"Shojo Beat is a shojo (girls) manga magazine formerly published in North America by Viz Media. Released in June 2005 as a sister magazine to Shonen Jump, it featured serialized chapters from six manga series, as well as articles on Japanese culture, manga, anime, fashion and beauty. After its initial launch, Shojo Beat underwent two redesigns, becoming the first English anthology to use the cyan and magenta ink tones common to Japanese manga anthologies. Viz launched related "Shojo Beat" imprints in its manga, Japanese light novel, and anime divisions to coordinate with the magazine's contents."
Yuu Watese is a female manga artist born in Japan in 1970 well known for the popular series Fushigi Yugi and Alice 19th; she is one of the most popular girl's manga artists around today.
After being crushed by yet another rejection Riiko Izawa confides in a weird cosplaying handsome young man who can promise her an absolute boyfriend in return for her recovering his mobile phone. Much to her shock days later a fully naked unconscious young man falls out of a crate delivered to her home with an instruction booklet. It's just lucky her parents are on a long holiday as once this sleeping beauty awakes he has nothing but love making on his mind.
Riiko Izawa-A 16 year old high school girl who is obsessed with increasing the size of her bust and obtaining a boyfriend. After being rejected by boys her own age in school numerous times she takes a chance on a mail order boyfriend through details obtained from a mysterious young man who she returns a lost phone too. Little does she know that this mail order boyfriend is really a prototype sex toy for bored housewives and can cost almost 1 million dollars which needs to be paid up in instalments otherwise an immediate return may result, unlike chobits this hunk is a pricey find.
Night Tenjo- Age 0. After being activated al he wishes to do is to protect and love Riiko as he has been programmed today but he soon goes above and beyond this duty as he has super human strength and is an awesome cook to boot. He is also tall blond and handsome, what more could you want in a man?
Soshi Asamoto-Age 16 Riiko's childhood friend for years, he is her next door neighbour and also pretty darn handsome, tall, dark hair, glasses and even has a job while able to maintain good grades in school. It is very apparent from the first volume that he has secret feelings about Riiko which she is totally oblivious to.
Ishizeki-Age 16 and living with Soshi , he was the last boy to reject Riiko before she received Night. I have to say although he is handsome he is also an arrogant jerk who strings girls along and talks about them behind their back so Riiko probably had a lucky escape.
Kronos Heaven sales man- A weird, mysterious, seemingly cosplaying, dark and handsome young man responsible for distributing Night and similar items, he disappears as soon as he arrives.
Act1: The Lover Shop-Riiko gets rejected for the last time, finds a phone owned by a Kronos sales man and purchases a mail order boyfriend with all the features.
Act2: Three-Day Boyfriend- Riiko has the naked unconscious Night fall on top of her as she opens the package from Kronos. Riiko tries to hide him from the neighbours and get on with daily life when she comes cross Ishizeki whom insults her in front of a group of his friends. Somehow Night feels what Riiko feels even when miles away and punches Ishizeki's lights out and takes Riiko home. It seems Rikko is becoming the object of many a man's attention however as after hearing what has happened Soshi also gives Ishizeki a wallop.
Act3: The purchase-Riiko and Night have a full day together and she realises she will miss him when her free 3 day trial expires. She is half considering keeping him when the Kronos sales man returns to inform her that he will cost 1 million dollars.
Act4: The Milion-Dollar Man- Riiko must pay 300 dollars to the Kronos Company within one week otherwise Night will be taken away. Riiko and Night get involved in a seedy underground cosplay strippers club.
Act5: Dinner- Soshi gets up the courage to invite Riiko round for a dinner date and it makes us think did Rikko order a mail order boyfriend too hastily as her heart starts beating quickly and feelings seem to be mutual.
Act6: Let's Go To School!-Kronos end up taking pity on Rikko and instead of paying for him she must teach Night how to become human and show emotion to improve the range for other customers. This involves Night going to school with her and much jealousy and suspicion by other class members ensuing. So we have to ask where her parents are when all this is happening.
The storyline is a little like Chobits by Clamp except with a little gender reversal and it does have aspects of art and character development like Yuu Watase's previous work though more modern ideas such as internet purchasing and mobile phones.
