Print Reviews
Absolute Boyfriend, Vol. 1
by Yuu Watase
VIZ Media (2007)
Absolute Boyfriend, Vol. 1
8 / 10
Absolute Boyfriend is an embarrassing book to own. The title makes it sound like a porno magazine, and there’s an oh-so-pretty, butt-nekkid bishounen boy on the cover clutching a postcard that reads: “Present For You.” I swear I blushed five shades of red when I took this one to the counter. But if, like me, you don’t mind stomaching a few seconds of complete embarrassment in order to get your manga fix, Absolute Boyfriend is one of the best shojo titles on the market.

The storyline is nearly a direct reversal of the scenario in CLAMP’s Chobits, but presented with a lighter, less dystopian tone. Riiko, an unremarkable 16-year-old girl, has collected so many rejections from the boys in her high school, she’s convinced that she’ll remain a virgin forever. (Again with the virginity obsession! What is UP, Japan?) A chance encounter with a random and bizarre salesman leads her to a website where she orders a 3-day free trial of a mysterious “love figure.” The very next morning, a giant box appears on her doorstep, containing a very pretty, extremely attentive, and completely naked teenage boy. (Don’t worry, this is PG-13.)

With a fairy-tale kiss, the lovably naïve “Night” is programmed to devote himself completely to Riiko, defending her against school bullies, fixing her dinner, and constantly begging her to sleep with him. He’s a dream come true—so, naturally, Riiko finds herself falling for her nerdy neighbor, Soshi, who she’s known since childhood. Wacky hijinks ensue! (I swear, you can say that for every shojo title, ever.)

The plot revolves around the bizarre love triangle between these three characters, and the underlying question: can Riiko truly fall in love with Night, if he isn’t real? As the series goes on, Night seems to develop genuine feelings and opinions that contradict his programming—similar to Chi in Chobits—and it’s hard to decide whose side you’re on. The philosophical dilemma posed by Night’s existence is intriguing, and the humor here is as light and fluffy as cotton candy. Absolute Boyfriend? Absolutely, embarrassingly addictive. Hide it inside your copy of Harper’s Bazaar, and enjoy.
Posted by: J. Bowers

Print Reviews (May 16th, 2007)