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Satisfaction Guaranteed, Volume 1 by Ryo…

Satisfaction Guaranteed, Volume 1

by Ryo Saenagi

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18 year old Shima has a mission in life to carry on his father's tradition of solving mysteries. This is slightly complicated by his overwhelming fear of fire after losing his parents in one. When Shima is contacted by 16 year old Kaori through his Anything Agency website he is surprised to find he is working for teen supermodel Kyo who is Kaori's alter-ego. Kyo is being stalked and it's up to Shima to find out who the stalker is. During the case Kaori and Shima both find in each other a stability that helps shore up their own personal insecurities leading Shima to take on Kaori as a partner in solving mysteries.

I felt this was a passably interesting start to what could be a very interesting series as it goes on. It is hard for me not to compare Shima to Ao from Psychic Power Nanaki (Rya Saenagi's prematurely ended trilogy) and find him a bit lacking since I really liked Ao. I also felt that the relationship, and we're talking friendship not BL, between the leads was rather rushed. They went from barely knowing each other to depending on each other in the space of a page and a half. Some of the cases seemed a bit on the corny side as well.

Overall I did enjoy this first volume enough to want and continue on and I feel as though it may get better as it goes along. ( )
  Jenson_AKA_DL | Jan 14, 2009 |
I admit I've always liked Saenagi, despite all the flaws. And it's not a mater of having many flaws but some really well done stuff to make up for it (besides the art in her later work, and even that's not flawless) either. Her work really is just all around mediocre. She uses cliché character archetypes and barely expands upon them. Really unoriginal plots for her detective-type stories. Nothing is complex, nothing is new. I figure it's the kind of thing that people who are ok with these sort of paint-by-numbers detective stories might be decently entertained by, but me?

But... I like the way she does her slash. That is, occasional cross dressing aside, the boys aren't femenized. Slashiness comes from the characters being interested or concerned with one another, but they still interact like guys. And Saenagi tries to make her males *mean something* to one another. With so many of the purposefully slashy series these days featuring girly guys who simper over and flirt with one another in an entirely un-guy-like fashion, just doing this (plus the pretty art, the tendency to add in a little supernatural/fantasy stuff, and the charming-even-for-their-unoriginality characters) is enough for Saenagi to be a guilty pleasure of mine.

All the same, I did not expect to like Yorozuya. It's the story of Shima, a sort of freelance detective. In the first chapter he's hired by Kaori, a male model around his age. Kaori's has developed an alternate personality called Kyo he uses when modeling, but he feels comfortable being himself (Kaori) when with Shima, so when his little case is solved he ends up deciding to be part of Shima's detective agency. This must be the most popular of her works with how long it ran, but it doesn't have any of the fun magical/fantasy elements that made her other series a little more fun, and the main characters seem to get along wonderfully from the get go. I liked the tension from the clashing personality types in Sequence and Nanaki. Again, cliche, yes, but I LIKE IT, and reading Saenagi is about getting what I like. The art isn't that great (though flipping through later volumes, it eventually gets to the point it's at in her later series). The main squee point, I guess you could say, is how Kaori and Shima supposedly feel so good and comfortable with each other, but it's a complete mystery how this happened. They were mostly just generally friendly with each other, what's with all the dedication? Saenagi has never had huge finesse when setting up her character relationships, but the way this one went is just WAY too fast. On top of that, these characters just aren't as quirky and fun as ones in later Saenagi series.

The interactions with APP, a rival detective introduced later in the volume, do make things pick up a bit, though. It started being genuinely a little fun to read rather than just a bore. Still, I come to Saenagi series for cute slashy interaction between the main characters, not somewhat fun but mostly bland detective stories. With later volumes having more APP appearances and probably just Saenagi improving in general (this is her first series), I'm willing to bet later volumes of this will be better. Still, at the price a translated volumes come at these days, I probably won't be continuing in English. I've got the rest of the series dirt cheap used in Japanese, so maybe I'll get through that one when my Japanese reading is fast enough to breeze through it. If my language skills never happen to make it to that point, I'll probably not pick this one up again. ( )
  narwhaltortellini | Apr 18, 2008 |
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