Please be advised this review contains spoilers for Like Two Peas in a Pod by Gorou Kanbe and published by TOKYOPOP.
Anyone weeb in my age range remembers the feeling of being in high school and watching our favorite high school romance anime like Ouran High School Host Club, Lovely Complex, and Fruits Basket. I’ve talked about this before but there is just something different about high school romance that is light, fluffy, and heart warming. Being a full grown adult, I don’t tend to consume too many high school aged media in general but when I do, I’m instantly transported to my teen self, dealing with the clumsy feelings of love and angst.
The thing about being a teen in love is that not only are you dealing with annoying teen shit, you also feel like your emotions are bigger than yourself. Everything feels so “do or die” and it is all consuming. As adults it is so easy to dismiss teen love as childish and puppy love which I totally get. I look back at some of my high school “loves” and CRINGE. But, I also recognized that at that time, that was the most intense emotion I knew. Of course it felt do or die, I had nothing else to compare it.
In reading Like Two Peas in a Pod by Gorou Kanbe and published by TOKYOPOP, I felt like the star of an isekai, getting transported to a fictitious high school experience. The timing and pacing of the story, along side the actual plot, makes you feel like you are a passerby witnessing the events as opposed to just a reader. In the time I’ve read and reread this manga, I’ve felt myself so invested in the story, it’s hard to stop thinking about it afterwards.
Like Two Peas follows the story of classmates Tanaka and Nakata who seem to have many things in common. Both have similar names, heights, interests, and even physical performance scores. As the similarities increase, the two become friends but everything changes when Tanaka gets a girlfriend.
Nakata is immediately upset, much to his own surprise. He initially thinks it is because of the girlfriend, Tanigaki, but it becomes clear to him that he’s upset over Tanaka. Being in the same class as Tanaka and Tanigaki, Nakata is in pain every day watching the two together. So much so that his classmate and fellow library committee member Futaba takes notice. As Tanaka and his girlfriend grow closer, so do Futaba and Nakata.
Things heat up for the pair as they attend the firework festival together when Tanaka’s girlfriend bails. As they are having fun, I think Nakata becomes more aware of his feelings towards Tanaka. When Tanaka brings up Tanigaki, Nakata lashes out and the two argue. Tanaka accuses Nakata of liking Tanigaki, and in that moment Nakata says out loud that his eyes have been following Tanaka. Nakata fully realizes then that he has feelings for Tanaka, but this goes over Tanaka’s head.
A new semester rolls around and since Tanaka is hanging out with his girlfriend more, Nakata grows closer to Futaba who is catching on that Nakata has feelings for someone. On a walk home, Nakata and Tanaka discuss their fight at the firework festival, Nakata clears up the misunderstanding and assures Tanaka that he doesn’t have to worry about him liking Tanigaki because he already has a crush on someone. Now, anyone with eyes can see that this is going to lead to a misunderstanding and of course, Tanaka starts thinking that Nakata has a crush on Futuba, since they hang out a lot, especially when he is with Tanigaki.
When Nakata and Futaba accidentally walk in on Tanaka and Tanigaki about to kiss, Nakata runs off to a stairwell where Futaba comforts him in a friend way. Of course, it doesn’t take long for Tanaka to find them and believe that he is witnessing a moment between the two.
Things finally reach their peak after a conversation with Futaba where she asks Tanaka why he is so happy talking about Nakata. I’m not sure if things click for him then, but he ends up going to the classroom to get his phone and finds Nakata touching his desk lovingly. The POV suddenly changes and now we’re seeing Tanaka realizing he’s always found Nakata and their similarities adorable.
Tanaka seemingly tackles Nakata and the two kiss on the floor, as Tanaka asks to be Nakata’s crush, in which Nakata replies by confessing his love! As the two kiss, the flashbacks of how their “similar they are” play out. Because this is a love quad story, the happiness doesn’t last as Tanigaki walks in on the two making out! After she runs off, the Tanaka and Nakata apologize to each other, both meaning different things.
Finally, on a snowy day, everyone seems to have the conversations they need to. Futaba and Nakata talk about how they like each other as friends, and Futuba tells Nakata she knows of what happened due to Tanigaki. Futuba also hilariously realizes that she had the love triangle/quad all messed up.
Tanigaki and Nakata talk about her relationship with Tanaka, and how she fell out of love with him. But most importantly, Nakata and Tanaka talk about their relationship. They acknowledge that right now, Nakata feels more strongly than Tanaka does, but that they will still be together.
I’m not someone who enjoys a love triangle, much less a love quad, but man, in Like Two Peas, it felt so frustrating but also very enjoyable. I kept wanting to leap through the pages and shake both Nakata and Tanaka. I thought their dynamics of being friends based on similarities was adorable but also such an indication of young love. We’re so used to thinking the more we have in common with someone, the more that indicates we are meant to be together.
Although no ones likes a cheater, I do think that the kiss between Nakata and Tanaka that takes place while he was still with Tanigaki was very necessary for Tanigaki and Tanaka’s relationship. It seemed like Tanigaki realized she really didn’t want to be in a relationship with Tanaka (which girl, we all saw coming because y’all were so weird together.) I do believe Tanaka genuinely cared for Tanigaki, but I think he realized his feelings for Nakata meant more to him and he didn’t want to lose him.
As I’ve reread this story a few times, I can’t help but thinking how amazing this story would play out as anime. A cute 6 – 12 episode slice of life, really highlighting all the miscommunications that can occur in a possible love quad! I’m here for it! Either way, as a manga it is perfect and definitely an adorable read everyone needs to have in their catalog.
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