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B.O.D.Y. Volume 1

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B.O.D.Y. Volume 1 by Ao Mimori, a shojo manga published by Shojo Beat / VIZ Media

B.O.D.Y. Volume 1

© Ao Mimori

The Bottom Line

When boy-crazy high schooler Sakura encounters Fuji, she's immediately smitten by her quiet and mysterious classmate. But Fuji has a secret: He works evenings at a host club, pouring drinks and flirting with older women for money. Horrified that her prince is less than saintly, Sakura rebuffs him. Fuji takes this as a challenge: He tells her that he'll make her fall for him no matter what.

While B.O.D.Y. starts off as a new twist on the "mysterious hottie loves ordinary girl" scenario, Mimori backs off from the host club theme settles for some tired shojo manga clichés instead. In short, B.O.D.Y. is a B.O.R.E.

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Pros

  • Offers readers a slight tweak on the "mysterious hunk with a secret" theme
  • Has a few plot surprises that come out of left field

Cons

  • Doesn't fully exploit the dramatic potential of a high school teen working at a host club
  • Even as shojo manga heroines go, Sakura is annoyingly shallow, dumb and whiney
  • Relies on several predictable shojo scenarios and numerous plot cliches

Description

Guide Review - B.O.D.Y. Volume 1

Sakura is a boy-crazy high school teen who wants nothing more than to meet the perfect guy. So when she spies Fuji, a quiet, bespectacled classmate whose slightly rumpled demeanor doesn't quite hide his hottie-ness, she immediately decides that he's the one for her.

So Sakura is deeply disappointed when she discovers that Fuji has an unusual afterschool job: He works at a host club. With her impressions of Fuji as a scholarly good boy shattered, Sakura rejects him in a huff. Fuji takes this as a challenge, so he tells Sakura that he's going to use all his seductive skills to win her heart.

This is shojo manga, so B.O.D.Y.'s flagrant disregard for reality is probably a moot point. But it's still disappointing that Mimori starts off with what seems to be a promising twist on the "mysterious boy with a secret" theme, but opts to ignore the intriguing plot possibilities of a high school boy working in a Japanese host club.

A guy who works at a host club entertains older women by flirting, flattering and catering to their needs, with a sexual subtext not far from the surface. How does a high school boy react to being put in such a situation? How does a teen girl who loves this kind of guy reconcile that her man is constantly flirting with adult women who are richer, more sophisticated and more demanding of his attentions? Have playful shojo fantasies like Ouran High School Host Club made us numb to the not-so-innocent subtext of what a host club really is about?

So rather than explore the seedier aspects of host club nightlife, Mimori backs off and turns B.O.D.Y. into generic high school romantic comedy, complete with predictable shojo scenarios like a "boy gets sick and gets nurtured by girl" scene. It maintains its innocence, but B.O.D.Y. mostly ends up being a B.O.R.E.

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