SP Baby, Vol. 1

Maki Enjoji, trans. from the Japanese by JN Productions. Viz, $9.99 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-42159-540-5
A stiff translation that feels unedited and a poor mix of story elements undermine this effort from the creator of Happy Marriage, though preteens may not mind the slim literary aspects. Tamaki Hasegawa is a young woman trying to get full-time work but keeps striking out—until Suguo, a well-to-do young gentleman, suggests she become his bodyguard. An action-tinged rom-com ensues, with a late-to-the-party mystery backstory. But, where Enjoji’s previous bestseller was fresh and enjoyable because the main characters were both strong, self-assured people with open eyes, here the opposite is true: immature, insecure characters create drama where there is none. The most interesting elements of the story—Tamaki’s training—are left unexplored while the boring ones—Suguo’s constant undermining of her abilities—are given all the screen time; the story almost finds its footing by the end, but not entirely. The character art is superb, but the layout is oddly hard to follow, as is the flow of ideas in the dialogue. This is one to skip. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 11/07/2017
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