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Loveless  
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Description
12-year-old Aoyagi Ritsuka is a troubled child. He has no memories of his life until the age of ten. His excitable mother physically and verbally abuses him, demanding that he return the "real" Ritsuka to her. For the past two years, his older brother Seimei had been his devoted friend and protector: the only one who accepted Ritsuka's "new" self and who could stop their mother from abusing Ritsuka.

In a talk the brothers had one day, Ritsuka learns Seimei's real name is Beloved, and although Seimei refuses to explain why he would say that, Ritsuka thinks the name fits. Soon after that conversation, Seimei was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

A while later a college student named Soubi appears before Ritsuka, claiming to have been Seimei's friend. He tells Ritsuka that Ritsuka's real name is Loveless, and that like his older brother he is a sacrifice. Ritsuka has inherited Seimei's fighter, Soubi himself. Ritsuka finds himself drawn into a bizarre secret world where teams of two—fighter and sacrifice—engage in combat with another team using the fighter's verbal spells that manifest in local space and, for every round lost, create increasingly painful bindings on that team's sacrifice.

As his involvement in this new life deepens, Ritsuka unearths many shocking facts about himself, Seimei and Soubi, plus the mysterious organization related to the combat, Septimal Moon. He resolves to discover the truths behind his brother's murder and his own unexplained amnesia.

Type
Manga

Related Series

Associated Names
Нелюбимый
ラブレス
无爱之战LOVELESS

Groups Scanlating
Kamibana Scanlations
Obsession
Shoku-dan
sof-93
More...

Latest Release(s)
c.118-119 by Kamibana Scanlations (134d ago)
c.117 by Kamibana Scanlations (1012d ago)
v.11 c.Special Booklet by Kamibana Scanlations (1056d ago)
Search for all releases of this series

Status in Country of Origin
12 Volumes (Ongoing)

Completely Scanlated?
No

Anime Start/End Chapter
Starts at Vol 1, Chap 1
Ends at Vol 4, Chap 9

User Reviews
Loveless by Myrah

Forum
7 topics, 40 posts
Click here to view the forum

User Rating
Average: 8.2 / 10.0 (676 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.13 / 10.0
10
 38% (260 votes)
9+
 19% (129 votes)
8+
 15% (100 votes)
7+
 10% (68 votes)
6+
 7% (50 votes)
5+
 3% (18 votes)
4+
 2% (15 votes)
3+
 1% (5 votes)
2+
 1% (10 votes)
1+
 3% (21 votes)

Last Updated
June 23rd 2016, 7:36am PST


Genre

Categories

Category Recommendations

Recommendations

Author(s)

Artist(s)

Year
2002

Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)
Comic Zero-Sum (Ichijinsha)

Licensed (in English)
Yes

English Publisher
Viz (12 Volumes - Hiatus)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #652 increased(+218)
Monthly Pos #1261 increased(+248)
3 Month Pos #1510 increased(+14)
6 Month Pos #1261 decreased(-101)

List Stats
On 2114 reading lists
On 690 wish lists
On 227 unfinished lists
On 364 custom lists

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Forum Posts
No release date for Volume 13 yet in Japan 414 days, 12 hours, 19 minutes ago
Loveless 777 days, 6 hours, 27 minutes ago
reference in v04ch17 intro-picture 1089 days, 11 hours, 49 minutes ago
Loveless chapter 1732 days, 18 hours, 55 minutes ago
Names Discussion, Moonless theories? 1815 days, 21 hours, 55 minutes ago

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User Comments [ Order by time added ]
 

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Loveless Complex   
Rating: N/A
by Kirity
September 19th, 2009, 1:29am
Towards the one who had subjected their review as "For Kids", I would hope you do not gear this manga toward kids Ritsuka's age and younger. The manga is dark and realistic, and much of the character development is based upon sexual tensions, obvious in the mangaka's use of animal ears depicting virginity. You must understand that Ritsuka is twelve body wise, and yet only two years due to the strong change in character and lack of memories of his first 10 years of life. Naivety is a given in that current state, and the mangaka makes great use of it.

