B.O.D.Y. by Ao Mimori (amazon)
Ryoko has a crush on Ryunosuke, the bespectacled boy she sits next to in class. He’s very reserved at school, so she assumes that he’s the quiet and studious type due to the fact that he always seems to be hauling around tons of stuff in his book bag. Her friends are nonplussed by Ryoko’s crush, pointing out that he could be stashing porn in his bag and she doesn’t really know anything about him. One day after school she observes him standing around with a couple of sleezy looking guys. Suddenly, a woman jumps out of a car and starts kissing him, and tries to force him into her car. Ryunosuke protests, so Ryoko runs up and grabs his arm, towing him away until they are clear of his companions.
When Ryoko asks him to explain what was going on, Ryunosuke reveals that he makes money after school by working as a host. Ryoko is shocked that the studious boy of her dreams is working that type of job. Ryu gives Ryoko his business card and tells her that he’ll give her a discount. She replies with a fierce uppercut to his jaw, vowing revenge.
Back at school the next day, Ryoko is tempted to reveal Ryu’s deception to the other students. She doesn’t, because she still has a soft spot for Ryu when he wears glasses to school. He thanks her for not revealing his secret, saying that he’s forced to work as a host because his Dad left, the mortgage on his house is high, and he has to take care of his little sister. Ryoko is immediately sympathetic, and Ryu starts laughing because she’s so gullible. Thus begins a love-hate relationship, as Ryu finds Ryoko amusing and announces that he likes her. She says she would never date a guy like him, so Ryu vows to win her heart.
The character designs for B.O.D.Y. are cute, with all the characters looking like adorable shaggy-haired moppets. The storyline is fairly typical, and I have to admit that at this point I have read far too many manga where two characters become closer because one of them comes down with a fever. Ryoko goes to take care of Ryu when he gets sick, and learns that he has nothing in his apartment other than a TV, video game system, and a stack of books. B.O.D.Y. fits in well with the rest of the Shojo Beat imprint, but it isn’t as strong as other recent series like High School Debut or Monkey High. Still, I was amused by Ryu’s facility at lying and Ryoko’s propensity for physical violence, so I’ll probably check out the second volume of this series to see if the storyline becomes more interesting.
Review copy provided by Viz.