Story: Aya Kanno
Art: Aya Kanno
Translation/Adaptation: JN Productions
What They Say
Secretly taking a baking class for men, Asuka is relieved that there’s a safe haven where he doesn’t need to hide his girly side from his anti-otomen mother. But when she finds out that he’s been attending this class, things get set to explode!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Teen romance takes a backseat in Otomen Volume 12. In fact, Ryo only shows up in a couple panels. Instead, the focus is on the mysterious pastry chef of Violet. The series has been hinting for a while at the connection between him and Asuka, but now we finally learn of their true relationship as well as that of Amakashi and a couple other characters.
The circumstances by which the chef comes to live with Asuka and his mother are a bit over-the-top, but once past that, the otomen bonding that takes place between the two is really, well, cute. Kanno-sensei goes off the deep end again a chapter later with a parody of a violent yakuza kidnapping. The gangster and the demand he makes are nothing short of laughable, but the chef and Asuka treat the situation so seriously that it works, creating a dramatic revelation scene followed by a touching conclusion.
For the final chapter in this installment, the focus switches back to love – as through the eyes of the poet of Ginyuri. Amakashi gets his moment to sparkle (literally) in the spotlight as Kanno-sensei delves into his particular otomen obsession. The ending is somewhat bittersweet, but considering the way other shojo manga have depicted fordidden student-teacher love affairs, I’m glad Kanno-sensei handled this story the way she did.
Asuka continues hiding his otomen self from his mom, but he finds solace as he and the Violet pastry chef connect on a deeper level. Their bond, though, goes even further than he expects. It’s a couple of close calls and one big revelation for our hero in this installment of Otomen.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: February 7th, 2012