SP Baby Volume 1
I thought the short, silly SP Baby would be a fun read. After all, I liked the similar Flower in a Storm, which also combined romance with comedy violence. But SP Baby never came together for me.
I should have paid attention to the creator. Maki Enjoji was also responsible for Happy Marriage?!, a silly, smutty shojo with sex about an arranged marriage with a dippy lead girl.
That approach to characterization continues here. Tamaki needs to find a full-time job, although she has no particular skills, except the ability to kick people in the face, which she does frequently and seemingly without thinking. She wants to be more responsible because she’s taking care of a younger brother and has a crush on her neighbor and childhood friend. But her tendency to react without thinking has been a hindrance… until now, when she’s hired as a bodyguard by the prime minister’s nephew. This sounds funny, but as portrayed, it’s more sad.
I can see where some readers might enjoy the concept of a normal girl, nothing special about her, getting swept away by a powerful, rich man who gets what he wants, and he wants her. It doesn’t have the frothy fun of that kind of Harlequin, though. Instead, my most common reaction was head-scratching at what exactly I was supposed to be looking at (particularly during the kicking scenes) or why anyone would behave this way.
Of course, there’s the hint of a secret past, where the politician knows her but she doesn’t remember him. He keeps kissing her without permission, a plot point that doesn’t read well in today’s environment, and he puts her in an impractical short skirt suit so he can see her legs. He does seem to be in actual danger at times, which makes picking an inexperienced young woman to protect him even more foolhardy, although it does force them into close contact, which is the point. I’ve read better series that don’t work so hard for that kind of teasing, though. Most of the situations and events here feel labored, with the author working too hard to get to the point.
Leg fetishists might enjoy this premise, but for everyone else, it’s forgettable. The second and final volume is due out in February. (The publisher provided a review copy.)