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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 - causing his excitable and verbally-abusive mother to constantly berate him, demanding that he leave and return the 'real' Ritsuka to her. For the past two years, his older brother Seimei had been his devoted friend and protector - the only person who accepted Ritsuka's 'new' self. Recently, however, Seimei was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

Soon afterward, a man named Soubi appears before Ritsuka, claiming to be Seimei's 'friend'. He informs Ritsuka that his name is "Loveless", and that he is a 'sacrifice' - while Soubi is his 'fighter'. Since their first meeting, Ritsuka finds himself drawn into a bizarre secret world where teams of two; the 'fighter' and 'sacrifice', combat each other using mystical verbal spells.

As his involvement in this new life deepens, Ritsuka unearths many shocking and disturbing facts about himself, Seimei and Soubi; thus, he resolves to discover the truth behind his brother's murder and his own inexplicable 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.117 by Kamibana Scanlations (155d ago)
v.11 c.Special Booklet by Kamibana Scanlations (199d ago)
c.116 by Kamibana Scanlations (264d 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
6 topics, 37 posts
Click here to view the forum

User Rating
Average: 8.3 / 10.0 (639 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.23 / 10.0
10
 40% (256 votes)
9+
 20% (125 votes)
8+
 15% (95 votes)
7+
 9% (58 votes)
6+
 7% (46 votes)
5+
 2% (15 votes)
4+
 2% (13 votes)
3+
 0% (3 votes)
2+
 1% (7 votes)
1+
 3% (21 votes)

Last Updated
March 15th 2014, 1:43pm 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
TokyoPop (8 Volumes - Defunct)
Viz (Volumes 18 as Omnibus & Volumes 911 as Single - Ongoing)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #621 increased(+105)
Monthly Pos #849 decreased(-85)
3 Month Pos #810 decreased(-33)
6 Month Pos #786 decreased(-96)

List Stats
On 2047 reading lists
On 635 wish lists
On 191 unfinished lists
On 314 custom lists

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Forum Posts
reference in v04ch17 intro-picture 232 days, 8 hours, 19 minutes ago
Loveless 232 days, 9 hours, 51 minutes ago
Loveless chapter 875 days, 15 hours, 25 minutes ago
Names Discussion, Moonless theories? 958 days, 18 hours, 25 minutes ago
Is 'Loveless' on hiatus or not? 1301 days, 12 hours, 4 minutes ago

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One of a kind   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by witchy tay
October 1st, 2012, 7:18pm
Beware! This story is not your sweet, easy going story. It is dark. You´ve been warned! The story is deep and there is a lot of angst in it, but it is skillfully created and you might find yourself falling in love with it. The characters are really deep and entrancing. The illustrations are GREAT! I particularly love the ear thing ( It is SO cute!!!). The naïveté of the characters is really refreshing, as is their way of hoping for the best when everything suggest the worse.

The story has a lot of twists and turns and is not so easy to follow, but it is certainly worth your time!!!
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Loved it when I was younger, but...   
Rating: 6.0 / 10.0
by crazyboutcute
June 14th, 2012, 10:40pm
Loveless was my first shounen-ai anime and later manga, and what principally captured my interest in the series was the dark, harrowing narrative and, of course, the boys kissing! Loveless certainly has an interesting premise that is woven with suspenseful intrigue and a pressing undertone of soft horror. Throw in a tragic yet very likeable and well-developed protagonist and unique, beautiful art, and you assuredly must come out with a masterpiece, right? Unfortunately, looking back now after I have had much more experience with manga, I realize that Kouga's hit shounen-ai mystery isn't all that I once thought it was. Certainly it's profoundly psychological, as the genre and several reviewers point out; however, a lot of what the manga tries to convince me of just doesn't feel true. The series takes a good stab at being psychological, and there are occasions where it succeeds. However, more often than not, even back when I was first reading it, I found myself puzzling over Kouga's logic. I feel like she might have a good point to make, but she doesn't support her argument enough to really sell it. It isn't an unforgivable sin, of course, and it certainly doesn't detract too much from the casual reader's enjoyment of the manga. I just feel that, personally, I would like to explore this psychological aspect of the series more thoroughly.