The first Volume has an artists profile, manga advertisments and a preview of a full length novel called Kamikaze Girls which isn't bad considering the manga is only £5.99 at retail value.
Ah, first love. Most people can identify with feelings of angst over easing one's loneliness by searching for that special someone. It is even more bittersweet when you lack experience, and not quite sure how one goes about getting a "someone". For 16 year old Riiko Izawa, her love troubles seem insurmountable. She is shy, a bit flat chested, and doesn't really know how to approach a boy as evidenced by the sad fact that every single guy she has asked out has flatly rejected her! One day while out and about, she chances upon a lost mobile phone, and going through its menu, manages to locate its owner. Agreeing to meet up in order to
return the phone, she is rather shocked to discover that the phone belongs to a very oddly dressed young man with a rather eccentric yet very businesslike manner. The young man's name is Gaku Namikiri and he informs her that he would be in soooooo much trouble if he lost this phone, for he requires it for his work for a firm called Kronos Heaven. Drawing Riiko out, he discovers she wishes she had a boyfriend, and tells her that yes, yes, he knows just the thing: simply visit his company's website! Riiko feels rather doubtful, but as her evening wears on, she grows increasingly bored and decides to look at Kronos Heaven's website. Ohhh, it looks fun! A game where you design your ideal boyfriend...
The next morning however gives her the shock of her life. For a deliveryman arrives, with a rather large box. And inside, is the boyfriend! It seems that Kronos Heaven makes extremely human seeming androids, and this is the lover model. Even worse, he comes without accessories; he is completely naked. What to do? Awaken him of course, name him, and get him dressed, right? He's a free boyfriend right? Maybe she can practice talking to him and find out how to get along with boys and manage to catch herself a real boyfriend, right? Not quite, as it turns out. As first of all, it turns out he was free only for 72 hours, and after that a nice big fat bill for 100,000,000 yen arrives (roughly 675, 227 GBP). It's either pay up immediately for the doll she has named Night, or become a product tester and let her first steps into romance be laid bare. What is a girl to do?
Volume one of a six volume series, this is a gentle sweet coming of age tale by Yuu Watase. Famous for writing sweet shojo manga featuring bishounen (manga aimed at females with classically beautifully young men featured), this does not disappoint. It is more than mere eye candy however, as the story possesses a nicely developed plot that keeps ones interest firmly held. Having said that, the art is indeed pure eye candy. The girls are unfailingly cute, the young men stunningly beautiful, and the backgrounds well detailed only as needed but always well drawn. The characterisation is well rounded enough that one warms to them, with Riiku seeming almost familiar; I think most of us went to high school with at least one girl like Riiku. Shy and more than a bit naïve, she is honest and straightforward as well as hardworking. You really want her to get a boyfriend, and Night, well, who can't like him? He might be an android, but he has a gentle manner about him that seems as if it might go beyond mere programming; I found myself wanting him to truly BE her boyfriend as odd as that may sound. And who knows, that nice mannered and rather cute young manager from work that lives nearby would be a rather nice catch too. A man who cooks for you? I think most women dream about this sort of guy, and it is almost a shame that Soshi Asamoto doesn't get more notice from Riiku. It all seems to set up a future triangle, making me look forward to seeing how this story unfolds in the succeeding volumes.
The writing and art are aimed at the post 16 crowd, with very mild nudity and scenes that are mildly sexual in nature. It's practically by the book chick lit with pictures and a wryly humorous storyline. At just over 200 pages, it makes for a nice little book to dip into when you don't want anything heavy, but you may find yourself returning to read it again as there is just that little something about it. What ever it is, if you are a fan of the genre, I can recommend this.
Author and artist :Yuu Watase
Born and raised in Osaka.
Hobbies: Listening to music, reading. Lkes most music besides enka (traditional Japanese ballads) and heavy metal. Lately into health and wellness. Like massage, mineral waters and wheat grass juice, but her job is her biggest "hobby"!
