Things are steamy over at Shojo Beat from VIZ Media with Yakuza Lover Volume 3. With plastic wrap to keep in all the naughties, this volume goes places I hope every josei will – female lead agency. Yakuza Lover is 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.
Last volume, I was worried about the direction that the series was going. Falling quickly into the kidnapping trope prevalent in josei romances (and of course yakuza romances across both het-romances and BL), it was a misstep in a romance that had been both steamy and filled with agency. That said, in Yakuza Lover Volume 3, Yuri is reunited at last with Oya. And in the best ways, the two savor their first night back in each other’s arms by making love until Yuri passes out from exhaustion. And the best part? She’s leading the session by being vocal about what she wants, which allows her to show sexual competence and confidence that truly makes her one of my favorite josei protagonists.
To be clear, Yakuza Lover is a Mature-rated title, but it also serves as a good entry point to mature romance manga. Half of that is due to Yuri’s ability to both be hopelessly in love and also know that she has power in her relationship. The other half? I mean, just look at the featured image above; the art is sublime. Plus, Mino has the ability to make scenes overtly sexual without losing the intimacy between Oya and Yuri. To put it simply, the couple’s dynamic grows even in those scenes.
But while the first half of Yakuza Lover Volume 3 focuses on Oya and Yuri not leaving each other’s embrace, the last half shows what happens when the two return from Shang-hai and back to reality. Of course, Yuri returns to her normal life in Japan, but it isn’t long before Oya comes to whisk her away and shake it all up. When he takes her to a private villa, Yuri believes it’s so the two of them can get a second chance at a carefree summertime romp together. But it soon becomes clear that Oya has something else on his mind, and she has to begin a new adjustment to life.
Overall, Yakuza Lover Volume 3 is just great and the answer for adult readers looking for easily attainable romances from VIZ Media that focus on an adult relationship with more adult themes. I love shoujo and the yearning they bring, but an adult josei title with a yakuza bad boy and a woman who knows what she wants just hits different. And with not many physical English translations of josei romance titles (het-romances specifically) readily available from large publishers, I hope that Yakuza Lover allows for more in that description to get greenlit for release.
Yakuza Lover Volume 3 is available wherever books are sold on December 7, 2021.
Yakuza Lover Volume 3
Overall, Yakuza Lover Volume 3 is just great and the answer for adult readers looking for easily attainable romances from VIZ Media that focus on an adult relationship with more adult themes. I love shoujo and the yearning they bring, but an adult josei title with a yakuza bad boy and a woman who knows what she wants just hits different. And with not many physical English translations of Mature-romance titles available, I hope that Yakuza Lover allows for more in that description to get greenlit for release.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.