’ll “claim” Mizauki, a wording that made me angry, but then another character talked to him and said that’s not how men behave. At another time, Akira was being too pushy with Mizuki, but she put him in his place by saying he couldn’t treat her that way. I’m glad these things happened. Ai Ore! does have some funny moments, so I don’t want the series to get ruined by Akira’s idiocy.
Aside from these Akira moments, Air Ore! basically reads like a guilty pleasure manga. It has quite a few references to sex, especially with characters trying to sleep with one another and invariably failing. Mizuki and Akira have some tiffs during the book, and toward the end, Mizuki’s parents try to set up an arranged marriage for her. They don’t pick a stranger, but another character from Ai Ore! The humor has to be the best part, and I hope Akira continues to improve and doesn’t make any backslides.