Asuka Masamune is a badass. Really. He is a tough, cool, 2nd year high school guy who is also a master at kendo. He exudes an aura of manliness that is difficult to deny. Everyone at school admires him. But for Asuka, life is torture. You see, he can never show the *real* Asuka to the world. While he is phenomenal at kendo, and looks very cool, Asuka is living a lie. He actually prefers much more girly things: knitting, cooking, sewing, shoujo manga, plushies, cute things—he loves them all. When he was a child, this worried his mother very much, as Asuka's father abandoned the family after declaring he wanted to be a woman. The shock made his mother so ill that Asuka swore to become a more manly man.
Poor Asuka. Bound to this promise, he goes through his life acting macho and cool, when all the while he would much rather read the latest Hana to Mame comic at the book store and dream of a shoujo manga romance. When Asuka rescues a female classmate, Ryou Miyakozuka, from some bullies, he instantly falls in love with her, and his desire for cute things and sparkly shoujo romance is reawakened!
Volume 10: Glass no Otomen: Sen no Kamen wo Motsu Otomen
Volume 11: Love-Tic
“If loving flowers is sinful then it might be immorally beautiful to commit such a sin.”
What do men think about? That’s what most girls want to know and heck most guys too. Otomen, however, answers this question without a second thought: Guys think about girly things.
Asuka Masamune likes pretty, shiny things, the color pink, and even stuffed animals. Not to mention shoujo manga. Sounds normal enough right? Well, it’s not if you’re boy. At least not to Asuka, who’s suppose to maintain a “manly” image at all times and not shame his family with his fondness for girly objects. To him, walking around with a sowing kit and a stuffed bunny is not the ideal to keep his reputation intact. After his father left his mom to become a woman and completely devastating her, she made her only son promise her he would be the manliest of men.
The story is sweet and I have yet to see more character development from Asuka in accepting himself as who he is, but there are still more volumes to go. It just goes to show you some men struggle with their own stereotypes too. It’s not one of those stories you lose sleep with turning page after page because you NEED to know what happens next, but it’s still the one you read and remember it for it’s charm. It would have been more interesting to me, if instead of his girly inner persona he would have had to deal with questioning his sexuality as a whole. But I fear that would have given this manga a serious edge versus a cute fluffly one, which doesn’t seem to be the mangakas intentions. Underneath it all, Asuka is still a guy and his journey into winning the heart of the girl won’t be all cakes and rainbows which makes it all the more interesting
Which brings me to the characters themselves.
Asuka is a different sort of character who hides who he truly is in order to maintain the illusion of what people think he is, including his own mother. Being known for being the prince-like figure in his school because of his fighting abilities and his overall serious demeanor. He has his secret lifestyle under control until the day he saves a girl from being bullied and starts crushing on her. Everything is going more or less on the shoujo path until Juta, a classmate, who’s always been watching him confronts him about the girl and his secret.
Juta was a great addition to this manga where all characters seem to have a closet persona. In his case it’s that he’s the creator of Asuka’s favorite manga. He starts off with the role like his fairy godmother and even though sometimes his intentions aren’t clear, meaning for whose gain he does certain things, they still get done with his meddling (at first). He keeps the fact that he’s a shoujo mangaka a secret from everyone at school to maintain his promiscuous guy imagine, or maybe because of it…Overall, he does lot of things with unclear intentions but he’s definitely a complex and deeply layered character.
Ryo has her own secrets and just proves that not all girls are, well girly. Being raised only by her father, he wanted to make sure he raised a daughter who could take care of herself like a man would. Together this unlikely trio will in a weird way be each others anchors and comfort in finding their true self’s and hopefully find the courage to come out of their shells.
There many more characters some that jump in and add to the story but only for a short time, while Asuka and friends help them deal with their issues and hope they don’t discover his secret while they move on their way. Which feels like it’s the recurring theme with new characters. Drop in, cause confusion, things get settled by doing something involving cake batter , flowers, or pink (or all), and then everyone is happy. Other characters stick around and become more involved and turn out to be enjoyable side characters that make the manga more fun and unpredictable.
I would like to say that all the embroidery and cakes don’t feel repetitive after the first three volumes but that is not the case. It dies down a little and we get to see more sides to Asuka, his boyish charm and chivalry everyone seems to be in love with.
