Creator: Ao Mimori
Translation: Joe Yamazaki
Adaptation: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Publisher: Viz
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Romance
RRP: $8.99
B.O.D.Y. v2
Reviewed by Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane

In the first volume of B.O.D.Y., the protagonist, Ryoko, discovered that the quiet classmate she was crushing on secretly worked as a host. Before she could start to wrap her head around the idea that Ryunosuke dated girls for money, she also found out that he liked lying to her to get her worked up, and the combination really put her off--but he seemed to be serious when he told her he liked her.

As volume two begins, creator Ao Mimori shows no hesitation in whipping out the big, dramatic events: a mere twelve pages into the book, Ryoko finds herself being kidnapped! Usually the subgenre of high school romances that take this kind of route (think Boys Over Flowers or Hot Gimmick) hold off for at least a few more volumes, building up the drama of the Ordinary High School Girl being ever more caught up in things beyond her control.

Later events in this volume are (ever so) slightly more feasible, but they're still a bit too over the top for my taste. There's a lot of material packed in here, which means B.O.D.Y. may work better for people who prefer a fast-paced story to more thoughtful character development, but I found it hard to feel too concerned for what the characters are going through. The less-dramatic obstacles to their possible relationship provides some more believable elements, however, such as Ryoko trying to decide whether she can handle being in love with a guy who's casually kissed or been involved with so many other women.

I much preferred the presentation to the plot. Mimori's artwork is attractive, and the script is particularly smooth (no surprise there--Kelly Sue DeConnick has plenty of shoujo adaptations under her belt*, ranging from a few early volumes of Fruits Basket to titles like Sensual Phrase and Kare First Love). Overall, I think this series is not for me, but I can see that readers who are into this type of story might really enjoy it.

This volume includes character profiles (with author's notes), a page of cultural/translation notes, and the bonus story "C'mon, It's Time For School Again".

Review copy provided by VIZ Media.

* She also contributed to what is probably the single heftiest book I'll buy this year: the (non-manga) Tori Amos-inspired graphic novel, Comic Book Tattoo.**

** Actually, it's about the same weight as a volume of Ultimate Sandman, but those are hardcovers and my copy of CBT is paperback. My arm muscles tremble at the thought of what the hardcover CBT must weigh.

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