Those Not-So-Sweet Boys Vol. 1 by Yoko Nogiri (TNSSB #1)
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: February 16, 2021
Summary: A DEBT OWED
Midori drops her wallet on her first day of high school, but her new classmate Ichijo swoops in to help. She wants to thank him, but he’s part of a tight-knit trio and none of them are ever in class! Rumor has it that they all got expelled for acting up, and studious Midori’s actually at risk of expulsion, too… In order to help support her family, she has a part-time job, which is against the school rules. When the chairman of the school board catches her leaving work, he says he’ll let it go—but only if she’s up to the task of bringing the three boys back to school. Well, why not? It’ll be a piece of cake…right?
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Having recently finished Yoko Nogiri’s previous series Love In Focus, I was incredibly eager to see what her new series would be about! As someone who doesn’t read a whole lot of shojo titles, Nogiri makes unique stories that are perfect for a beginner like me.
So, Those Not-So-Sweet Boys is the newest series from Nogiri that follows high school student Midori who after dropping her wallet, befriends a tight-knit group of guys who never show up to class and end up getting into trouble. But when the school’s chairman figures out she has a job outside of school, he makes her a deal…get them back to class for upcoming exams and activities and he’ll help her get an alternative job approved by the school.
The only question is can she figure out why Rei Ichijo, Chihiro Goshima, & Yuki Nojo-Ieiri are so determined to stay away from school to figure out a solution in time?
There’s a lot of page-time given to developing Midori and the boys backstories which not only builds their character, but also makes it easy to see that they are not who they appear to be, which adds an element of mystery to the story as you learn more about them and learn why they feel so disconnected from school.
I like how the manga establishes the family ties / dynamics when it comes to the guys lives outside of school, especially since they come from wealthy families. Midori realizes she has to rebuild their reputation and to her surprise, she realizes how happy she is hanging out with Rei, Chihiro, Yuki and their adorable corgi! Since they were closed off to her in the beginning, its nice to see them build a solid friendship and offer Midori an unexpected hand along the way when she needs help.
While the romance can seem quite obvious as its building with Midori and Rei, the way the plot is unfolding is what’s really keeping me interested. This first volume really builds the relationships / friendship between the characters that makes Nogiri’s shojo manga stand out to me every time.
The artwork has a unique style to it, especially when it comes out through character designs. The paneling on each page never feels repetitive or under-utilized either which is a plus.
I think my biggest issue is that although the story has an interesting concept and the wonder behind where the cast’s stories will go is what’s keeping me invested, YET there’s no actual strong connection I feel for the cast in general. There was nothing too memorable (for me at least) that specifically stands out about their characters. There were times that the writing could be a bit repetitive at points and plain. So for me, it came across as a bit bland in the execution.
But I found this to be a lot of fun and am very interested to see where Midori and the boys next adventure will take them! Also, in true Yoko Nogiri fashion despite how cliche it may be, the ending always leaves on a surprising note!
Those Not-So-Sweet Boys Vol. 1 is an engaging, unique shojo, being the newest series from Yoko Nogiri! The artwork and plot especially will hold your interest, with the story giving lots of focus to the characters. Although the characters feel rather plain, it’s the page-turning story that will leave you wondering where the story is headed!
I’m also shouting a fellow book blogger review! I recommend reading Joanna at The Geekish Brunette‘s Review if you’re looking for a post that dives right into the characters and what to expect from them.