Manga-ka: Yuu Watase
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: February 2006
Synopsis: “Rejected way too many times by guys, shy Riiko Izawa goes online and signs up for a free trial of a mysterious Night Lover “figure.” The very next day, a cute naked guy is delivered to her door, and he wants to be her boyfriend! Has Riiko died and gone to heaven? The cute guy turns out to be sweet, smart, a great cook, and lots more. And he looks like a million bucks, which is what he’s going to cost Riiko if she doesn’t return him in time…”
Continuing on with android week, I’m looking back at a book that comes from the same mind and talent who gave readers, Fushigi Yuugi and Ayashi no Ceres: Absolute Boyfriend! It’s a more light hearted and fun manga about a girl who gets everything she wants and has no idea what to do with it. Having no luck with boys, Riiko fills in an online application form for the perfect lover, not taking it seriously of course. Then one day a package appears for her containing Night, an android who’s more than ready to be her ideal boyfriend… much to her dismay.
I really loved reading through this first volume. It’s a cute story that’s full of laughs. It’s hard not to feel for Riiko and it’s interesting dilemma when she’s faced with Night and how to treat an android. A fan of Yuu Watase’s other works, I enjoyed the more mature rated humour presented here and Riiko actually felt slightly different from the usual Yuu Watase lead heroine mold.
Night is certainly one of the most enjoyable part of the series. Being a robot, he has little shame so nothing is too far or too much for him to please his girlfriend. From the moment he was awoken with a kiss from Riiko, he’s been 100% dedicated to being the perfect lover. It’s refreshing having a character that’s hopelessly ‘in love’, loyal and over-the-top attentive to someone while having the excuse of being a robot. It takes away from the often disappointing ‘boy-falls-in-love-loses-personality’ that I find is an all too often cliché of other shoujo stories. Night came out of the box infatuated and ready to go. He’s such a charmer, it’s hard not to swoon a bit while reading!
The artwork is really attractive and Yuu Watase’s years of experience are evident. The style is solid and the panel pacing is nicely chosen. The males are attractive without looking like women and the characters are all really expressive, helping to make it all the more fun.
No qualms with Viz’s work here, I find they treat their shoujos well and this is no exception. The exchange of sound effects with their translation was done really nice and everything was edited really cleanly. Actually, I was impressed with how much I enjoyed the way they handled things here so nothing negative to report on the publisher front from me.
Overall, Absolute Boyfriend is an energy-charged good time. It’s sweet, it’s funny and has enough drama to keep readers guessing which way things could go for these internet-crossed lovers. It’s a strong first volume and I recommend it to shoujo fans looking for something fun and quirky.