Title: Love Me For Who I Am 2
Author/Artist: Kata Konayama
Genre: LGBTQ / Romance
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Non-Binary Maid Reporting for Duty!
The more Tetsu gets to know Mogumo, the more he finds himself falling for his non-binary classmate! On top of that, he’s also dealing with the aftermath of an intense encounter with Kotone. Meanwhile, Café Question’s summer campaign prep is in full swing. Can Tetsu begin to sort out his feelings while Mogumo and the rest get to work designing their supercute summer uniforms?
If you read my review for volume 1 of this series, you’ll know that I thought it had a lot of potential to be a sweet look at gender identity, but that it needed time to grow into itself. Well, I’m happy to say, some of that growth actually took place in volume 2.
First, let’s look at our leading male, Tetsu. I was a little confused by him in volume 1 because he seemed to want to be an ally but was still calling his trans sister his ‘big brother’. Here, we see him realise what he’s been doing and start referring to Sacchan as his big sister. While he doesn’t apologise for misgendering her, this is a really sweet scene. In particular, you could see how happy Sacchan was about it.
Tetsu also has to work through his own emotions relating to his attraction to Mogumo. The question arises of if Mogumo is biologically male but doesn’t identify as such, does that make him gay? In the end, he comes to the right conclusion: it doesn’t really matter. What matters more is that he likes them. We get some of other nice little moments from him too, seeing him annoyed by the mocking tone of a TV show portraying MM attraction, and also realising that being LGBTQ is entirely normal.
This, of course, all leads up to Tetsu and Mogumo confessing their feelings for each other. In a comical game of one-upping each other. It was a good way to get into it, even if the scene cam far sooner in the series than I expected.
Speaking of Mogumo, they went through a bit more of an emotional run this time. Not only did they have the confession to work through, but they had some trouble with their friend Kotone. This conflict was due to a love triangle that Mogumo was unknowingly a part of. Mogumo came across well throughout here, I thought, and I really enjoyed them realising they could just wear what they wanted. Oh, and their mother viewing them acting effeminate as ‘a phase she hoped they’d grow out of’ was heart-breaking.
Kotone though was a bit of a mixed bag. There were some touches in her backstory that will be true to life for many. For example, when reading fairy tales as a kid, she was frustrated that the princess always ended up with a prince rather than another girl. Where I had an issue was that it led her to grow into a teen that hates men. In my opinion, the man-hating-lesbian stereotype is a damaging one, so it was an unwelcome inclusion here. That she clearly didn’t entirely understand Mogumo’s identity didn’t help her case. I will say though that the slight hint of an attraction to Mei was nice.
The other café members had little moments to shine this time around. From Suzu’s relationship advice to Ten-Chan’s design work, and all the way to Mei buying her first bra, it all came in bite-size snippets. That worked well though, and let the focus mostly fall on the love story.
The downside here is that, despite all the decent scenes with them, Mogumo still doesn’t really feel like the main character to me. They’re central to the plot, but more as a way to push the other characters forward. The cast is likeable, and Mogumo’s character is handled well, so it’s not a massive issue in terms of enjoyment, but it does seem a shame when they’re listed as the main star.
Overall, I thought this was an improvement on volume 1. It still isn’t perfect, both due to Mogumo not feeling like a true lead, and parts of Kotone’s arc so far. That all being said, this volume did a lot right. Tetsu came across far better, and the book did a great job of normalising the LGBTQ community. I give this one an improved 4 out 5.