Otaku USA Magazine
Sweat and Soap Is an Eccentric, Amusing Relationship Comedy

Sweat and Soap started out as a digital-only one-shot and became so popular it’s now a print series — with a live-action adaptation in Japan. It starts with an unusual premise: Asako is a very timid, 26-year-old virgin who is mortified by how much she perspires. Ever since childhood people have made fun of her for it. Now as an adult she works in a company that makes soaps, and it’s here that she also meets her boyfriend, Natori. He’s not bothered by all her perspiration. In fact, he likes it. He likes her smell so much he becomes kind of obsessed with her.

And Asako is lucky that it turns out he’s also a nice guy and not just someone who follows his nose. They end up as a couple quickly, and the first six volumes of the series (all put together in a box set) shows where they go from there.

As one might expect from the description, this is a lighthearted, eccentric manga series. The two characters are fun and relatable. At first Asako just seems like the insecure one and Natori has it all going for him. But as time goes on, Natori’s insecurities also give rise. They go through some typical relationship stuff, like worrying what the other thinks, introducing their family, and discussing whether or not to move in together. Then there are the things that make them who they are — like when Natori needs a handkerchief with Asako’s scent on it before he feels comfortable leaving for a few days on a business trip. They get into their first real fight in the sixth volume. But mostly this is a laid-back, easygoing manga. The artwork is strong and clean (no pun intended) and flows well, just like the story.

Five of the six volumes are rated 16+, and one is rated 18+, though there’s really no need for that, as it doesn’t show anything more than the other ones do. There are a few suggestive scenes that show up now and then, but that’s it. The boxset also comes with two sets of stickers — scented stickers, that is. One is supposed to smell like sweat, apparently — it’s strong smelling, but not bad. The other smells strongly and cleanly of soap. The stickers themselves are images from the book covers.

The second box set (volumes seven through eleven) will conclude the series, and that becomes available on April 4.

Story & Art: Kintetsu Yamada
Publisher: Kodansha
Translator: Matt Treyvaud


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.