Boys Be… 17

The one thing I’ll always wonder about is whether or not the Boys Be Justice will ever end. Will that boy ever find his pure, true love? The world may never know. As for all the other boys in the series… well, adolescent love lives on forever.

Standout stories in this volume…? Well. Not really. I guess some boys ask some girls out. I think that may be all that happens. I don’t think there were really any established couples this time around. The only story that tried a different formula was one where a tennis pair helped another tennis pair realize their love, then wound up in the same awkward situation where their tennis game was off because they had crushes on each other in the end. Hmm.

The best story was probably the one about the scaredy-cat boy who goes into the haunted park to try and save the girl he likes. Said boy is actually being fooled by the girl, but it is a test of courage for him, just to see if he is indeed boyfriend material. All is right in the world.

Oh, Boys Be. It’s a shame you went on too long. I would have praised you to high heavens if it had only been the first five volumes. Of course, at this point I can’t remember if it was because I liked this type of story or because the stories were actually good. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and say the latter.

Boys Be… 16

Much like Suppli, I believe this series is on indefinite hiatus. Unlike Suppli, this series probably deserves it. I could have done with about ten volumes of these stories and never read any more, ever. To be fair, I really did enjoy it for those first ten volumes.

These stories pretty much maintain the status quo. I was in a good mood when I read this volume, and it’s been awhile since I read volume 15, so I liked it okay while I was reading it. Even with the good feelings, I still have to say that the stories kind of ran into one another and immediately vanished from my memory when I finished the volume.

Let’s see… my favorite? There was one that was pretty cute about a boy and girl from gender-exclusive schools located right next to on another go to great lengths to not share an umbrella after an encounter on a train. There was another chapter called “Rain Man.” In that story, a girl is hesitant to go out on a date with a boy because he always brings rain wherever he goes. I have to say that a man who is followed around by rain is not the first thing I thought of when I read the title, though.

There was a couple average ones… one about a girl and a boy who share a motorcycle ride that gets them closer, one about a boy who admits his feelings for his radio cohost… et cetera. I don’t really need to go into detail on these types of stories, they’re exactly what you would expect.

One really disturbing one came at the end of the volume when a girl insists that the boy she’s dating lose weight or she’ll break up with him. He does. I’m not really sure I appreciated the message.

Anyway. I’ve got one more volume of this. I’ll probably finish it off tomorrow.

Boys Be… 15

Okay, so I’m nearly square with this series, I’ve just got the newest volume to read, which I only got last week. After that one, there’ll be only four volume left, then I’ll never have to read another volume of Boys Be again.

I was disappointed once again with the stories in this volume. The first story got things off on the wrong foot right away since it was yet another story about a couple that hadn’t had their first kiss. The gimmick this time was that the girl didn’t want to kiss the boy because his lips were chapped and there was a whole comedy thing about him applying her chapstick and it being an indirect kiss… et cetera.

There was a two-part story which I thought I kinda liked about a boy having a crush on a teacher-in-training and it being a kind of destiny thing since he’d met her a long time ago too. This story was pretty sweet, but you could sort of tell where it was going to go since there was a secondary female character hanging around right from the beginning that didn’t really have a place. I did really like the teacher character, who played it pretty cool around the boy and girl in the story. You never did find out what she was thinking, so it’s left up to the reader whether she had feelings for the boy or not. Once again though, no action, no kissing, no hand holding, nothing. We get the beginnings of something, but things just don’t go all the way.

The only other story I liked was one about a boy who shyly tried out pressure points on his tomboyish video game obsessed girlfriend. Things kept getting more and more crazy as he kept hitting pressure points at her request that did different things. yeah.

No Boys Be Justice stories this time around. Can’t say I missed them.

Boys Be… 14

Oh Boys Be.  This is another volume I really didn’t enjoy.  Most of the stories still involve lots of embarrassed hand-holding, and the situations in this set of stories just weren’t funny enough to justify the lack of action.  Not that I was expecting a roll in the hay or anything, but I’m just sick of random couples accidentally touching hands together and then blushing and turning away from each other.

There are some attempts at raunch thrown in.  I mean, the first story focuses on a filthy picture the boy’s friends slip into a CD case that the boy then gives back to his girlfriend.  Said picture is apparently so filthy (it is supposedly of a girl’s neither region) that the girlfriend then shows it around to all her friends.  I mean, that’s sort of funny, but there needs to be more than that to the story, and the rest of it just doesn’t hold up to that fairly entertaining idea.  Another one is about the athletic exercise “squatting,” where there is a misunderstanding when a boy is forced by his classmates to yell a girl’s name while doing it.  I mean, it’s sort of raunchy, but not really, and it’s mostly just about the boy and girl being embarrassed.  I suppose I should just stop reading, but I feel like if I’ve read this far into the series, I can survive to the end.

