Otomen 5 by Aya Kanno: B

Otomen is the story of Asuka Masamune, a manly-seeming boy who harbors a secret love for “girly” pursuits like cooking and sewing. In this volume, his tomboyish girlfriend, Ryo, is picked to represent the second-year students in the school’s Ideal Woman competition, and draws on things she’s learned from Asuka in order to meet the challenge.

The third chapter focuses on Juta, who is secretly a shojo mangaka, and his attempt to protect the dreams of his fans who would be crushed to learn their favorite series is penned by an indolent playboy. The fourth sees the return of the Beauty Samurai, an awesome sentai duo (Asuka and fellow otomen and makeup expert, Tonomine) that beats up bad guys and gives makeovers!

As in previous installments, this volume offers episodic comedy with a decidedly silly bent. All of the stories within share the common theme of identity, too, whether it’s Ryo deciding that she really ought to know how to cook and sew (Asuka assures her she’s fine the way she is), Juta struggling to maintain his anonymity, or Asuka and Tonomine finding a covert outlet for their skills while living in fear of disappointing a parent. Kanno’s light touch ensures the feel remains light and fun, but it’s nice that there are deeper things one can read into it if one chooses.

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

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