Manga Review: Absolute Boyfriend Volume One

Absolute Boyfriend Volume One is a manga by Yuu Watase, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2006. The series is rated “T+” for older teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

Absolute Boyfriend Volume 1
Written by: Yuu Watase
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 7, 2006

The main character of Absolute Boyfriend is a high school girl named Riiko Izawa, and she’s been rejected by every good-looking guy that she has confessed her feelings to. In fact, the volume opens with her confessing her feelings to a boy who turns her down right away. One day, as she’s walking through a park, she hears a cell phone ringing and it’s an abandoned phone laying on the ground. Riiko answers it and talks with the phone’s owner, who invites to meet up with him to return the phone to him.

The guy she meets is a businessman who appears to be wearing cosplay, but he insists that he isn’t. He tries to sell her something, and she’s not interested. When Riiko says that all she wants is a boyfriend, he gives her a CD-ROM that will take her to a website, but he tells her she has to keep the site a secret.

Later, she visits the website that is called “Lover Shop.” She sees that it sells “Lover Figures,” and that there’s a three-day free trial. She decides to place an order and adds a whole bunch of personality options. The next day, a large box is delivered to her; when she opens it, a naked man comes tumbling out. This is the “Lover Figure” that she ordered, and it’s some kind of artificial intelligence.

She spends the next three days with him, which she names Night. Unfortunately, it turns out that Riiko didn’t read the contract thoroughly and she technically didn’t return Night when she was supposed to. So now the guy who gave the CD-ROM says she owes one million dollars. The rest of the volume sees Riiko trying to find a way to come up with the money in order to pay off this debt.

In addition to all of that, Riiko lives in the same complex as her classmate, Soshi. Throughout this volume, hints are given that Soshi likes Riiko, even though he tends to tease her about her breast size; however, Riiko doesn’t seem to clue in on how he feels about her.

After Night is introduced in this volume, I couldn’t help but find myself making comparisons between Absolute Boyfriend and Chobits. While the circumstances for how Night and Chi end up with their respective humans and their purposes are different in their stories, they are both artificial intelligences who serve as love interests for their respective humans.

When it comes to the art, there was really nothing that stood out to me. I just felt like I was looking at the expected styles and tropes associated with shojo manga.

By the time I finished reading this volume, I was left with the impression that Absolute Boyfriend is ultimately a teenage girl wish fulfillment fantasy of having the perfect boyfriend. Unfortunately, as a woman who is quickly approaching her 40s, this isn’t the type of story that’s going to have much of an appeal to me personally. However, I think there are some older teenage girl manga readers out there who will really enjoy Absolute Boyfriend.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Absolute Boyfriend Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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