Book Review: Otomen (Volumes 1 & 2)

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I can honestly say Otomen was nothing like I was expecting.

I loved this. I wasn’t prepared for how much I loved this.

Asuka Masamune is your typical man’s man. He’s the captain and is highly ranked in judo and kendo, he carries himself with a beautiful stoicism and he seems effortlessly confident. But Asuka has a dark secret. One that, if exposed, would change everything for him.

Asuka is an Otoman.

Basically an otoman is a male who loves stereotypically girly things like sewing, knitting, cute stuffed animals and reading romance manga. Asuka has to hide his true self and what he really loves in order to play the part of the masculine jock in to please his mother. Ryo Miyakozuka is a new girl in school who Asuka quickly falls for, and she is completely inept at “girly” things. She can’t cook to save her life, or sew, but she does love confident, manly men. Asuka has to figure out what is more important, living how he dreams of, getting the girl he dreams of, or finding a way to balance the two.

In the second volume, Asuka and Ryo are officially friends, with the obvious sidelong glances at each other indiciating their desire for more, when OH NO, Asuka’s fucked up mother comes home with a fiance for Asuka. He is torn between bringing pride to his family and keeping up the charade so he doesn’t further damage his mother, and following his heart to be with Ryo.

It’s adorable. This is perfect if you need just something fluffy and light to keep you busy. It’s sweet and charming and Asuka is a very likable character. However my favorite character in the story is Juta, a co-classmate of Asuka and Ryo and SPOILER ALERT the writer of the manga that Asuka so deeply loves! Juta is the comic relief in this series, popping up when a scene needs some levity and making everything more fun. He also slowly learns how to be a good friend and we get to see him using Asuka and Ryo as inspiration for the manga. The second volume was a bit more disjoined than the first and a little harder to follow along, but it wasn’t bad enough that it dissuaded me from continuing the series.¬†Totally recommend this for something fun and light with just the right amount of romance.

Title: Otomen (Volumes 1 & 2)
Author: Aya Kanno
Format: Paperback
Pages: 208 // 192
ISBN: 9781421521862 // 9781421521879

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