Otomen Volume 1 (Manga)

VIZ Media

Author: Aya Kanno

Release date: February 2009


208 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4215-2186-2

ICv2 Stars: 5 out of 5


Asuka is a star at judo, kendo, and karate, but deep inside he’s actually an otomen, a boy who loves girly things.  His love of crafts, cooking, and shojo comics becomes even more of a problem when he falls in love with Ryo, a girl who looks up to men who are very masculine.  Can true love overcome such differences?


In her author comments, Kanno admits that she’s not a very girly person, but her humor and compassionate writing makes this story much more than the usual comedy.  She offers readers an excellent way to explore a culture’s perceptions of gender, whether seen through the eyes of stoic Japan or meterosexual-friendly America.


All three characters—Asuka, Ryo, and Juta, the cupid with an agenda of his own—are well-rounded, and almost completely avoid being stereotypical.  Kanno’s art is attractive and nicely paced and she’s skilled at switching between romance, comedy, and action, sometimes all on one page.


The very feminine cover might turn off boy readers, even though the story has the potential to speak to them just as much as it speaks to girls, but this is still an excellent choice to add to library collections.


-- Snow Wildsmith