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SP Baby, Vol. 1 Paperback – November 28, 2017
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Story: Tamaki is always finding herself trying to save others from misfortune and it often backfiring on her. When she sees a young man being chased by an unsavory character, she immediately stands down the perpetrator - only to find the young man is Kagetora Sugo - the Prime Minister's Nephew - and he is being chased by his bodyguard. Sugo is quite taken with Tamaki and coerces/convinces her to also become his bodyguard. But he has also let slip that he knows her from the past - and she has no idea from where.
The situation that sets up the plot is quite common - Tamaki has trouble finding a job but desperately needs one to support the younger brother she has raised since her parents' death, she is in love with her gentle neighbor, she has a secret connection to the new love interest, all the other women in the series are jealous of her being so close to Sugo and bully her about it, Sugo has a fiance, and there is an excuse for them to be together often (working together). I have to admit, I've seen it all and would have liked a more interesting angle. And from the set up, it's obvious where this story will go, what drama will erupt and from what sources, and how it will end.
The chapters also tread boring ground: Tamaki learns new skills for her employer that often end up backfiring. Meanwhile, Sugo spends most of the time trying to kiss Tamaki and then suddenly breaking off about it and examining why her kisses are so special. At some point, I feel that Sugo's sexual harassment and pushiness is more acceptable in Japanese culture than it does in Western. Here, it feels excessive, selfish, and somewhat creepy. He's also kind of dumb, with is a second turn off (it takes a really good story teller like Youko Kamio to make a blatantly stupid love interest like Doumyouji in Boys Over Flowers actually acceptable and likable). All these first chapters were about Tamaki succeeding and failing in learning to be a bodyguard.
Since Enjoji hasn't strayed far from the formula that made Happy Marriage!? successful, I would recommend this to her fans with confidence that they will enjoy it. For me, I look for either more intricacy (Yayoi Ogama) or humor (Yuki Yoshihara) (Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher
That approach to characterization continues here. Tamaki needs to find a full-time job, although she has no particular skills, except the ability to kick people in the face, which she does frequently and seemingly without thinking. She wants to be more responsible because she’s taking care of a younger brother and has a crush on her neighbor and childhood friend. But her tendency to react without thinking has been a hindrance… until now, when she’s hired as a bodyguard by the prime minister’s nephew. This sounds funny, but as portrayed, it’s more sad.
I can see where some readers might enjoy the concept of a normal girl, nothing special about her, getting swept away by a powerful, rich man who gets what he wants, and he wants her. It doesn’t have the frothy fun of that kind of Harlequin, though. Instead, my most common reaction was head-scratching at what exactly I was supposed to be looking at (particularly during the kicking scenes) or why anyone would behave this way.
Of course, there’s the hint of a secret past, where the politician knows her but she doesn’t remember him. He keeps kissing her without permission, a plot point that doesn’t read well in today’s environment, and he puts her in an impractical short skirt suit so he can see her legs. He does seem to be in actual danger at times, which makes picking an inexperienced young woman to protect him even more foolhardy, although it does force them into close contact, which is the point. Most of the situations and events here feel labored, with the author working too hard to get to the point. (The publisher provided a review copy. Review originally posted at ComicsWorthReading.com.)