art by Taro Shinonome; story by Enterbrain, Inc.; adapted by Katherine Schilling
published by Tokyopop; $10.99 US
Contrary to what you may think, the girl on the cover is NOT the same girl as the one pictured on Book 1, even though they look alike.
Since this manga series is based on a dating sim game (that’s why the story is credited to a company; that’s the group that made the game), this volume explores what happens with a different girl from the first book’s Mao-chan. Kouichi meets the athletic (but very busty) Asuka when she hits him in the head with a soccer ball. He opens his eyes to find her, sweaty and dripping, leaning over him so he can look down her cleavage.
The girl exists to smile and pose directly at him, in the place of the (presumably male) reader. Everything is fraught with teasing; sharing a drink straw becomes an “indirect kiss” in Kouichi’s mind, while playing together is full of opportunities for unexpected physical contact. (Hee hee. His name is “cootchie”.) In the rest of its 180 or so pages, the book does get a little more romantic, as the two work together to help Asuka achieve her soccer-playing goals and go on a beach trip.
As in the first volume, most of the advances are made by the girl. Asuka has never had a boyfriend, so she asks Kouichi to be her “love coach”, which means pretending they’re dating until they actually are. It’s part of the fantasy, that this attractive girl will demonstrate interest without him having to put himself out or risk rejection. (The older Tokyopop series Boys Be worked the same way.) Yet she’s also shy and untouched, so no worries about her being more experienced than he is or making him feel naive or immature.
The first four art pages should tell you whether this one’s for you — they consist of a bikini shot, a two-page spread of the girl and guy in a tub together with him reaching between her legs, and her in schoolgirl costume leaning over and smiling directly at the reader. It’s all fantasy come-on. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)