An example of a raunchy story that does manage to be entertaining and doesn’t have a lot of embarrassed hand-holding comes later.  There is a boy who just wants to masturbate while watching free porn on a class trip, and when he finds the perfect opportunity to be by himself, he keeps getting interrupted by a well-meaning female classmate who thinks he’s sick and wants to care for him.  Instead of just having the girl over and chatting her up, he keeps sending her away so he can masturbate.  Eventually she catches him.  There’s a nice moral in that one, and it was probably the best story in the volume.  Another one that’s kind of funny is about a boy who thinks his girlfriend’s cousin is some sort of bondage queen, and his girlfriend and her cousin get together at night for some games.  I kind of laughed at this one, the buildup’s great, but the ending’s a little disappointing.

Another one I kind of liked was one where a boy who hates kogals is trying to keep an underclassman who he liked in junior high away from the kogals at his high school.  He spends the whole chapter discouraging her from little actions that could blow up into kogal proportions, but in the end she falls to temptation anyway.  This one was too much like the “our favorite turn-ons” series from the earlier volumes for me to praise it fully, but it was pretty cute.

Yeah.  I’m not really expecting much from the coming volumes, and it’s really not my thing anymore, but I’ll keep reading anyway.

Boys Be… 13

Aww.  This volume wasn’t nearly as sexy as the last one.

Two stories stuck out in my mind this time around.  The first was one about a school legend where anyone who bumps into one another while a certain tree’s leaves are changing will fall in love in a very specific way.  Of course the main male and female bump into one another, but the female seems totally unaware of the multi-step process that is supposed to follow.  It was a pretty cute story… a bit better than the average Boys Be… story.

The other one was only memorable because my roommate constantly brings up the board games/twister stuff in I”s as totally ridiculous and fun plot points.  The characters all play a “Boys Be” board game.  There are three guys and one girl, and two of the guys are trying to set the third up with the girl.  The actions in the game are things like “class ski trip: bump heads with the person to your right” and “give the person to your right a piggyback ride around the room.”  You know… bizarre things that only matter in shounen romantic comedies.

So yeah, I’m kinda back to thinking badly of this series.  The last volume must’ve just been a fluke.  I did read something about sex promised in the future, but I can’t remember if it was supposed to be in volume 14 or volume 16.

Boys Be… 12

After being totally turned off of the series by the past volume or so, now the series will forever be branded in my mind as “oh yeah, that comic where the couple farts together and the grandpa slips them viagra.”

That’s actually two separate stories, but it’s easy to pretend they’re not since the character designs are all pretty similar at this point.

In one story, a grandfather feels her daughter is too prudish, so he tricks her and her boyfriend into taking viagra he bought in America.  Yes, that is actually the plot.

In the other story, a girl accidentally lets one slip, the boy tries to make her feel better about it and only succeeds in embarrassing her, then lets one rip in a last-ditch effort to make her forget her faux pas.

In addition to the content of these two stories, I was also surprised that sex is addressed in 3 or so of the stories in this volume where it was only hinted at, used as a joke, or skirted in every other story so far.  One couple actually succeeds in getting it on.  Two other couples get close enough that you might suspect it actually happens more frequently in this series.  I was very, very surprised.

None of this is enough to save it from the long string of mediocre volumes that came before this one, mind you, but yeah, I could go for more volumes like this.  I suppose it will remain to be seen if even that novelty will wear off if similarly shocking/gross-out things keeps happening in later volumes, but hey.  We’ll see.

Boys Be… 11

I’m still not terribly impressed with the short stories.  There were two in this volume I kinda liked, though.

The first one was just sort of silly. I hated that the setup was wasted on a series of t&a shots, but every other panel in this series is of a cute girl, so I’m pretty used to it by now.  Basically, the couple realizes that they dress lame, and they see a cool-looking couple and decide to mimic their style.  They go out and purchase new jeans, but the cool-looking couple had worn and torn jeans.  The female in the primary couple suggests stone washing, which she heard Americans do with new pairs of jeans in the Mississippi River.  Then the chapter degenerates into the boy wetting the girl down, rubbing pumice on her jeans while she’s still wearing them, and cutting holes in them for her.  You can imagine how that goes.

