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MY DEAR AGENT, VOL.1

Mangaka: Ebino Bisque (@ikaikedukuri)

Publisher: TOKYOPOP (@TOKYOPOP)


My Dear Agent vol.1 by Ebino Bisque

WHAT IS IT?

A strict body guard and his laid-back new co-worker must learn to not only work but live together in this new addition to TOKYOPOP’s LOVExLOVE collection.


Think Man on Fire meets Sanami Matoh’s FAKE


WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

(Minor Spoilers)

Riichi Aoyagi, age 27, is a professional bodyguard for the heir of a prominent company, and he takes his job seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it’s all he thinks about. He's never been on a date, never been in love, and never given anything other than work much thought. That changes when newcomer Mario Tachibana enters the picture.


Tall, suave, and lacking any sense of personal space, Tachibana has turned Riichi’s entire life upside down - especially since their boss is forcing them to live together until Tachibana can afford an apartment! It doesn’t help that Tachibana is relentlessly flirty and Riichi, who has zero experience in the world of dating, is starting to find himself distracted by his loud-mouthed new roommate.

Balancing this predicament of high-level professionalism during the day and falling in love while watching films at night, Riichi starts to question his once clear-cut lifestyle after decades of servitude to a prominent family. But when Nobuyasu, the young man they're charged with guarding, starts acting strange and the threats against his life begin piling up, Tachibana and Riichi must learn to communicate both on and off the job if they want to make it to the movie theater on time.


WHAT WORKS?

  • Bisque’s artwork is incredibly charming. The characters have soft features and highly expressive faces, and seeing their personalities come through both their professional and casual moments/styles adds a sense of realism to the narrative. The balance of detailed panels with soft shading and lovely line work, alongside classically exaggerated elements common in romcom manga, makes this a delight to read.

  • The story leans into its slice-of-life elements as much as it does its romance, and the small moments of action help add a dynamic flow to the story. The back and forth between their working days and personal lives are written with care, and allow readers to look at the world Bisque is creating with a pacing and timeline that makes sense.

  • When it comes to titles like this that have a lot of conversations, especially those done over a device like a headset or phone, having fonts and SFX choices that help reflect that is key, and the team at TOKYOPOP really nailed the choices to help sell those moments.

  • Though the romance itself moves a bit fast, the progression of their relationship is handled with care. Their time together is shown in a manner that is logical and shows development without dragging, and the moment of admission feels well deserved.

  • The majority of LOVExLOVE titles have a habit of regularly dropping somewhat out of place and abrupt sex scenes that feel rushed or placed simply for fan service’s sake. My Dear Agent handles this well, with a short sequence that makes doesn’t come across as forced. It’s short, sweet, and simple and is appropriate for the place Riichi and Tachibana’s relationship is at during the moment.

  • Riichi is a wonderful character with a well-developed personality and desires. His past is shown in small flashbacks, and his internal monologue helps round out his inexperience when it comes to relationships or feeling human, so his slow shift from a rigid and stone cold professional to a confused man falling in love with no idea how to handle it is sweet and touching.

  • The minor characters, especially Nobuyasu - the heir they’re hired to protect - are well fleshed out and add a lot to the narrative. Nobu’s lifelong relationship with Riichi helps add backstory and understanding to his personality, and the young man’s own hinted at crush lays the foundation for a secondary plot line in future volumes.

  • My Dear Agent has a familiar vibe in its writing that fans of similar manga titles like FAKE and Banana Fish will appreciate, but it doesn’t take itself as seriously which makes for an enjoyable, more lighthearted read that won’t leave you heartbroken at the end.

  • Tachibana looks like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, it’s really funny.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK?

  • CW: One quick scene of a sexual nature, sexual/adult themes, strong language, some mild violence. As usual, this LOVExLOVE title is not plastic wrapped so be warned that it does include many sexual themes and, despite its shoujo/cutesy art style, it is meant for adults.

  • Tachibana does suffer from a bit of the “overbearing love interest who won’t take no for an answer” syndrome. Though he can come across as a bit of a tease and less manipulative and aggressive than most, it is a tired trope and makes their relationship feel a bit forced at times, especially since Riichi’s inexperienced. This is redeemed some by how long it takes for them to admit their feelings, so it’s not an overnight switch.

My Dear Agent art and story by Ebino Bisque

WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

This new addition to TOKYOPOP’s LOVExLOVE collection will be an instant favorite for fans of the subgenera of BL manga that delves into the lives and relationships of those in protective services like Banana Fish, FAKE, and New York, New York, or even the highly underrated TOKYOPOP sci-fi series Hanger. The "will they/won’t they" dynamic between a proud professional with pent up desires and a cocky newcomer with a mysterious past is charming, comedic, and sweet. The world that Bisque has created is full of enjoyable characters with down-to-earth personalities that you’ll love getting to know and root for. It’s part buddy cop story, part romcom, and an immensely fun read all the way through.


Vol.1 of this new title released in print back in late May and looks damn good on a bookshelf. For those of you who can’t wait to see what happens next, you will be happy to know that vol.2 is already available in a digital edition and will be arriving in print on July 25th so you won’t have to wait long to see what happens next for Tachibana and Riichi. This is a fun addition to any BL fan’s library and a great option for those who want a more story driven, slow burn narrative with realistic comedy and just enough mystery and push/pull in their relationship to keep you guessing.

HOW DO I READ IT?

The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All Ebino Bisque characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Ebino Bisque or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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