Kanno, Aya. Otomen Volume 1 (2009) 208 Pages. Viz (Shojo Beat). $8.99
I love Shojo Manga, and I especially love it when it features pretty artwork. This is definitely a fluffy-happy manga with a fluffy-happy story (mostly). As with every shojo manga, there’s got to be a lot of angst before we get to the happy ending, but this one is exceptionally cute.
Asuka Masamune is the manliest man you’ll ever meet. He’s the best at Kendo, Judo, and Karate, he excels at everything academic or physical, and he despises sweets. (Or so he says). He’s strong, smart, and handsome; every boy wants to be him every girl wants to date him. So it’s really unfortunate that this is all a facade and he’s been hiding his true self since he was a child.
When he finds himself crushing on the adorable-but-not-at-all-feminine Ryo Miyakozuka, the manly-Asuka dissolves. His girly side comes out whenever he thinks about her, and before he knows it, he’s created all sorts of cute things. Ryo may be oblivious to Asuka’s feelings, but the school flirt Juta Tachibana certainly is not. He may have declared himself to be Asuka’s love-rival, but he seems like more of an instigator. Before Asuka knows what he’s doing, he’s committed himself to making bento lunch for himself, Ryo, and Juta. Through this cooking his inner feminine side comes out, and he finds himself becoming more girly every day.
As Asuka learns over the course of the volume, loving cute, sweet, girly things doesn’t make him weak, or unable to be a man. He learns (slowly) to accept himself, as he also comes to the realization that Ryo is very, very dense, and is oblivious to the fact that he’s super into her.
Of course, every volume has to have its story arcs. We’ve got Asuka trying to impress Ryo’s dad, Asuka writing Juta off as a player, and Asuka trying to take Ryo out on a date. It’s cute, and I really enjoyed it.
The Quick Version:
If you like fluffy manga, and happy romance stories, this is totally the book for you. It gets a 4/5, because it was very good.