Otomen Volume 12

I’ve been on the fence about Otomen a bit, because while I think it is funny and very well-executed, I wonder if the series tends to drag on a little bit too much. At a certain point we know that in every volume Asuka is going to be threatened with exposure over his love of traditionally feminine pursuits, but he’s going to manage to save himself at the last minute with the help of his friends. I enjoyed this volume more than most because the emotional stakes were much higher for Asuka. He’s joined a “manly baking” class that has a mysterious scruffy instructor who always wears sunglasses. Asuka’s Otomen-hating mother finds out that he’s involved in the class and reacts poorly when Asuka tells her that he’s learning to bake in order to improve his martial arts training. There actually is a near kitchen disaster and Asuka manages to contain it by wielding tools like whisks and mixing bowls full of batter like a kitchen ninja. The accident makes the bakery inhabitable and Asuka’s mother invites the stoic instructor to stay at their house. The mysterious man is of course Asuka’s long-lost father and father and son manage a touching reunion, but not without some additional complications by some cake-loving gangsters. This volume of Otomen ends up being a bit of a meditation on the feelings put into baked goods when they are made by someone who loves you. Seeing Asuka bond with his father made this volume stand out from the other recent volumes of this series that I’ve read.

Review copy provided by the publisher

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