The maincharacters are amazing. Ritsuka is a pacifist who has so much to tackle; abuse, lost of memory, a paranoia of being forgotten, and the truth of who his brother was, and what happened to him. Soubi has been trained to be a complete masochist, requiring to be commanded and forming a taboo love for Ritsuka. His character gives the feeling that maturity doesn't come from your loss of viriginity, which was constantly noted that he had no ears in the beginning of the book, but a feeling of lostness and wanting. Ritsuka's brother is a mystery to him, and the main plot revolves on Ritsuka figuring out who his brother is, and what happened to him.

What drives this story is the characters' increasing depth, and the mangaka's constant use of the theme that power comes from words, well inscribed into the battle system of the Loveless universe. The artwork is beautiful, and the story may get confusing at times due to the author tackling many unique profiles, character relationships, and the impact words can bring. But it is all done masterfully and smoothly, and when fully taken in, becomes worthy of reading and rereading.

I wouldn't recommend it to people sensitive to shounen ai/yaoi, or anything resembling pedophilia and incestuous behavior . Most of the plot devices come from the taboos that Ritsuka's relationships bring due to his age and naivety despite his overall composure. Being very character driven, as well as the battle system being mainly on the go mind games and spells, dialogue is extremely wordy, and so I do not recommend it to people who look mainly for action, whether in romance or fighting wise. However, it is a great manga due to its mix of complexity, endearing character designs and beautiful artwork, and in the end, worth giving a try.

... Last updated on September 19th, 2009, 1:36am
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Be prepared...this comment is long!   
Rating: N/A
by calstine
May 19th, 2010, 12:02pm
I agree with nephilim, and Kirity- their reviews were quite detailed and insightful.
Since they already stated much of what I wanted to say, I'll just be listing the pros and cons of 'Loveless' as I noticed them.

Pros

1. The characters might all come across as stereotypical and cliched- and up to a certain extent, they are. However, as the story progresses, each person soon begins to hold his own as a 3-dimensional depiction of human nature.

- Ritsuka - A typical example of an abused child; protecting his mother no matter what she does to him, because he loves her and believes it's his fault that she has gone insane. What's so unrealistc about that? Any book on child psychology will tell you that passionately defending the abuser is one of the primary features of a child who has been treated badly ever since he could remember. And keep in mind that Ritsuka has no memory of the days when his mother 'loved' him- he only remembers what happened since two years ago, when the abuse first started.

- Soubi - Frankly, I am no fan of pedophiles. I really do despise them. However, this guy is just not your average shotacon; for one, he isn't all that forceful, and for another, there is plenty of depth to his character. He has so many psychological issues- an unceasing desire to be 'controlled', a disturbing belief that you have to undergo pain in order to prove something to yourself, and a desperate longing to be loved and wanted, but at the same time, feeling the need to pretend that he doesn't desire attention.
His virginity lost at a very young age (maybe around fourteen?), abused continuously and trained to become a complete slave to his 'sacrifice', emotionally unstable and unable to deal with any kind of mentally challenging situation on his own due to the lack of a proper upbringing... I can't say I like him, but I can certainly sympathize with his situation.

- There is a very large cast of characters in the manga- most of whom have a very dark and disturbing side to them, despite their initial appearance of carefreeness and cheerfulness. Some others are truly well-meaning and likable, and naturally have good intentions. (The best example for this being Ritsuka's class-teacher and Yuiko- and sometimes even Soubi's friend Kaidou.) They serve to lighten the mood of the story and prevent it from becoming too depressing.

2. The cat ears and tail - I previously thought that this was unnecessary and distracting, and was frankly annoyed with the mangaka. But within a couple of volumes, I came to understand that it was actually a subtle message; something that allowed the readers to gain a good assessment of the characters' personalities and situations. I also approve of how the author expresses that 'losing your ears' has nothing to do with being a mature, responsible adult. In fact, those without ears often find themselves in situations where they have to rely on the eared 'kids' to set them on the right track when they are driven into an emotional dead-end.

