Watase, Y. (2006). Absolute Boyfriend, Vol. 1. San Francisco, CA: VIZ Media LLC.
Genre: Romance, Shojo, Nonfiction
Reading level/ interest age: 15+
When Riiko Izawa returns a lost cellphone to a salesman, she gets more of a reward than she bargained for. The salesman tells Riiko she can go online and order herself a boyfriend. Thinking it must be a joke, Riiko does as instructed and comes home to find a box with a naked man inside. To her surprise, the box contains a manual instructing her to kiss the figure to turn it on. Riiko ends up naming him Night and realizes that he might be just what she ordered. Only, the salesman did not mention that she only had a free trial period to test him out. Now, she either owes the company a million dollars or she can keep Night on loan to collect information on her about his model. Being a high school student living alone, Riiko is forced to keep Night and allow him to collect data on how well he performs to her needs. The terms of the contract also state that Riiko cannot mention what Night is to anyone. With her best friend living next door, Riiko must keep Night’s existence quiet while trying to figure out just exactly what “data collection” entails.
The art style chosen for this manga is beautiful and romantic. Most lines are very soft and curved and none of the characters come off as harsh or even close to unpleasant. Despite the unrealistic depictions of standard humans, Absolute Boyfriend is still a good read full of romance.
While this manga may come off as giving young girls unrealistic expectations of men, the series ends abruptly with the main love interest eliminated. Throughout the series, Night is portrayed as a knight in shining armor but Riiko’s best friend’s opinions end up swaying her to make a difficult choice. Night can never grow old, Riiko cannot marry him, society would not approve of their pairing, and they cannot have children together. Riiko develops from a young girl just interested in having a boyfriend into a young woman who questions what she wants out of life. Night’s elimination from the storyline is beneficial to Riiko’s further development. While she is sad, Riiko views it as a stepping stone and is grateful for the experience and all she learned while dating Night. Absolute Boyfriend develops from a mushy romance with light and easy humor into a surprisingly darker life lesson on growing up.
If you can’t seem to find a good guy why not just buy one? It’ll only cost about, oh, a million dollars. Instruction manual included.
“Yuu Watase, born March 5, 1970 in Osaka, is a Japanese shoujo manga author and artist. She received the Shogakukan Manga Award in shoujo for Ceres, The Celestial Legend in 1998. Since writing her debut short story ‘Pajama de Ojama’ (‘An Intrusion in Pajamas’), Watase has created more than 50 compiled volumes of short stories and continuing series. Because of her frequent use of beautiful male characters in her works, she is widely regarded in circles as a bishounen mangaka….
“Yuu Watase's best known work is probably Fushigi Yugi - and if you're a shoujo fan and haven't read this series (or watched it, the anime is surprisingly close to the manga) you owe it to yourself to pick it up. The story revolves around Miaka, a fifteen year old exam student living her life for everybody but herself and hating it. One day while visiting the library she gets sucked into an old Chinese spell book and becomes the Priestess of Suzaku. She's supposed to find the seven ‘celestial warriors’ and summon the beast god Suzaku. Of course, it isn't going to be easy. And Miaka's rather easily distracted... Of course, if the seven warriors destined to protect you were all hot guys you might be distracted too... A warning that there is the obligatory shoujo ‘cross-dresser’ and some ambiguous reference to some adult matters, but for the most part Yuu Watase is very clean. As with any manga, please pay attention to the ratings - they are there for a reason” (Mirage-Moon.net, 2014).
Curriculum ties: N/A
1. Would you have taken the deal the salesman offered?
2. How do you think your friends and family would respond to you having a robotic significant other?
Challenge issues: N/A
Reason for including the material:
I included Absolute Boyfriend, Vol. 1 because I know how popular manga have become. I also wanted my small collection for this blog to have some diversity of media. My neighborhood contains quite a few English as a Second Language (ESL) students and I believe that some of them might be able to transition easier to the English language and culture with the inclusion of these types of materials in the collection. I also wanted to include this material for reluctant readers as many teens are are familiar with manga and anime which might pique their interest.
Morage-Moon.net. (2014). Mangaka in the Spotlight: Yuu Watase. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from