The second story I liked wasn’t actually that good, but I liked that the boy in it was adamantly opposed to PDA or any sort of half-ass love.  True love is a private and intense matter between two individuals.  He wishes on a falling star for a girlfriend, and a “fallen angel” comes to try and help him out.  Things don’t go well from there (there’s kind of a halfhearted plot where the main character has to avoid the advances of his best friend’s cheating girlfriend), but since the chapter is called “Boys Be… Justice” and the chapter numbering starts over, I suspect there will be at least a few more stories with this character in it.

Boys Be… 10

Bah.  The boy got the girl in every single story in this volume.  It’s no fun when there’s no fighting and no comic misunderstanding et al.  At least give me that.

I actually disliked every single story in this volume except the first story, which takes up two chapters.  That one only won because I liked how the characters rode around on bikes and sort of quietly appreciated one another.  It was a very sweet one, but it unfortunately set the tone for the rest of the volume, where the stories kind of failed at their get-the-girl formulas.  Even the ones where the couple was already dating weren’t too good.

Maybe I just read this too close to Pastel.  Shounen romance is good for its sensitive moments, but both Pastel and Boys Be sort of make me mad in the same way.  Even with sensitive, fairly genuine emotions, they’re shallow because they sort of feel like they’re going through the motions.  Pastel is not as bad about it, but I almost feel like that’s because it’s latching on to some sort of Oh My Goddess vibe.  Why OMG escapes my scrutiny most of the time is beyond me, but it’s usually better about these sorts of things, possibly because I think the subplots are more interesting.

But perhaps I should just lay off the shounen romances if I don’t like them.  I should have learned my lesson by now.

Boys Be… 9

As I mentioned before, my apartment is not at all a nice place to spend the winter, and with the temperatures hanging right around zero all week, it was too cold in my bedroom to sit at the computer.  I sat by the heater in the kitchen and read instead, so I’ve got over 20 volumes of manga to write about.

I’m trying to clear out my backlog of Boys Be, which is a bit of a chore since I’ve still got six to go and I don’t particularly like this series.  This volume read entirely as boys being shy around girls, which is most of the stories in the series, but usually there’s one story to break things up where there’s a bold boy.  Actually, there was one story where the boy was only sorta shy, just mostly confused about how the girl was acting, so I guess that counts.

The best story in the volume was the “Special Report” at the end, which was about a boy being invited over to play mahjong with three college girls.  He’s the worst mahjong player ever, so in order to convince him to keep playing after he keeps losing, the girls offer to play strip mahjong.  Of course, the boy starts winning, then dirty tricks are used to try and get him to strip… et cetera.  It wasn’t a great story, but it was my favorite.  I kind of hope that this becomes the replacement for the three guys who always talked about what turns them on, because there may be something vaguely funny in future scenarios of this type.

The only other thing which made me laugh was in a story about a boy and girl trying to find a quiet place to have their first kiss.  They keep getting interrupted by random people, but the last straw for the girl was when Ultraman interrupted them.  She ran off, but luckily Ultraman made it up to the couple by telling the boy the absolute best place to kiss.  I think it’s mostly because I love random Ultraman appearances in manga, but I thought it was pretty funny.

Boys Be… 8

I realized today that I haven’t touched this series in nearly two years.  New volumes have been coming out, but I totally lost interest in the stories.  I’m just not the target audience.

Even after laying off for so long, the stories in this volume felt tired and repetitive.  Lots of fanservice, shy guys, shy girls, misunderstandings, and every other plot device you can think of in a shounen romance manga.  While I like the idea of short stories since it doesn’t run a plot into the ground, it does just give it reason to overuse other contrivances.

They can be cute though, and I did like a couple of them.  There was a story about a boy and girl from the same school who run into each other at the train station, and by coincidence, each is traveling to Tokyo to look at the same university, and neither has traveled alone before.  They decide to go together.  It’s a pretty cute story, with a minimum of fanservice, and it doesn’t end with the two hooking up, which is always good.  There was another story that gets major points for being about the girl beating up on the guy in hopes she’d pass a Women’s Professional Wrestling audition later on in the month.  That one was pretty bizarre and funny.

I wish I’d liked more of them, though.  There’s nothing technically wrong with any of them, and they probably weren’t nearly as repetitive as I think, because the series does do a pretty good job of coming up with different cute stories.  I just can’t read them.  It’s not my thing.  I’ll probably read a few more volumes, just to see if maybe this one was just a weak volume, but I don’t think I’ll be able to get through 12 more volumes of this.


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