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Title: Nosatsu Junkie #1
Author: Ryoko Fukuyama
May Contain Spoilers
Naka, rejected by an upper-classman because of her scary smile, curses her family’s genetic failings. Everyone in her family looks like an ax-murderer when showing their pearly whites. When the object of her affections confesses that he likes super popular model, Umi, because she smiles like a flower, Naka vows to become a model herself! If she can learn the secret of Umi’s smile, her picture will be plastered in magazines, and her crush will soon come crawling back to her!
After failing 19 auditions, she earns the nickname, Longshot. Even after studying Umi’s every move, Naka still looks like a criminal on the lam when she smiles. Then fortune smiles at her! Umi drops her id card, and Naka learns her career threatening secret. In order to shut her up, Umi gets her a job. Will Naka ever learn to tame her scary smile?
Though it certainly doesn’t cover any new ground, Nosatsu Junkie was a pleasant read. Naka’s affliction was amusing; she was constantly confused for a convenience store robber due to her evil smile. I’m confused why she had to smile, as a quick glance through an Abercrombie catalog reveals page upon page of glowering models posed in a variety of unnatural positions. Anyhoo…
When Umi drops her id card for Mino Proctology (she’s experiencing some vague problem with her bottom), Naka learns the shocking truth about her. Umi is really, get ready for this, a guy! Yes, I think this is the 3rd book about models where someone has to cross dress for whatever screwy reason. When Umi went to watch his neighbor at her first modeling job, she lost her nerve and ran screaming from the set. Umi was quickly recruited to take her place, and was an overnight sensation. Enjoying all of the attention and adoration, he continued with the charade.
As Umi and Naka are thrown together, both on jobs and at auditions, they slowly begin fostering confusing feelings for each other. Even as Umi bullies her, Naka wants to protect his secret. When a snide photographer has Umi’s confidence in tatters, Naka wants to protect him from the overly-critical Tsutsumi. Umi rages with jealousy whenever Naka mentions Tsutsumi’s name. They seem to bring out the best abilities of the other, despite not being sure if they even like each other. I am looking forward to watching their tangled relationship sort itself out, and I think they make a really cute couple.
The art is simple, without a lot of background noise. I like the character designs, and their facial expressions never leave any question as to how they feel. Ryoko Fukuyama’s strength is revealing her characters’ emotions, with just a slight curve of their lips, or the crease of their brows speaking volumes to the reader.
This was a fun first volume, and I’m looking forward to the next.
Recommended for Teen 13+