Mania Grade: B
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: B
- Text/Translatin Rating: A+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Released By: Viz Media
- MSRP: 8.99
- Pages: 192
- ISBN: 978-1-4215-0016-4
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
Absolute Boyfriend (aka: Zettai Kareshi) Vol. #01
By Sakura Eries
February 08, 2006
Release Date: February 07, 2006
Absolute Boyfriend (aka: Zettai Kareshi) Vol.#01
© Viz Media
Translated by:Lillian Olsen
Adapted by:What They SayThe Review
Talk about provocative front cover! It features a freshly unwrapped naked Night with a card labeled "Present for You" between his lips (don't worry Mom, the wrapping paper and ribbon are strategically placed to ensure modesty!). The background is comprised of plain beige stripes (they kind of look like vertical blinds). Above his head is the pink logo for Absolute Boyfriend which includes a wing-like design that matches the shape of the "mood ring" that Night wears.
The back cover is mostly white with orange edging, the Shoujo Beat logo in red , and the Absolute Boyfriend logo in pink for flash. It includes the story summary in black text and also a mini character profile of Night. The miniprofile includes a silhouette of Night, and I personally think that a detailed picture of him would have worked better than a silhouette.
The manga includes embedded mangaka notes, cover art in black-and-white, and, surprisingly enough, a one-page miniprofile on Yuu Watase. The only other extra included does not really have to do with Absolute Boyfriend. It is an excerpt of Kamikaze Girls in novel format. Apparently Viz Media is releasing novelizations of various anime and manga titles.
This is one of the titles in the Shoujo Beat magazine. Though I do miss the larger scale drawings of the magazine-sized layout, the artwork does very nicely in the smaller paperback format. I just love Watase's character designs in this manga, especially the guys. Night is, in a word, gorgeous. Watase portrays him as sometimes naÔve, sometimes seductive, and it comes across very well in his expressions. She does an effective job of making Soshi look like the dweeb that Riiko thinks that he is with his glasses on, but when he takes them off, he looks really hot (but why a guy would just take off his glasses at work and leave them on at home and at school is beyond me). Riiko, who is portrayed as ordinary, is drawn as cute, but not particularly beautiful.
Backgrounds are well done, and because this is a shoujo, she does use a lot of sparkly light and flower screen tones for romantic scenes. There are some action scenes, as Night is quite athletic, and these are communicated very well. Watase makes good use of her panel spacing, and the story just flows.
Viz Media did a top-notch job with this title. They removed all the original Japanese sound effects and replaced them with English sound effects. The lettering styles and fonts they use are so well incorporated that one could easily believe that they are all part of the original. Print quality is clean, and lettering is easy to read.
There are no honorifics. Most Japanese cultural references are explained in footnotes, and only a few nonessential signs are left in Japanese and untranslated. It would be very easy for a girl who has no prior knowledge of Japanese culture to pick this up and read with no problem.
Riiko Izawa is a typical Japanese high school girl with a typical high school girl wish: she wants a boyfriend. Unfortunately, all of the boys that she ever liked have rejected her. One day, after being rejected by her latest crush, she finds a cell phone with a rather bizarre ring tone in the park. She returns it to its owner, an even more bizarre individual named Gaku Namikiri, and he insists upon rewarding her. When he finds out that all Riiko really wants is a boyfriend, he gives her access to a restricted web site of his company's latest product, "lover figures." Intrigued, she signs up for a free three-day trial, and the very next day her "Nightly Series 01" is delivered to her door.
Riiko wasn't sure what she was expecting, but it certainly wasn't a walking, talking, life-size, anatomically correct android that offers her sex as soon as he's turned on. Essentially, as a "Nightly Lover Series" figure, he is designed primarily for sex. Fortunately for her, his disposition is sweet and eager to please, and he is attuned to her emotional state through a "mood ring" that he wears on his left hand. As she is still stinging from her latest rejection, she decides to go through with the three-day trial and names him Night.
She is saved the embarrassment of having to explain Night to her parents as they are conveniently out of town on work assignments. However, that does not prevent her from getting into rather awkward situations with her new "boyfriend." Her first major mistake is not reading the fine print on the purchase agreement, and three days later she finds herself Night's owner and $1 million in debt because she did not return him at the end of the trial period.
After a disastrous attempt to earn money at a cosplay bar, Riiko strikes a deal with Gaku to work off her debt by helping his company acquire data about females so that they can fine tune their product. In order to do that, Gaku arranges for Night to go to Riiko's school so that he can be exposed to a larger population of girls. However, should anyone discover that Night is not human, the deal is off. To complicate matters, Riiko can't possibly have anyone knowing that she and Night are living together. On top of that, her next-door neighbor and longtime friend and classmate Soshi is becoming highly suspicious of Night. And if that wasn't enough, someone very close to Riiko is out to steal Riiko's hot new "boyfriend."Comments
If you want something shoujo, light, and funny, this might be a good title for you. The premise of the story is absolute silliness -- no "fate of the world" story line here. Watase presents yet another "ordinary high school girl in extraordinary circumstances" plot, except instead of transporting the heroine into another world, the otherworldly elements are delivered to her front door. Much of the humor derives from Riiko trying to react to the events that domino out of her original decision to order Night in the first place.
While Riiko is the main character, she really is rather ordinary, and it is the male characters that steal the show. Night is fascinating. He is completely knowledgeable about certain things (apparently he is programmed to be fluent in French and be an amazing cook) and absolutely clueless about other things (he doesn't really understand the value of money nor does he really understand that sex is only relegated to certain times and places). When he's not throwing off his clothes and trying to entice Riiko into bed (because that's what he's designed to do, after all), he's actually quite naÔve in an endearing sort of way. Gaku bounces in and out of the story like a kind of demented fairy godmother. Everything about him and his company is mysterious, and he knows a bit more about things than he probably should. Soshi is quite literally the boy next door. He's in that I-like-her-but-I-don't-know-how-to-show-it-so-I'll-just-make-fun-of-her-all-the-time dilemma. None of Riiko's previous interests have ever reciprocated her feelings so Soshi has never been pressured to reveal his. However, with the appearance of this rather formidable rival, Soshi's feelings are being forced to the surface, and the story strongly hints at the formation of a love triangle between Soshi, Night, and Riiko.
This title is rated "older teen," which is appropriate given the content of the story. While the language isn't particularly offensive (only one character says "h_ll" once, and that is it.), there's a lot of talk about sex and sexual innuendo. Not to mention, Night sheds his clothes faster than water off a duck's back (though, so far, no one is actually having any sex --whew!).