Title: Pet on Duty
Author: Nase Yamato
May Contain Spoilers
Mizuki has just lost his job due to it going bankrupt. Not wanting to go home a failure and be a burden to his family, he instead opts to move in with his older brother, Koichi. There’s a little catch, however – Koichi lives in a company dormitory, and outsiders are definitely not welcome! Forced to live in secret, the other residents of the fourth floor treat Mizuki like a pet cat. Well, all except for the scary, sullen Toru, who is always cold and indifferent to him. Can Mizuki win over his brother’s handsome roommate?
Pet on Duty is a sweet read, which drifts over into the realm of cheesiness, but never loses its charm. Mizuki is quiet and a little timid, and he just wants to be independent so he’s not a burden to anyone. His older brother doesn’t have a lot of patience for his mopey attitude, though he does try his best to help the younger man when he finds himself in trouble. He would really prefer that Mizuki go back home, because he believes that it is best for him, but Mizuki is stubborn, and he refuses to go home and grovel. Because he’s so gentle and kind, people enjoy having him around, and he’s doing his family a huge disservice by not going back to them.
Koichi’s roommate is the dark, brooding Toru. A workaholic, the salaryman doesn’t welcome the new distraction that’s just moved into their apartment. Mizuki can’t help but be drawn to him, and he goes out of his way to earn the other man’s regard. Most of his efforts backfire, and Toru ends up even more impatient with him than before. The two soon find some common ground, however, and all of the residents of the fourth floor watch with varying degrees of jealousy and amusement as the two begin to forge a close friendship.
Mizuki isn’t happy with just being Toru’s friend, and he longs for a closer relationship with him. As Mizuki’s love for Toru deepens, he finds himself wanting to do more and more for him. When they are alone, Toru is soft and gentle with him, but when the others are around, he’s stern and harsh. Poor Mizuki is confused by these changes in attitude toward him, and he struggles to put them into perspective. All the while, he’s trying desperately to land a new job so he can feel some self-worth again.
Populated with lots of diverse personalities, the residents of the dorm keep interfering with Mizuki’s attempts to get closer to Toru. They all played off of each other well, and they delighted in picking on the reserved Toru. Apart from the very silly premise of the book, the interaction between the characters is what made it a lot fun. Even the stuffy fifth floor residents, with their suspicions that their co-workers are hiding a pet cat, added much of the humor to the story. The chemistry between Mizuki and Toru was also cause for delight.
The illustrations work well with the story, though I found some of the panels a little on the cluttered side. Mizuki is cute and kitty like, often sporting a pair of cat ears. Facial expressions are clear and easy to read. I thought the story was pretty tame, until things became slightly spicier in the final chapter. We’re talking the difference between mild chilies and poblano peppers here; none of the action ever slides up to jalapeno on the heat scale.
Boysenberry delivers a solid product with Pet on Duty. I appreciate the care they lavish on their books. There’s a full color interior page featuring the characters in the book, as well as translation notes and a preview of Sex Friend. The book is well put together, and seems very substantial. I hate flimsy volumes that feel like they’ll fall apart after a few readings.
Rated for 18+
Review copy provided by Boysenberry Books