Sweet Life (Amai Seikatsu)

(Contains no book-by-book synopses because (1) I don't feel like it, and (2) might get a little too graphic :-)
Sweet Life is still running in Business Jump!

Overview: Sweet Life is one of those rare Japanese adult manga that actually tends to look at things from the feminine perspective (not that men would find the pages boring to look at, mind you). The main character is 25 (26 now) year old Wakamiya Yumika, an executive secretary at a women's underwear manufacturing corporation. She happens to have the orthogonal traits of wearing just the right underwear in just the right way, being a neatnik, and having a culturally-induced inferiority complex because of her age (25 is an Old Maid, I guess). The hero is Edo Shinsuke, a 21 year old man who just happens to be a genius at making women's underwear. Moreover, with just a glance, he can guess a woman's sizes, and just a touch lets him figure out what brand the underwear is, and so on. His problem is that women unexpectedly seem to adore his touch --- and he has no clue why. In fact, he's generally clueless. That's the basis of the plot.

As one might expect, the story revolves around Yumika's efforts to get Shinsuke's attention. Of course, since concepts of love and that sort of thing are completely incomprehensible to Shinsuke, she has problems. And, since all the other women who have ever been "measured" by him also want him, she has lots of competition. Egging her on is the fact that she's still unmarried at 25 (26). Her father wants to see her happily married --- just not to Edo Shinsuke. Her mother, though, is all for it, and frequently allies against her husband (the poor guy looks so overwhelmed lately).

Shinsuke, on the other hand, can't figure out why all these women keep following him around. He likes Yumika as a friend --- who occasionally does things he can't understand --- but, other than a desire to make good underwear for them, has absolutely no interest in women. Zero. Zilch. Nada. He's otherwise devoted to his trade (which gets him rapidly promoted at his company), and Yumika and her number one rival spend much of their time trying to help him out "for the good of the company". (Interesting cultural note: yes, the two rivals for Shinsuke's attention are willing to put aside their conflict purely for the "good of the company.")

The characters are cute. You might expect to find their faces in a young teen manga. The situations, while adult, are mostly harmless --- and if any gender is taken advantage of, it's the male gender (as a result of all these women trying various ploys to catch Shinsuke). The humor is amusing. And Edo Shinsuke, though clueless, is still basically a nice boy (his all-female family, however, is scary).

Perhaps the main failure of the manga is the author's amnesia. He has occasionally written scenes that he then seems to forget about, and goes on to write contradictory material. Or he writes a plot that never gets resolved. Aside from these flaws, however, the manga is overall rather funny and amusing to read. One of the few gems in the biweekly Business Jump magazine.

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