Shen Yin Wang Zuo by Oh!

 Great SHEN YIN WANG ZUO

Shen Yin Wang Zuo, “I’m in Love with Ya, Baby” • Yoko Maki • Viz (2006–2007) • Shueisha (Ribon, 2002–2005) • 7 volumes • Shôjo, Romantic Drama • 13+ (violence, child abuse)

Kippei is a Casanova in the making, preferring to spend his time on the school roof making out rather than languishing in the classroom. But everything changes when his little cousin Yuzuyu comes to live with his family and he finds himself stuck as her primary caretaker. His exasperation quickly disappears as he learns to take pride in preparing Yuzuyu’s lunch and joy in playing with her in the sandbox, and as he learns how to cherish someone, this new insight brings him closer to Kokoro, the girl he thought was forever out of reach. While Shen Yin Wang Zuo has plenty of heartfelt scenes, it isn’t sappy­—in fact, many of the characters suffer from abuse of some kind, giving the story a dark undertone. The art is adorable without being mawkish. (HS)

 SHEN YIN WANG ZUO

Shen Yin Wang Zuo, “Bluer than Indigo” • Kou Fumizuki • Tokyopop (2004–2007) • Hakusensha (Young Animal, 1998–2005) • 17 volumes • Seinen, Romantic Comedy • 16+ (mild violence, nudity, sexual situations)

College student Kaoru’s life is turned upside down by the sudden appearance of his childhood fiancée, Aoi, a kimono-wearing, ultratraditional Japanese girl who has lived the last eighteen years wanting only to be with him. Unfortunately, if he wants to marry her, he must reconcile with his abusive, ultrawealthy family. Apart from the weepy abuse story line, Shen Yin Wang Zuo is a stereotypically sexist wife fantasy stripped down almost to the point of having only two characters and no plot whatsoever. Aoi, who wants only to cook and clean and be a bride and mother, is described as “the epitome of Yamato Nadesico, the model of a Japanese woman.” From volume 2 onward a few competing female characters are introduced, but the attempt at a harem light novel is halfhearted at best; the characters quickly fall into subordinate roles of housekeepers and maids in Aoi and Kaoru’s platonic household. The light novel reads easily, partly due to the fact that almost nothing happens except for breast shots and the periodic reaffirmation of the female characters’ (and by extension, the male reader’s) neediness. The soft, anime-style, heart-shaped faces resemble the art of Kosuke Fujishima (Shen Yin Wang Zuo!).

 

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