Saturday, March 26, 2016

His Favorite (manga, vol. 5) by Suzuki Tanaka, translated by Ivana Bloom

His Favorite is a m/m romantic comedy. It's published by SuBLime.


Clueless Makimura has a brand new crush: the beautiful student council president. What he doesn't realize is that he's being used by her to gather information about Sato – he's close to Yoshida, who is known to spend a lot of time with Sato. The student council president has pretended to be uninterested in Sato in order to wait for what she thinks is her best chance to win him for herself: a marathon in which the grand prize is a one-day pass with Sato (who wasn't consulted about this and never gave his permission to be used as a prize).

After the marathon, the students deal with an unusually high volume of litter on the school grounds - specifically, banana peels. Several students slip, lose their memories, and then slip again, regaining their memories. After the banana peel incident, several of the girls give Sato some home-made Madeleine cookies. One girl begs Yoshida to steal her cookies back after she realizes, to her horror, that they're awful. The volume wraps up with a chapter in which it seems like everyone's catching a cold except Sato, who says he never gets sick.

Whereas volume 4 was heavy on character backstory, volume 5 was a return to the series' usual episodic nature, with one difference. This time around, Sato was noticeably more relaxed. He was no longer manipulating the school's girls quite so well, but he seemed happier. Also, except for one moment during the banana incident, he no longer seemed to be as interested in messing with Yoshida's head.

My favorite parts of the volume were the last two chapters, the one with the cookies and the one in which everyone caught a cold. The cookie chapter was great because it was the first time Sato ever visited Yoshida's house (and met Yoshida's mother, although I think both boys would have preferred it if she'd showed up an hour or so later). It was also hilarious watching Yoshida try to trick Sato into leaving his cookies unattended – he was a horrible liar.

The “everyone caught a cold” chapter was silly, but not quite as over-the-top as the banana chapter. It was impressive how many students found an opportunity to accidentally douse Sato with water. I continue to be amazed that so few students have caught on to the fact that Sato and Yoshida are dating. Sato's feelings for Yoshida were incredibly (and publicly!) obvious in this chapter.

All in all, I probably liked this volume more than it deserved, considering that it was filled with fluff. It was such a relief to see Sato beginning to relax and display genuine positive emotions. If I had to complain about one thing, it would be the way Akimoto was handled. Back in volume 3, Sato said something incredibly hurtful to Akimoto and never apologized. This volume was the first time Sato and Akimoto spoke to each other on-page after that incident, and it was like it had never happened – no awkwardness or indication of any kind that Akimoto still felt hurt or that Sato felt guilty.

Actually, while I'm at it, I'll add another complaint: I'm getting tired of the way the girls act around Sato. The student council president was downright cruel, the way she used Makimura to gain info about Sato, and none of the girls see Sato as a person, just as a prize that they might be able to win.

Despite those complaints, this was pretty good. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the next volume.


This volume includes one full-color image and a few brief comments from the author.

  • Awkward Silence (manga) by Hinako Takanaga - More m/m romance, in this case involving an introvert who has a long-time crush on a popular baseball player at his school. One day, out of the blue, the guy asks him out. Reviews say this is a cute series, although I haven't read it myself.
  • Green Light (book) by Yura Tamaki, art by Taishi Zaou - Be warned, this is a short novel, not a manga. It's another m/m romance between a guy who isn't popular with his classmates and one who is. I've read it, but can't remember much about it except that the writing was so-so and that, yes, there was explicit sex.
  • Our Everlasting (manga) by Toko Kawai - I haven't read this, but it sounds like the first half of the volume has a story in which a more confident guy confesses his love to a shy introvert, which may work for fans of His Favorite.
  • Ichigenme...The First Class Is Civil Law (manga) by Fumi Yoshinaga - Another one I haven't read yet, although I own both volumes. The main character has always assumed he's straight but starts to question his sexuality after he's hit on by a gay man with whom he'd become friends. Yes, I know, I'm getting further and further from His Favorite's original premise. Still, it might work for those who enjoyed the part where Yoshida started to wonder if maybe he really was in love with Sato.

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