REVIEW: ‘Yakuza Lover,’ Volume 2

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Yakuza Lover Volume 2 - But Why Tho

Content Warning: Yakuza Lover Volume 2 and this review discuss sexual assault

VIZ Media has turned up the sexy, and they’re not stopping with Yakuza Lover Volume 2. Created, written, and beautifully illustrated by Nozomi Mino, Yakuza Lover is localized and published by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint with translation by Andria Cheng and touch-up art and lettering by Michelle Pang.

In Volume 1, feisty college student Yuri is attacked at a party and saved by yakuza underboss Toshiomi Oya. Having fallen head over heels for him, the end of the volume saw the two heading to Shanghai on vacation. Now in Yakuza Love Volume 2, their romantic getaway in Shanghai is cut short when sinister Russian mob boss Semilio kidnaps Yuri and tries to make her his own. But Yuri won’t be won over so easily and fights off his advances, and of course, Oya suddenly comes to her rescue. But that’s not all; we also get to see a glimpse of Oya at work as he confronts Semilio.

My only issue with Yakuza Love Volume 2 is that it’s hit the patch of storytelling that is all too common in josei romances. Creepy obsessive guy kidnaps female lead and threatens sexual violence. This is all done to build Oya’s dedication to Yuri and, in turn, showcase hers to him. To be honest, the scenes illustrated and the dialogue chosen by Mino for the scenes where Semilio holds Yuri captive are really disturbing. Not to mention the voyeuristic turn the sequence takes before Yuri escapes.

That said, Yakuza Lover Volume 2 shows a Yuri that has fully matured into her intimacy. She knows what she wants and how and isn’t the shy girl from Volume 1. In fact, one particular panel sounds like a line a yakuza underboss would say during sex and not the mild-mannered college student who was convincing herself that she couldn’t love a bad-boy type chapters ago.

For that alone, I’m in love with Yakuza Lover. While they do exist, it’s rather rare to find a josei romance lead who is so self-assured in her body and her sexuality that she puts demands on her partner. It’s refreshing, and I’m sure it’ll only get more so as the volumes continue. While the main story shows her taking control, it also showcases how she is still vulnerable in all of this.

While Mino does a great job of showcasing the woman that Yuri has become, she also manages to work in the fear that comes from well, falling in love with a yakuza underboss. There is danger and fear, but when they’re together, it all just works. Which brings me to the other point, Mino’s artwork is stunning. It’s sexual and sensual and somehow not graphic. It’s whimsical and sexy, and the detail on Oya’s tattoos are perfection.

All of that makes Yakuza Lover a series to pick up, especially for those looking to start their adult romance journey. Yakuza Lover Volume 2 may be a lot to handle, but it’s one I’m happy I picked up.

Yakuza Lover Volume 2 is available now wherever books are sold.


Yakuza Lover Volume 2
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TL;DR

All of that makes Yakuza Lover a series to pick up, especially for those looking to start their adult romance journey. Yakuza Lover Volume 2 may be a lot to handle, but it’s one I’m happy I picked up.