Manga Village

Otomen Volume 4

February 10, 2010

With Ryo’s birthday around the corner, Asuka’s all aflutter making preparations for the festivities.  Even the best-laid plans tend to go awry, however…especially when Ryo already has plans with another man!

By Aya Kanno
Publisher: Viz Media – Shojo Beat
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Price: $9.99

There’s not much movement with Asuka and Ryo’s relationship in this volume, but I’m okay with that.  I am still happily entertained watching Asuka and his growing circle of fellow Otomen, doing what they do best; being girly.

It’s more of the same as Asuka and Ryo try to spend time together, but they turn out to be rarely alone.  Asuka wants to do something nice for Ryo’s birthday, but ends up spending all the time showing Ryo’s father, a true manly man, what girl’s like.  It’s a harrowing experience for Ryo’s father, which makes the scenes all the more funny.  A beautiful garden that Asuka stumbles on and tries to share with Ryo turns out to have an owner, and a trip to the beach becomes a competition to see who can attract more customers.

There’s no change in Ryo’s and Asuka’s relationship.  They never have any time alone together for their relationship to grow.  It’s like they’re running on neutral, waiting and raring to go, but are constantly interrupted from actually getting into gear.  But, I’m getting the feeling this title isn’t about Ryo’s and Asuka’s relationship so much as it’s about Asuka finding more otomen all around him when he thought he was alone.  When you look at the title that way, the growing cast of otomen makes sense.

A new character is added to Asuka’s growing entourage of otomen.  Kitora Kurokaw is the big, silent type, who also loves flowers.  He tends a secret garden on the school grounds that was once used by the gardening club.  His dream is to one day own a flower shop.  Like Asuka, he has kept his desires hidden, but he and Asuka become friends when Asuka learns of the fellow otomen at his school.  Kurokawa also has a quirky trait.  He liked to adorn beautiful things with flowers, and that includes people, female or male.  This made for some humorous scenes.

Tomomine returns in this volume.  I really like him and the rivalry he has with Asuka, which in reality only exists in his head.  Asuka would rather be friends with the make up otomen.  Tomomine instead continues to try to compete with Asuka, in both manly pursuits and otomen.  It makes the beach chapters both funny and exciting.

Once again Otomen delivers another fun volume.  The humor and discovery of another new otomen keeps the story fresh without having to concentrate on Ryo and Asuka’s relationship.  Asuka’s jealous moments over Kurokawa covering Ryo with flowers is cute, but seeing him beam every time a new otomen is revealed is priceless.

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About the author

Lori Henderson is managing editor for Manga Village. She also has a personal manga blog at Manga Xanadu and a personal blog at Fangirl Xanadu. She also contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog. As the mother of two teen daughters, she needs all the escape she can get, which reading and writing about manga gives her.

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