3. The art - Not very elaborate, but clear and simple. The people aren't gorgeous, but they don't look too bad.

Cons

1. The plot is incredibly slow to unravel. By the end of the 9th volume, the point of the story is just beginning to reveal itself to the reader, bringing with it more mysteries and raising a lot of questions along the way. If the mangaka wants to conclude everything neatly without leaving any loose ends, she will have to keep the serialization going for another while yet. Those who are impatient or looking for something short will not be able to enjoy this manga.
Also, the tendency of the story to jump from one place to another, sometimes even shifting time-frames and perspectives, might confuse you if you do not pay full attention to what you're reading.

2. Rituska's age - I think this is the major deterrent for would-be readers. (I know it was for me.) However, within this apparent flaw, I actually see a point in the story's favour. Ritsuka's occasional displays of naivety, his confusion regarding his feelings towards Soubi as well as Yuiko, his attitude towards his mother and brother - all these would have become pointless if he was in his late teens. Even his maturity and ability to think for himself would not have seemed very impressive if he had been, say, sixteen or so.
In fact, the question of Ritsuka's orientation (which is what is keeping romance fans and BL fans alike from abandoning the manga), is completely built up on the fact that he is only twelve. I feel that Kouga Yun plays this completely to her advantage.

3. The long dialogues and wordy fighting style - A plus-point for me, but I know most people would prefer them to fight in a less confusing and more traditional method such as with swords and guns. Sadly, the poetic quality of the original Japanese incantations used for the fighters' spells is, more often than not, lost in translation; making the dialogues during fighting sequences very unattractive, awkward and confusing.

4. Seimei - I don't want to spoil, so I'll only say that his attitude towards Ritsuka will be quite disturbing to some readers. However, I consider him a fairly intriguing and intelligent character in his own right; despite falling into the 'charming but cruel and sadistic villain' mold.

Overall

This manga is by no means suitable for kids or for people who disapprove of taboo relationships and have no tolerance towards mental disorders or hints of strange fetishes.
If you belong to one of these categories, do NOT read Loveless.


Anyone else should be able to enjoy it - but be warned; darkness and depression abound throughout this story. Though the heaviness is broken by occasional light and touching moments, this is by no means a funny or sweet manga.

... Last updated on May 20th, 2010, 7:19am
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Not just another light, fluffy shounen-ai   
Rating: 9.5 / 10.0
by Diamond_Dust
August 12th, 2010, 7:29pm
I must say, I am impressed by this series, and I don't say that lightly. In terms of story and characters, I am relatively hard to please. It must have depth, and it must be something I believe has potential to grow. Loveless has both of these elements, which is a definite plus.

Obviously, there are a few cliche elements to the story. Ritsuka is a young boy in the classic "abused child" situation, and he also has what some might believe to be amnesia (although, I doubt that's the case). Yes I know, go ahead and roll your eyes. This must be your run-of-the-mill shoujo manga, right? Wrong. At first glance the plot seems somewhat typical, but there is so much beneath the surface, it sets it apart from other stories in its genre.

This manga is packed full of characters who are never quite what they seem, plotlines that always leave you questioning things, and underlying themes that go far beyond what you see on the surface. Soubi in particular, fascinates me. There are so many different facets to him, he leaves you wondering what is behind every word and every smile. People are usually quick to call him a perverted weirdo with a lolicon complex, but he is so much more than that. In some ways, if you look deep enough, he is just as much of a scared little boy as Ritsuka is.

Which brings me to my next point. I must take issue with something said in the review by Misochan. I know others have referenced to it already, but I'd like to emphasize anyway. Here's why.

