Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stop Bullying Me! by Natsuho Shino review

Stop Bullying Me!

Author/Artist: Natsuho Shino

Publisher: Juné

Rating: YA – 16 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Romance, School Life

Grade: B+

*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at http://liheliso.org/. Check it out! ***

Teasing the one you like is nothing new, at least if you are in elementary school. Bullying the one you like, that's a different story. I find the title Stop Bullying Me! to be a little misleading. When I think of bullying I think of overly large boys threatening smaller kids for lunch money and stuff. In this story the "bullying" looks more like teasing to me.

Tomo Masaki is an adorable freshman in high school. He has a brother complex; he even applied to attend the same high school as Ei-chan just so he could spend even more time with him. You see, Tomo is a bit thick and simple minded. But he's also sweet, cute, and sincere. Since starting high school Tomo hardly ever gets to see Ei-chan. Ei-chan is the Student Council President and is always busy. Not only is he terribly busy but "he" is always with him. The "he" is Motoki Izumi, the Student Council Vice-President, Ei-chan's best friend, and Tomo's tormentor. It never fails, whenever Tomo heads into the Student Council room to see Ei-chan, Izumi is there instead with teasing remarks ready. Izumi has a sweet side to him, too. Soon Tomo finds himself feeling conflicted when it comes to his feelings towards Izumi. Does he like him, hate him, love him?

Please Keep It a Secret is a brief one-shot about two childhood friends who were separated but were brought back together when they met again at the same high school.

I was first introduced to Natsuho Shino-sensei through the release of Oh my god! published through another company. I was immediately charmed by sensei's artwork. In Stop Bullying Me! you can't help but love cuddly Tomo. He has the signature large uke eyes and the small frame. He also has a head of hair that just begs to be ruffled. Izumi and Ei-chan are perfect with their statuesque frames, thick necks, and manly jaw lines. Not only are they drawn gorgeously, but the interactions between these three characters are hilarious. Tomo isn't the only one with a brother complex. Ei-chan is in quite the predicament. He's stuck in the middle of his best friend and his dear little brother. It's a hard place for him to be because Tomo isn't afraid to say what is on his mind about his relationship with Izumi. It's a fun story to watch while it unfolds. The art just adds onto the playfulness of the story.

I'm glad Juné decided to pick up this sweet and funny manga to publish here in the states. Just one look at the cover I knew I was probably going to like it. This has a rating of YA, which means that it is suitable for ages 16 and older. I suggest for someone who has never read boys love but is interested in checking it out Stop Bullying Me! is a great title to pick up as an introduction. Even those who've read more hardcore titles (like me, you name it I've probably seen it) you can still enjoy a sweet title like Stop Bullying Me!

***Review Copy provided by Juné***
***Reposted with permission from The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society***

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