Writer/Artist: Ao Mimori
Translated by: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Adapted by: Joe Yamazaki
What They Say
You gave me my first stolen kiss,
But something clearly was amiss.
Seemed awful pissed...
The longer I longed to date you,
The more my feelings grew...
But at work you'd met dozens of girls -
So why would you want me too?
You promised to give up your job for me!
That together we would finally be!
But cruel fate (and your boss) wouldn't let you go...
So I did it for you - can't you see!?
When the first volume of B.O.D.Y. ended, I remember being vaguely hopeful about the second volume. It looked like these characters were at least heading towards having their feelings sorted out. And for the first two chapters, that’s exactly what the manga artist provides for us. Thanks to the Ryu-obsessed Ran and Ryoko’s former crush Inaba, both making their temporary returns from the first volume, the two main characters manage to make it through the first story arc and start dating. The main casualty of this development may be Ryoko’s character appeal, as her feelings waver back and forth too often for my tastes, but Inaba also suffers. Rather than developing a personality, he’s being pushed into and out of the story solely to advance the plot.
It’s at this point that the story begins to move past its ridiculously clichéd opening storyline towards a slightly more original one, but it’s still just as predictable as ever. When Ryunosuke discovers Ryoko with the man he doesn’t know is his boss at the end of the volume, I groaned and wondered who didn‘t see that coming. On the upside, Ryunosuke’s presence has been lessened a bit in the later chapters, and he comes out the better for it; in fact, he actually matures quite a bit when trying to make his relationship with Ryoko work. Ryoko’s naïve spunk is wearing thin, though, and often turns to downright stupidity. When she agrees to a challenge offered by new character Jin, she’s essentially risking her boyfriend’s future without having the decency to tell him.
The quality of the second volume doesn’t really drop--it’s still mediocre shoujo that might go nicely on your shelf if you’ve got some extra money. The characters, however, have either stopped being likable or were never that way in the first place. And with a predictable story and unremarkable art, endearing characters are necessary to shore up those other weaknesses.