The comment was on Ritsuka's naivety. The issue was, how could he ever let someone as cruel as his mother manipulate and control him, especially when all she does is hurt him? He shouldn't be such an idiot, right? He needs to face reality, right? Well, show me a 12 year old who doesn't. If he was about 15 or 16, I would agree with you, but this is a child we're talking about. I can't speak for others, but I believe it is safe to say that many children so young are not quite in touch with themselves. Think back for a minute, to a time when you all were that young. What do 12 year old kids generally want?

To be loved and accepted, even if it is from a mother who hates and abuses you. Why? Because they are naive, and they haven't really learned to be their own people yet. They haven't faced reality, because they haven't fully grasped it yet. If Ritsuka was any less naive than he is, this story would never work.

On top of that, Ritsuka as he is now has never known anything other than abuse. He wholeheartedly believes that it is his fault his mother beats him, and that it is his fault the "real" Ritsuka is gone. Does that make him stupid? No. I don't believe that.

Anyway, I just wanted to make how I feel about his character clear.

I admit, Loveless probably isn't for everyone. Some of the themes may be hard to get past, such as Ritsuka's young age and Soubi's romantic attention to him, but if you stick around, it is well worth the ride. There is no absence of fluff for all of you hopeless romantics out there, but there is also a deeper, darker plot; one that might not be expected at first glance. This is definitely worth the read, although I would advise against watching the anime first. It isn't nearly as good.

... Last updated on August 12th, 2010, 7:43pm
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psychological shounen ai rules   
Rating: 9.5 / 10.0
by nephilim
December 20th, 2009, 11:38am
I've read this manga after watching anime, which left me really confused... I mean I have never read/seen something like this before, Loveless is "the one and the only" of its kind.
The art is really beautiful, it gives me an impression of tenderness and softness and creates a strange and captivating atmosphere of mystery, magic, tenderness and something prohibited, yet incredibly sweet. And I cannot help mentioning the colour palette in anime which is perfect at creating the same haunting atmosphere the manga does.

The plot has a lot of fetish allusions - chains, master-slave relationship etc, but in my opinion the balancing between "the permitted" and " the forbidden" is the very thing which makes the story so fascinating.

I also enjoyed the psychological aspect. Abusing parents beating their children, lost to thier convictions, hating and escaping the reality, loving one child more than another - horrible, and it happens all the time, unfortunately.

Closing oneself in private inner world, being kinda autistic, not having friends to share joy and sorrow with, the feeling of loosing, or better to say, having lost, oneself is what I have experienced, so I somewhat understand Ritsuka's trial. And as to Soubi.. how does it feel to be deprived of the will to choose? How does it feel to be doomed to obey someone without a chance to say no? How does it feel to be forced to love someone you don't even know?
We are always controlled by someone or something. we may not even notice it, and this exaggerated example makes us realize it.

This dark story has a lot more to muse about than it may seem at the beginning.

... Last updated on January 4th, 2010, 5:59am
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Loved it when I was younger, but...   
Rating: 6.0 / 10.0
by crazyboutcute
March 2nd, 2016, 11:21pm
Edit: Removed and rewritten to a higher standard of quality!

Loveless was my first shounen-ai anime and later manga, and what principally captured my interest in the series was the gloomy atmosphere, the tantalizing scent of a mystery needing solving, and, of course, the boys kissing. And on those levels, Loveless succeeds – it has a unique premise, and the story is woven with suspense and undertones of soft horror. Oh, and the boys kiss. A lot. Throw in a tragic yet very likeable and well-developed protagonist and unique, beautiful artwork, and you must come out with a masterpiece, right?

Weeeeell…

Let me start by praising what Loveless does right – because it does a lot right. First of all, Ritsuka. He’s a beautifully developed character and so engaging as a protagonist that half the time I think of this manga, I regret dropping it by virtue of him alone. Moody, tortured, but fiercely loveable, Ritsuka is a character you can’t help but root for, especially when he’s thrown into the sordid world Kouga’s created. His horrific home situation fosters his cool, dismissive attitude toward others, and yet it’s very clear that he’s hurting inside. He’s an angsty character who doesn’t wallow in angst despite having every right to, and it’s his unsteady perseverance in the face of trauma, I think, that hooks us and draws us to him. His is a struggle that is both relatable and endlessly sympathetic.

