Kanno, Aya. Otomen Volume 2 (2009). 192 Pages. Viz (Shoujo Beat) $8.99
Asuka Masamune is a guy who loves girly things– sewing, knitting, making cute stuffed animals and reading shojo comics. But in a world where boys are expected to act manly, Asuka must hide his beloved hobbies and play the part of a masculine jock instead. Can Asuka ever show his true self to anyone, much less to Ryo Miyakozuka, the girl that he’s falling for?
Asuka’s mother shows up with a surprise announcement– it’s time for Asuka to meet his fiancée! What kind of girl does she have in mind for him? And how will Ryo respond to the match?
In This Volume
The first part of this volume deals with Asuka’s stalker; Yamoto Ariake, a young, cute boy who really wants to be manly. He sees Asuka as the pinnacle of manliness, and follows him to study his ways.
The second part of the volume is about Christmas. Winter time forces Ryo, Asuka, and Juta to find a new place to have their lunches. They find a wintertime lunch room, and a place to celebrate a small Christmas party.
The third part is about Asuka’s fiancée. Having decided that her business could use an alliance, Asuka’s mother has arranged an engagement for Asuka. Determined to make his mother happy, Asuka goes along with it.
Asuka, realizing that he has found some good friends, has relaxed a bit, and enjoys their acceptance. He has seemingly calmed down a lot, which makes this volume all the more difficult for him, because every 2/3 stories involve him hiding his true nature.
Asuka’s mother is manipulative, and distant. She seemingly doesn’t care about her son, so long as he remains manly enough for her, which is pressure he really didn’t need. Asuka’s fiancée is crazy, and her parents overly-indulgent, which is a classic shojo trope.
I do like this series, but I foresee it becoming one which drags out the romance, and throws in unnecessary complications before it eventually resolves itself. This volume gets a 4/5.