The art is pretty (yes, pretty), I could swear I can see pink everywhere even though it’s in black and white. I blame the way Asuka blushes and light’s up every time he seems something “cute.” There were no disproportions and the kendo and martial arts sections, though short, were nicely drawn. Asuka is the main change in the manga, when he’s being manly or his regular stoic self he looks his part but when he starts changing into his true self, the one that like to sow his aura completely changes, making him look more delicate. Very nicely done.
Otomen or not, the message is clear: Be yourself. Whether you think you’ll be accepted or whether people will ever really understand you. In order for you to become truly happy and succeed, you have to be yourself.
I felt that Otomen needed some more reviews, because it is such a unique manga to begin with. Definitely not a typical shojo manga.
Story : 7/10
The story isn't particularly heavy, at least, not so far it isn't. It's a simple concept that Asuka (the male lead) is a man that adores the cute and comfortable things in life. Such as sewing, knitting, cute things and reading his favorite shojo manga. Unfortunately, after his father left their family due to his hidden and strong desire to be a woman, his mother had barred any and all feminine things from her son. In absolute fear that he'd want to be a woman too. So Asuka has to live his life as an 'otomen' (a man that likes cute things, but is still a man), in secret, and show off that he a is a strong, brave, willful and most of all... MANLY.
It's an excellent concept, and it is played well. So far the chapter-by-chapter plots haven't been particularly dramatic or stressful, giving the manga and calm and sweet air most of the time. But when there are some more pressing moments (that aren't laced with bizarre comedy), then it has the capability to be interesting. There hasn't been a dramatic moment as of yet (well, deeply dramatic), so I will be curious how some real drama will be played. I am positive it'll be played well.
Art : 9/10
Her style is beautiful. It is clean, but well done. It doesn't seem to morph too much between the 3 volumes that I have read so far, and it is rather beautiful to look at. All of her manga seem to share this quality, excellent art that is easy to look at. Most particularly Asuka is drawn very well, and he fits the appearance of a sort of strong-male type character very accurately. But, in her skill, she manages to pull off his 'otomen' side excellently without him seeming childish or comical to look at. So when he moves to his true personality, it definitely is not jarring and doesn't take away from the manga.
Character : 8/10
Excellent characters. Particularly the two male leads. Asuka is brilliantly written, and she writes both sides to him perfectly. The strong male and the cute-loving Otomen. Something that is hard to do. Her mastery of art helps to bring the concept across without it being distracting.
The side characters are also interesting enough and a lot of them seem to be leading double lives, or have another aspect to them that isn't entirely obvious when you first meet them. Or, they seem to very strongly follow whatever aspect about them that has been laid out. (Such as a cute-loving 'princess' that we meet later on). While they are one-time characters so far, they aren't annoying and don't seem shallow. Which is good.
Enjoyment : 9/10
This manga is easy to enjoy. Good characters, interesting plot, awesome drawings. Good to just sit down and read. It isn't your typical manga, and things are done slightly differently to the norm. But that's what makes it original and awesome to read. I myself thoroughly enjoyed it.
Overall : 8/10
A good manga. Worth at least the try. Not for everyone, and not for people who are looking for a manga where they can predict everything, or what certain things to happen (such as what happens in a typical manga), but that's defiantly what brings it's charm.
Otomen is steadily becoming popular, and is available now in English, at least up to volume 5 in bookstores (or soon to be).
So you all decide if you think the manga is worth the read, and enjoy Otomen! read more
Remember reading the summary of it before reading the manga and really appealed to me,so I thought"why not give it a shot?".It was a good choice after all,though hard to find at first.I really like the idea of a handsome guy having what one would call "girly hobbies" and seen him attept to hide it.Don't think I've come across any of this so far(my personal opinion).I didn't give this a ten cause I'd love a little more comedy,it'd be a really nice addition and because you can see some things coming,but still it worths giving it a chance.
The art is very balanced,both looks like shoujo and at the same time you can mistaken it.I found the characters beautiful and well designed in fact.Nothing out of the "ordinary" but that's something to be expected by a shoujo manga.I won't hesitate to even admit that this is one of my favorites when it comes to art,just don't know,the characters(appearances)are just impressive.Will say this again,but so well designed.
I like their roles and I love the idea that the main character is more feminine and the heroine more muscular(in a good way,not muscles bursting out of muscles).I just mean that their roles have reversed a little.And then we have Tachibana,a mangaka who gets his ideas for his manga from those two.He is funny and not what you can find in any manga.But I'd like to see some character developement.
