Otomen Volume 6
Otomen is the anti-Star Trek. There, the rule was that only the even-numbered movies were good. With this series, I seem to enjoy the odd-numbered books more than the even. Which means that, yes, I was disappointed in this volume — but I have great hopes for the next one!
As the author, Aya Kanno, mentions in an early note to the readers, “the plot is all over the place, isn’t it?” Asuka is feeling uncomfortable with the demands placed on him as a Beauty Samurai, and there’s a mysterious photographer tracking him. This chapter feels like it’s going to become much more than it does, and there’s a bunch of jerking the reader around in setting up expectations that aren’t fulfilled.
The next chapter has girlish-looking Yamato, who is fixated on Asuka’s “manliness”, begging him to help him date the girl he’s crushing on. I’m not a fan of Yamato as a character, since he seems too much made for author convenience, so whether or not he gets a girl doesn’t matter much to me. And his gimmick, that he believes the most exaggerated stereotypes of what a man should be or what a girl’s looking for or how a date should go, is just dumb. We’re encouraged to laugh at him instead of with him, which I don’t care for. Yamato and Asuka wind up on a practice date, which should thrill those readers looking for starting points for yaoi-flavored fan fiction.
The author says, in another note, that she didn’t notice that she was making Yamato and his girlfriend look exactly alike. That’s pretty hard to believe, since it seems a rather large oversight. The girl gets her own focus in the following chapter, where she has to overcome her exaggerated hatred of flowers. See, at this point, I just wanted to get back to cute comedy about the core characters and their amusing attempts to overcome gender stereotypes. The plot points in this volume are just too far away from what I’m looking for in the series, as though the writer isn’t sure what to do next with her characters. I wanted a lot more Ryo, the tomboy Asuka loves, and she was barely in this book. (The publisher provided a review copy.)