There’s some conflict about the Japanese title of this manga. It’s either as listed above (via Wikipedia) or Kunshusama no Koi no Oaite (via Baka-Updates.) Normally, I’m tempted to trust Baka-Updates on principle, but I’m intrigued by the fact that Wikipedia 1) had an entry, and 2) tells me this is literally translated as “The Monarch’s Lover.”
The other note of interest is that, for the English-language version, the setting was changed from a high school to a university.
Probably because of all that rape…
First we have to talk about this art. Okay, yes, it’s a trope, that anime/manga eyes are larger than normal, but this…
This is a mutation:
This bug-eyed monster is Ryuya Fujio. He’s the main character for the first three chapters of this volume (and then the rest of the second volume). I spent a lot of time trying to decide if his eyes were that big naturally, or if I was just supposed to imagine that they seem bigger because of the glasses he wears.
I finally decided it was just bad art.
The cute-meet of Selfish Love leaves something to be desired, too. It’s missing …. a set-up for starters. We end up getting a kind of love-interest backstory, but it’s not very compelling and very late in the game. Instead, we jump right in to the lusting. Ryuya is called into the honor society’s office by its president, Orito Kuroha. You see, Orito needs to pick a VP, and he wants Ryuya.
No, I mean, REALLY wants.
Ryuya says no. To all of it–he doesn’t want to be vice-president of the honor society and he does NOT want Orito’s disgusting homosexual advances. (Note: there’s a lot of saying ‘no’ and not being listened to AS WELL AS a lot of ‘get your perverted hands off me, you disgust me’)
Orito, being a rich dude, has never heard this word “no” before in his spoiled, pampered life. He always gets what he wants, and he wants Ryuya.
He hits on Ryuya. Ryuya just plain hits back.
Cue central conflict (physical as well as thematic), including a tragic (maybe supposed to be heartwarming?) backstory in which we discover this isn’t the first time Orito has beat-up Ryuya….
Normally, I love me a good class conflict, especially when the poor guy who stands up to the rich guy and says “no,” but the world-building needs more meat than: rich people suck. It’s not that I disagree, but “some rich kid beat me up in Kendo Club and now I despise all rich kids” seems a little shallow, when, you know, there are plenty of legit reasons to hate people who have money and power and abuse it.
Also, Ryuya is so homophobic that he doesn’t even notice his best friend, Kyogo, is super-gay. Poor Kyogo keeps asking Ryuya out and gets friend-zoned over and over. Kyogo was my favorite, honestly. He got in on money, but his dad is a famous actor. So famous that people are always asking if Kyogo can get an autograph to which he says, cryptically, “My dad and I aren’t close.” Curious! Thing is, he was at least decent. He seemed to genuinely care about Kyogo. I wanted him and Ryuya to get together. But, that doesn’t happen. I had hopes in the second volume, but, no, all that happens is that Kyogo gets physically pushy and basically pushes Ryuya right into confessing love for Orito.
Which is a shocker, because I was pretty convinced Ryuya was so homophobic that he could actually resist the magical, transformative power of Teh Gay yaoi-style.
But, when all else fails, pull out the high school play trope and be sure to have the heroine, who is set to play Juliet to Orito’s Romeo, fall ill and Ryuya be the only one available to cross-dress for the part (oh, and as a bonus, have the BFF/rival Kyogo step in to play Tybalt.)
I found this whole thing messy and unconvincing, frankly.
There are two shorts in the first volume, however, which are much smuttier and straight-forward (AS IT WERE).
The first is “Sweet Seduction” in which our hero comes over to his best friend’s younger brother’s place for a lesson in English and gets a lesson in love, instead. Or as the younger brother puts it, “How about we try a little shock therapy!”
The second one, “Luscious Intoxication” starts with our hero waking up after a hard night of drinking on the job (the couple looks so much like the previous two, I thought it as a continuation at first… maybe it is? Maybe this is after our previous hero has met up with the English-speaking clients…? Except this guy says he’s the manager?..) At any rate, the boss presses his advantage… in more ways than one!
Then we get “Worst Day” involves that creepy kid from your high school admitting he’s always staring at you because he wants to fuck you, the end.
“Strange Smile” actually continues with creepy kid, who has now found you in a hurt/comfort situation. Turns out, you got in a knife fight (apparently, you are a delinquent). Creepy kid lives just around the corner (convenient!) and also figures the best way to clean your wound IS WITH HIS TONGUE. Sex convinces you that “he’s not that bad, after all.”
Not sure why that got into second person there for a moment, but there you go. In the end, I found the little shorts more satisfying. I think this was true because the mangaka actually sucks at storytelling, and it hardly matters when the point is to just get the two guys to the point of getting it on.
You can find this one at Quatrefoil Library, too, though I’m less sure why you’d want to….