Yurika Mito’s childhood friend Souta Shishihara isn’t just cute. He’s ridiculously cute. He likes to sew, bake cookies, and cook, and his hair always looks nice. His ears are studded with earrings, and he has a soft, sweet face. He is the essence of a cute, innocent manga boy.
And if you call him a runt, he’ll beat the unholy crap out of you.
Yurika and Souta have just started high school, and Souta doesn’t want people to know he used to be a gang leader. So for the most part he’s very well-behaved, but something might push him over the edge. He’s also very strong, as people are surprised to find out. But he still just looks so adorable.
Yurika watches Shouta, thinking what a great catch he is. She doesn’t consider herself at all feminine, as she points out to readers. And though she might technically be the main character, it’s Souta who steals the show, as we the audience stand back and watch his antics with Yurika. Souta is so thoroughly a manga character in how he blends his obvious adorableness with something not seen as being adorable (that is, being a tough guy gangster). Twists like this aren’t rare in manga — think, for example, of yakuza characters who also happen to be very sweet and domestic. Still, even with this setup, it’s a riot to see Souta go from complete harmlessness and innocence to someone bloodthirsty who strikes fear in others.
The first volume consists of Souta’s antics around other kids at the new high school, with Yurika never far away. So far there are no hints of a back story developing, so instead it gives the impression it’s a lightweight, amusing, fun read that will probably spend more time on quirky characters than on deep plotting. Those quirky characters set themselves up well in the first volume, so it will be curious to see where it goes from here.
The manga is popular in Japan, and took the sixteenth spot in the 2021 Next Manga Awards. It is available digitally-only through Mangamo.
Story & Art: Aimai Mii
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin. She is also the author of its upcoming 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.