Debut title: Pajama de Ojama (An intrusion in Pajamas, Shojo comics 1989 No.3)(Taken from Absolute Boyfriend vol1)
On the front cover there is a pink shojo beat manga emblem in the top left corner ,so you can automatically assure that this is a girls comic book and it is probably rated older teen or 16+ but it is not from the BLU adult range for girls so you won't see anything really detailed or over explicit.
Absolute Boyfriend is written in big bold, pink chunky letters across the top of the front cover also indicating it's a title for girls. Below that is the most obvious indication that it is a girls manga (Japanese comic book),there is a rather hot illustrated young man with spiky blond hair wearing nothing but some floating tissue paper and ribbons sitting at the bottom of the front cover! (So I can understand a little why dooyoo took down the picture for this.)
In his mouth he is flirtatiously holding a card which reads "present for you", so if this doesn't get your attention I don't know what will!
This is a little like chobits so for those of you who are versed in its chapters you will have an idea of where this story is going.. Riiko Izawa is your typical high school girl who yearns to be prettier and to have a bigger bust but most of all she would love to have a boyfriend. In the first volume she plucks up the courage to ask out a guy from school (who is also her next door neighbour), however she is pretty much turned down point blank. After this dismal defeat she takes a stroll through her local park to clear her head, during her travels she comes across an abandoned phone and tracks down the owner.
This guy is dressed very strangely indeed but Riika assumes he is a cosplayer (in Japanese culture some people like to dress up as their favourite anime or video game character in public and for clubs etc). In return for the phone back he gives her access to a secret website where she can order a perfect boyfriend?
Of course Riika goes all out with special features and ends up racking up a fee of one million dollars which she discovers after the perfect boyfriend arrives.
(Essentially I would love to have a boyfriend like this if he was as loyal and caring as this one even if he was just an android lol (: )
Riika Izawa- probably both the victim and victor in the story it seems that since the perfect boyfriend arrived boys who have held back their feelings for her are starting to become jealous and more protective of her. The book portrays her to be a really lovely and caring young women but she is very clumsy and naive very much like Tohru Honda from fruits basket, though she is a terrible cook and very messy.
Night Tenjo- The perfect boyfriend Riika purchased online, he is protective, strong, and smart, a good cook, athletic, caring and basically everything you could wish for in a man. However he lacks some natural human feelings and emotion and is sometimes caught out by this leaving Riika alone and vulnerable when she is in trouble or is need of a real friend.
Masaki- Riiko's rude neighbour who turned her down point blank then boasted to his friends about her in a really horrible manor. He comes across as a spoilt brat.
Soshi- Also Riiko's neighbour, they have both been friends since childhood and Soshi soon becomes jealous and suspicious of Night from the beginning, it seems as though Night may have some competition in further volumes.
Gaku- The weirdly dressed sales person who sold Riiko Night he is like a comic relief character, he also does maintenance on Knight and monitors how well Night is pleasing Riiko and other girls around him.
Riiko also has a best girl friend but she doesn't really come into the picture until the second volume.
As with a traditional shojo or girls comic the artwork is quite delicately drawn and the pigments are largely light grey rarely showing great contrast. The male characters are all very handsome looking with well groomed hair ad fashionable outfits and the girls are drawn very prettily also, but the attention is definitely driven more in the boys direction.
Much like fruits basket the creator likes to scribble her random thoughts and thanks down the sides of pages every so often which is a touch I always like to see as you get to know them and where they are coming from as your read through their books.
In between each chapter there are some really nice but simple eye catches of the characters which look a little like snapshots as they have random expressions on their faces and are wearing clothes differing from that in the main story. At the back of each volume there is also a profile of one of the main characters which is an interesting little touch which makes the book look more interesting and attractive.
Yuu Watase also created the Fushigi Yugi series which now even has its own animated OVA and tv series for those of you who are interested.
The book also has adverts for other shojo beat titles and an extract from a new novel written by Novala Takemoto. This volume runs just over 200 words and I bought my copy for £5.99 but you could probably get it for cheaper online, if you have to pay more than £5.99 then you are being ripped off as this is the standard price for both shojo beat and shonnen jump manga graphic novels.