Honestly, though, I have to admit that the main reason my opinion changed about this series is because of the romantic relationship between Ritsuka and Soubi. Yeah, I'm sure a lot of people are going to slap their foreheads at this and accuse me of being a prude, but please allow me to explain. Ritsuka is an incredibly mature child of twelve, and as such, he oftentimes appears much older than his age. Given his appearance and mannerisms, I could even see him as being fourteen or fifteen rather than twelve. HOWEVER, the fact remains that he is a child - a prepubescent child, at that. And Soubi, the "love interest" of the story, is twenty years old, a university student. Now, while I'm not a huge fan of it, I've read some shotacon, and I've been okay with it. This, however, can be mostly attributed to two reasons. One: In most of the shotacon that I've read, it's the kid who forces himself on the older character. While still undeniably disconcerting, it doesn't strike me as nearly as predatory as the reverse. Two: I can rarely take shotacon stories seriously and am admittedly only reading for the smut factor. (Hey, I'm only human!) Loveless is a series that, because of its subject matter, can ONLY be taken seriously. I want to actually enjoy this story because it grabs my attention and makes me think. Now, when I was younger, I thought the relationship between Soubi and Ritsuka was cute. Having grown more mature and more knowledgeable about how screwed up our world really is, however, the present me can't help but be disgusted by their relationship. First of all, it is Soubi, the older character, who forces himself on Ritsuka. Ritsuka, for his part, wants nothing to do with Soubi's sudden attachment to him. If I'm not mistaken, it's directly after Soubi tells Ritsuka that he won't do anything to him that he suddenly kisses him on the mouth. I'm no longer comfortable reading about such blatant acts of pedophilia that are meant to look "romantic." I can't stand stories that promote the idea that "rape is love" - and believe me, I've read plenty of them - and to me, this comes off as a PG-13 version of that same trope. Mature or not, Ritsuka is a child, and Soubi, whether you find him charming or endearing, is a child predator. Ritsuka gradually starts to become more accepting of Soubi's advances, but it doesn't feel like a blooming romance to me - it feels like a developing case of Stockholm Syndrome. If the reader only takes off her rose-colored glasses, she will be able to see that Soubi and Ritsuka's relationship is truly abusive. Soubi throws his masochism onto Ritsuka, forcing him to take up the role of a sadist. How is a twelve-year-old expected to understand the concept of masochism? Soubi then forces Ritsuka to pierce his ears with his own hands (a process that, once completed, causes the kid to break down in tears), begs to be punished on countless occasions, and acts in ways that adults never should in front of impressionable children like Ritsuka. Furthermore, he taunts Ritsuka with claims of possessing information pertaining to the alleged murder of the latter's elder brother but then refuses to reveal said information, constantly breaks his promises to him, and is always, always forcing himself on Ritsuka to the point where he stalks him and even breaks into his house. Now, don't get me wrong, all of this would make an excellent story if only the author didn't portray Soubi's unacceptable behavior in such a positive light. Certainly she can make him a sympathetic character - he is. But the way she tells the story suggests that she condones his actions by playing up that they are done in the name of love/obsession. That's what unsettles me, and that's what turned me off from the manga when I went to pick it up again after Tokyopop dropped it.

That being said, the manga is far from being God-awful. As I said before, Ritsuka is a beautifully developed character, definitely worthy of his protagonist status. Soubi, too, is an interesting character in his own respect. I can see why so many people enjoy this manga, but it's just not my cup of tea anymore. That said, if you're okay with the subject matter, I suggest you give it a go. I'll give it a 6 out of 10.
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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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About TokyoPop   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by kand
August 29th, 2011, 2:15pm
I love very much that manga I discovered first through the anime.
I started to read it in French but after two volumes I turned to the English edition, as the French one isn't well translated, and the pages are cut too narrow.
But! I read the publisher TokyoPop stopped its activity, which explains I guess why I'm still waiting for volume 9... Do anybody know if the English version will be going on with another publisher, or do I have to turn back to the French version to know what follows...? LOL
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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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Really quite fascinating.   
Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by odd.duck
October 5th, 2010, 1:45am
So far...
My favourite thing about the manga has to be the fighting style. It's just so very, very interesting, the way attacking and defending relies on words, belief in those words, and the ability to twist them. It's fantastic.
The other thing I like is the relationship between Ritsuka and Soubi. It's quite different from the type of relationships that I normally like, but it's just as interesting. Usually, I go for the relationships in which the characters are working both with and against each other, and both being (for lack of a better way of putting it) in control. And I don't mean 'of each other', but of the situation in general; pairings I usually like are ones between the people (plural) who are calling the shots. Soubi and Ritsuka, while they're still (kind of) working with and against each other, are decidedly not in control of the situation and are really quite clueless. It's almost bizarre how different this makes everything.
Other than that...
The art gets a thumbs up from me, but I'm not sure how long the plot will be able to hold my attention for. It's looking pretty bland. (...um, I'm kind of harsh on plot. I think people disagree with me on that.)
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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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Be prepared...this comment is long!   
Rating: 8.8 / 10.0
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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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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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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