Another point in Loveless’s favor: Cat ears as a moe representation of one’s virginity? Brilliant! But why doesn’t the author do more with this? There’s so much potential for story and social commentary. With a premise like that, you’d think sexuality would be front and center of this series, but… it’s not. It’s there, certainly, but it isn’t nearly as prominent as I feel justifies the premise. In fact, you could take away the cat ears entirely, and the story wouldn’t be altered in any great way.

The artwork is also superb – lots of blacks and whites for dramatic effect, and it’s deliciously rich in detail. Kouga doesn’t always endear me with her artwork, but here, it really sets the tone of the story and works well with the murky narrative it’s conveying.

Now let’s talk about the not-so-good side of Loveless – the loveless side of it, if you will, and the reason I dropped it (aside from its endless hiatuses). I’m just going to say it outright – it’s the romance between Ritsuka and Soubi. Now, before you label me a prude and burn me at the stake, please at least hear me out. I have no issue with depictions of taboo relationships – incest, underage, what have you. In fact, I find them fascinating. And the relationship between Ritsuka and Soubi is fascinating. But for god’s sake, Kouga, stop trying to portray it like it’s some healthy kind of attraction!

Ritsuka is twelve. He may be a very mature twelve-year-old, but he’s still a twelve-year-old kid. Soubi is a twenty-year-old university student with a clear masochistic sexual preference, which he then forces onto said twelve-year-old. That, Ms. Kouga, is not how a healthy relationship starts. And Ritsuka doesn’t seem to think so, either. Early on in the series, he vehemently rejects Soubi’s advances. As time wears on, so does he, and he becomes increasingly more receptive toward them. This is an excellent portrayal of the erosive nature of Stockholm syndrome, and I love it. But again, that is not a healthy relationship. And yet in spite of all that, Kouga seems determined to show that Ritsuka and Soubi’s bond is a romantic, pure one. And I have a sinking feeling she’s going to make them “official couple” material by the end of the story.

It isn’t the nature of the relationship that bothers me – as I said before, I love it. I find it fascinating, psychological, and beautifully destructive. What I hate, and what prompted me to drop the series, was Kouga’s increasingly positive portrayal and normalization of the relationship. I’ll admit, I loved it when I was a teen. I didn’t care about the age gap, especially since I was so much closer to Ritsuka in age. Now that I’m closer to Soubi in age, though, I find the whole thing incredibly disturbing. And while it’s a wonderful thing to be disturbed by literature, it’s not so wonderful to have teenagers tripping over themselves to declare that this is true love, that child predation is romantic when it’s committed by a handsome guy, and that they, perhaps, should also strive for similar “romantic” encounters. Far be it from me to be a moral watchdog or someone who screams, “Think about the children!” at passing politicians, but Kouga’s sugarcoating strikes an off note to me even outside that context. If I were diving into this series now for the first time, I wouldn’t be expecting a fluffy shoujo boy-meets-girl (or in this case, boy-meets-boy) affair; I would expect a more mature look at the cruelty and obsession found in a relationship between a broken child and an even more damaged adult. And unfortunately, on that point, Kouga just doesn’t deliver. In fact, she actively subverts it, and that’s what I find difficult to enjoy.

All that considered, the series is far from god-awful, and I’d certainly recommend it for its other psychological assets. I might even pick it up again once (if) it finishes, just to see how everything washes out. For now, though, I’ll give it a 6/10 and leave it in its cozy spot on the “dropped” list.
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eehhh   
Rating: 7.0 / 10.0
by lifeincircuit
May 1st, 2011, 6:14pm
I watched the anime first and hated it(could they have left more loose strings?). I heard that the manga was much better, so I read everything which had been released and I continue to follow it. I don't hate it(or else I wouldn't continue to read it), but I don't quite understand the buzz either. The story is decent. The characters often feel like they are coming from a manga geared toward kids, but the subject matter does not align with that. The whole thing feels kind of shallow, grasping desperately for depth while simultaneously not making any effort at all. It's almost impressive.