I enjoy reading the manga just like the first time I did.It's unusual and unique in its own way and some might find it weird,but that's what makes it more enjoyable.
It was a hard choice,I was really hesitant at first cause I don't rate manga/anime that high exepct of they're really rare and fun to read.So this basically means that according to me this is a rare finding,and pretty rare at first when it came out.I'd recommend this to any fan of romantic genre who is also open-minded and doesn't mind that this doesn't go the traditional way.
Inside every man resides a woman – this may sound weird but such is the case when it comes to Otomen.
It is a story revolving around a high school student, Asuka Masamune who leads a double life – the first being a charming, chivalrous and masculine president of the Kendo club and the second being his true self, that is, a boy that likes everything girlish and excels in everything (from cooking to sewing to baking) a woman does. Yet he is forced to hide his true self in an effort to meet society’s expectations of how real men should act like.
Nonetheless, that all changes when one day he saves a female classmate from bullies in school and fell in love with her at the first sight. Unfortunately (and fortunately), the girl is not all about hearts and flowers.
The story itself is commendable, with a gratifying degree of originality. So far, I have hardly come across another manga that explores the concept of boys being portrayed in a feminine way while at the same time still manages to retain that mannish nature. I like how the mangaka draws readers into this genre in a light hearted way without appearing to be trying too hard to please. Throughout the series, I could feel the pure joy and satisfaction the mangaka derived from drawing this manga.
When it comes to the male protagonist, Asuka Masamune, it is sort of a love-hate relationship with him i.e. I love him and hate him at the same time (although love makes up the majority in this case).
I love the fact that he stands out noticeably as the gentle, loving, meticulous and affable hero. His strong sense of masculinity, confidence and steadfast perseverance in standing up for his beliefs and protecting his love ones balances his overall image. As a female, it’s difficult not to like him and to a certain extent he reminds me of Kim Jaejoong of the TVXQ fame (i.e. k-pop shippers will know what I’m talking about here).
However at times, Asuka’s totally-too-good-to-be-true good-nature potentially irk readers off, especially in times when you wish he could have been ruder on his attitude and put himself before others. It’s like, this nice chap is forever so patient and affectionate and has never once exploded with anger. While such attributes are admirable and makes a perfect recipe for a manga hero, a pleasant chap like him is likely to be friend zoned by his female counterparts in real life.
The female protagonist however sort of lacked character and personality to bring out her tomboyish image (which is what she is portrayed to be). It felt like the mangaka tried not to put too much focus on the female e protagonist as the limelight of the series is supposed to be on the hero and exploring the realities and challenges young Otomen face in today’s society. (i.e. basically Otomen refers to men who have feminine interests and hobbies but are not necessarily gays).
The supporting characters are also rather likeable – you have Otomens of all sort – a boy who is passionate about make-up and cosmetics, another who is obsessed with flowers and a delusional shortie that is constantly coming up with ideas to change himself and attract girls. Overall, they provide a solid support for the main characters and comic relief to the series.
The art work is clean and crisp – the lines are neatly defined and greyish shadings are kept to the minimum so as to convey the bright positive image of the manga. The characters are nicely drawn and I love the mangaka’s portrayal of Asuka (the male protagonist)’s boyish charm and chivalry. I especially adore the contrast between how his face blushes and his eyes lit up warmly when he sees something cute / fluffy as opposed to the manly aura his eyes and posture exudes in the face of danger and adversities.
The little details – such as the decorations, bentos, pastries and cakes are deliciously illustrated that even in black and white, the desserts and food look yummy and you wished it would just popped out of the manga and turned into real food.
Although certain chapters may seem repetitive, the underlying message in Otomen is clear – be yourself because no one else can. Accept yourself for who you are and make the best out of your attributes such that they become your greatest assets and strengths.
If other shoujo titles are about wacky romance, laughter and tears, then Otomen is a notch sweeter – it’s about smiles and sweet moments.
If you are expecting hard core romance or intense drama, then Otomen is not for you. However, if you don’t mind a toffee-like taste of sweetness albeit slightly placid pace of story, Otomen definitely does you justice.
Overall, Otomen is a sweet, light hearted read that leaves readers with the feeling of a light spring breeze. It makes a good company if you want to spend a lazy quiet afternoon in the comfort of your room with tea and cookies. read more