Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Otomen, Volume 6 by Aya Kanno

Asuka Masamune is an Otomen, a guy who looks all cool and macho, but who really loves girly things, like shoujo manga, cooking and sewing.

A little while ago, Asuka and his rival, Hajime Tonomine, were asked to help out at a beauty convention that took place in a local park, and they became the Samurai of Love and Beauty- both of whom became famous to the point that the organizers of the convention have asked them to do a regular feature in the magazine that sponsored the convention in the first place.

Neither wants to show their faces, which is why they are "The Beauty Samurai", but asuka is wondering if this kind of fame is destroying his life. He's also not able to be true to himself- he isn't able to talk about the girl he loves because the Beauty Samurai are supposed to help every girl, not just be tied down to one of them.

He's also being followed by a strange man who looks like a womn, and who reminds Asuka of his father. But he's not sure why he is reminded of his father when he sees him. As it turns out, the "He" is actually a "her", and she's Asuka's aunt.

But now Asuka's friend Yamato Ariake has fallen in love with a girl in his class, and he wants Asuka's aid in dating her. But Yamato has some really bad ideas about what to do on a date and how to treat the woman he's with. Can Asuka get him to treat a girl like a real man- considerate and tender?

And when a mishap ends up befalling Yamato and the girl he loves, one of Juta Tachibana's sisters, can she make a connection with another Otomen, Kitora Kurokawa? Especially when she hates flowers because a bee came out of a bouqet of roses and stung her. Now, Kurokawa has to find a way to connect with a girl who hates the very things he loves, flowers. Can he do it?

Finally, Asuka wants to go to see the band House Dust after meeting their lead singer and finding out that they like the band Fra Fra. But Hanamusa, the singer, hates the songs he has to sing, and the disconnect between the songs he loves and the songs he sings make him sick. Asuka, who looks exactly like him, is asked to step onto the stage in his place, but when he forgets the words to a song and sings one of Fra Fra's songs instead, people cotton to the fact that he is an imposter. Can Asuka get out of it before he's lynched on the stage?

This book was interesting, but also a bit frustrating. Asuka constantly thinks of his dad when he meets a woman that looks like a man (and also like his dad) and can't figure out why? That made him the most clueless character in manga, or perhaps close to it, because the two guys from Clamp Campus Defenders Duklyon are top billing for that one for me.

So, the Beauty Samurai gig seems to be over, and the story is focussing more on the secondary characters rather than the main hero and heroine. It's as if the author has run out of things for Asuka and Ryo to do, and is padding out the page length by focussing on the other characters. Yes, I am used to it, but this stuff with Asuka is getting really far out there, and I found myself getting frustrated with the story.

This volume dropped in quality from good to only "Okay". I am hoping that this was merely a one-time lapse in quality, but if it continues, I will actually drop this series from my reading list. This volume is not recommended.

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