I am not convinced this is shounen-ai at all. There are some relationships within it which are, perhaps, but I don't really know about Soubi and Ritsu. I really don't feel as though Ritsu has those feelings for Soubi. So, if that is what you're looking for, you may be disappointed. You can read it however you want though. Maybe if I were 15 years younger, I would read it differently.

Overall, though, I find it readable. For some reason I do want to know what happens next and how(if?) the various relationships within it develop.
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Deep, dark, and not for everyone   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by reader435
October 27th, 2011, 11:19pm
Like many of the others, I have watched the anime a while back and was left unsatisfied. I never thought about reading the manga further because I didn't think I would like it, but I was glad I picked up the manga. Obviously, don't be deceive by the 'cute' artwork and the young characters into thinking that this is something light and fluffy for the younger audience. The story is dark and deals with issues such as child abuse, torture, violence, and even rape. It also contains a lot of provocative elements (or hints of) such as incest and pedophile.

The two main characters, Ritsuka and Soubi are emotionally scars from abuse during their childhood. Their complex relationship is heavy with sexual tension, which might be disturbing to some due to Ritsuka being only 12. For someone as young as Ritsuka, he seems pretty mature and are often commented by other characters as liken to an 'old man'.

As a reviewer from Amazon said, this manga is like Hamlet by way of My Own Private Idaho, with a touch of Pokemon. It's a bit of an acquire taste but definitely not for the young, faint hearted, or close minded.
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'10' is the lonliest number...   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by rabid behemoth
July 4th, 2008, 1:58am
Reading this manga made me wish there was a higher rating than just 10 that we could give. Honestly, it's over 9000. And that wasn't just an excuse to make a dumb joke. I really mean it.
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Best manga I've read so far...   
Rating: N/A
by CrimsonShiori
July 10th, 2009, 8:58am
I've read a lot of manga and I mean a LOT, and I've never been so hooked to a single one like I am with Loveless.
It's a little upsetting to see people criticizing Ritsuka's character when there is so much to praise. His actions towards his mother's are very realistic and striking. Yes it may make you angry, but by him accepting his punishment only adds new conflicts and feelings to the story.
Like someone commented below he is only 12 meaning that him being naive is normal. The way he defends his mother is typical abused child behavior. Though he is naive and in denial that what his mother is doing is not his fault and wrong of her he is very mature for his age, and I like how it's mentioned in the manga.
Though it can be confusing in the end you will or should understand it...It just takes an open mind to take in the story's creative and unique type of style not commonly seen in other manga's.
I also love the character's wide range of personalities. It only makes the story more enjoyable.
Much better than the anime without a doubt. The anime is very good as well, but harder to comprehend. The manga gives more details and answers to questions that the anime leaves hanging.
Lastly the art is absolutely gorgeous. I actually tend to copy it when I draw my own characters! ^-^

... Last updated on July 10th, 2009, 9:03am
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One of my FAVORITES of all Times...   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by Myrah
July 1st, 2009, 3:38pm
...And I'm pretty hard to please. I find this manga delightfully complex and riveting. Gorgeous art, amazing characters, probably Yun Kouga's masterpiece if she actually finishes it.
I've heard a lot of people complaining about Ritsuka as a protagonist because he is naive or because he defends his mother's abuse. Okay. 1. HE'S TWELVE. Pretty mature for twelve, but still a kid that's getting used to how the world works. Of course he's going to be a little naive- it wouldn't be realistic if he wasn't. 2. As a child who's been abused, I found Ritsuka's reaction to his mother both realistic and relatable. Abused kids often defend their attackers because they don't really understand what is being done to them, or because they find it justified. And Ritsuka really loves his mom, of course he's going to defend her.
ANYWAYS, this manga is pretty dark, not for the kiddies. Regardless, one of my top threes.
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