How to Capture a Martini by Makoto Tateno: B+

As a first year in high school, Naoyuki Hibino experienced his first love, first kiss, and first sexual experience with an upperclassman named Shinobu Okada. When Shinobu abruptly disappeared after his graduation, Naoyuki was crushed but did his best to forget him. Four years have passed since that time, but when Naoyuki happens to run into Okada, who’s working as a bartender, all of his old feelings return with a vengeance.

Shinobu doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore, whether it’s his body—he’s willing to “do” just about anyone—or his career, even though his boss and more experienced coworker encourage him frequently to expand his cocktail-making horizons. Earnest Naoyuki can’t accept this attitude, and keeps pouring his concern and love onto Shinobu until the latter finally admits his reasons for keeping his distance.

While this kind of story and couple isn’t exactly groundbreaking—there are shades of Future Lovers in the humor and characterization—it makes for an engaging romance nonetheless. Naoyuki and Shinobu are both likably flawed, and the cast of supporting characters helps move the story along, though I could’ve done without Shinobu’s boss and his incestuous relationship with his teenage brother.

In the end, How to Capture a Martini is a lot of fun and pretty darn adorable. I’m looking forward to the sequel, How to Control a Sidecar, which is due later this spring.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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  1. […] reviewed this sequel/spinoff to How to Capture a Martini for this week’s Manga Minis column. It features a side character from the earlier work as he […]

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