Wednesday, May 21, 2008

B.O.D.Y., vol. 1

Story and Art by Ao Mimori
Released in the US by Viz Shoko Manga

Slugline: A story about host clubs that manages not to show one

Ryoko feels attracted to Ryonosuke, but despite Ryonosuke's quiet and unassuming manner, he reveals that he works at a host club. This revelation does not endear Ryoko to him, especially since he is willing to use his greater experience with, well everything, to trick her. And after pulling her leg a few times, she is completely unwilling to trust him, especially since his hard luck stories that make her sympathize with him turn out not be true.

Ryoko is not especially clever and has the over-enthusiastic gene that a lot of manga characters suffer from, but neither is she an idiot. She struggles between trusting Ryonosuke and having his too clever by half comments making her question everything she learns about him. The back and forth in Ryoko’s mind feels real as she tries to balance her suspicion and her vulnerability. Ryonosuke is a more of a cipher, but I am impressed that even though we quickly learn he works at a host club, at the end of the first volume we have managed to avoid going to it. Considering once you bring that up, the temptation to set some scenes there must be overwhelming. The story avoids the common paths and the expected scenes which helps sets it apart. Ryonusuke’s attraction to Ryoko is not clearly explained at first, though it is hinted that it starts mostly out as a challenge. It is nice to see that people admitting to having motives other than romance or sex.

B.O.D.Y., vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.


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