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Holly's manga review: 'Otomen'

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“Otomen” is a shojo series by Aya Kanno. Asuka Masamune seems to be an ordinary young man who is one of the best Kendo masters at his school. However, he does have a secret: he’s an otoman, a male who enjoys traditionally feminine things. His dad left him and his mother because of his desire to be a woman. As a result, his mother is determined to make him into the manliest of men. Luckily, he manages to not only land a cool tomboy girlfriend whose fine with who he is, but also male friends who interests range from flower arranging to creating shojo manga for a living. Can he be able to keep it a secret from his mother? And who is that mysterious pastry chef who helps him out?

This manga shows that Aya Kanno is adept at writing comedy as well as drama with great artwork to boot. While the label otoman is pretty useful for finding other guys who share ‘feminine’ interests, some readers may make a pretty good case that labeling traits as masculine or feminine may not be a good thing. After all, while Asuka may like traditionally ‘girly’ things, his personality comes across as the typical quiet stoic masculine man than a flamboyant emotional effeminate guy. He also doesn’t seem to have any problems playing Kendo, which could be seen as pretty masculine. Aya Kanno should have given Asuka’s mom a few more sympathetic moments or been given an understandable reason as to why she hates otomen so much, as she comes across as way too nasty at times. The resolution comes across as way too clichéd and convenient. Despite that, the story still holds up pretty well. The Beauty Samurai are a great tokusatsu parody. Honolulu shojo fans should give this interesting series a try.

More: Holly’s anime and manga perspective.

Buy “Otomen” at Amazon.com

“Otomen” is a shojo series by Aya Kanno. Asuka Masamune seems to be an ordinary young man who is one of the best Kendo masters at his school. However, he does have a secret: he’s an otoman, a male who enjoys traditionally feminine things. His dad left him and his mother because of his desire to be a woman. As a result, his mother is determined to make him into the manliest of men. Luckily, he manages to not only land a cool tomboy girlfriend whose fine with who he is, but also male friends who interests range from flower arranging to creating shojo manga for a living. Can he be able to keep it a secret from his mother? And who is that mysterious pastry chef who helps him out?

This manga shows that Aya Kanno is adept at writing comedy as well as drama with great artwork to boot. While the label otoman is pretty useful for finding other guys who share ‘feminine’ interests, some readers may make a pretty good case that labeling traits as masculine or feminine may not be a good thing. After all, while Asuka may like traditionally ‘girly’ things, his personality comes across as the typical quiet stoic masculine man than a flamboyant emotional effeminate guy. He also doesn’t seem to have any problems playing Kendo, which could be seen as pretty masculine. Aya Kanno should have given Asuka’s mom a few more sympathetic moments or been given an understandable reason as to why she hates otomen so much, as she comes across as way too nasty at times. The resolution comes across as way too clichéd and convenient. Despite that, the story still holds up pretty well. The Beauty Samurai are a great tokusatsu parody. Honolulu shojo fans should give this interesting series a try.

More: Holly’s anime and manga perspective.

Buy “Otomen” at Amazon.com

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