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Review: Can’t Win With You! (Vol. 02)

Author: Satosumi Takaguchi
Manga-ka: Yukine Honami
Publisher: DMP/June
Rating: Young Adults (16+)
Released: January 2008

Synopsis: “When class president Sango Tsutsui and the other student administrators end up sequestered away at a director’s meeting, Yuuhi-kun is left back at the school, alone and defenseless. Will Yuuhi’s naive, country ways make him fair game for the Ezaki trio? Or will Tsutsui-san return in the nick of time to save him? Could it be that absence truly makes the heart grow fonder – are Yuuhi and Sango ready to take their strange relationship to (gasp!)… the next level?!”

The escapades and exploits of the Shuuki Academy continue in volume two of Can’t Win With You! Yuuhi continues to struggle against the law-ignoring Ezaki trio, who are bent are living how they see fit in the school despite what their new resident advisor has to say about it. Meanwhile Miki and Houjou seem to be struggling through one lover’s spat after another and it’s making things even harder to deal with around the already drama-drenched school!

Reviewing following volumes of any series is difficult when there isn’t much to dwell on past the new events of the plot (something best witnessed through reading it yourself after all). The wonderful combination of Satosumi Takaguchi’s writing and Yukine Honami’s expressive art returns in full force in volume two.

The spoiled trio of the Director’s sons seem to be taking it a little easier in this volume allowing the focus of the story to remain on the budding and growing relationships of the others. Yuuhi in particular seems to be opening up more so to the ideals of Shuuki Academy, with the kind-hearted Sango to blame, while Miki and Houjou finally meet in the middle and decide to go steady with one another, with more than one character flaw getting in the way of things running smoothly. Amusing antics play out in the backdrop as the Director continues his obvious advances on Yuuhi’s older brother with his methods getting more and more unique.

Without relying on anything past the charming character interactions, the story continues to feel fresh and honest. Each of the characters comes off the pages like a real fleshed out individual and it’s enough for readers to want to see how things for them work out, be it romantically, sexually or otherwise. Yuuhi remains as adorable as ever, his naivety and spunk leaving readers cheering him on as he proves to everyone that he’s tougher than he looks.

Volume two has less focus on sexual scenarios so there’s not as much negativity caused by unwilling participants as in the first volume. In fact, the growing relationship between Yuuhi and Sango remains pretty innocent which seems to be a purposeful contrast to other characters’ relationships, such as the passionate Miki and Houjou.

Yukine Honami’s artwork continues to express the cast with unique designs that manage to bundle all the attributes of the character’s personalities into neat little packages, from cute and energetic, to calm and aloof. It’s especially nice to see an art style that uses diverse features such as facial structure, eyes, hair and body type to really show the difference in each of them, while still having everyone look natural standing next to one another.

Simply said, those who liked what volume one of Can’t Win With You! had to offer won’t be disappointed with volume two. It’s cute, it’s funny and feels really unique in the flood of today’s yaoi market.

Written Feburary 3, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo for MangaJouhou
Book provided for review purposes by Digital Manga Publishing

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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