REVIEW: ‘Yakuza Lover,’ Volume 4

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Yakuza Lover Volume 4 - But Why Tho

Yakuza Lover has been bringing in the spice to VIZ Media line-up, but in Volume 4, the sexy is toned down, and Yuri’s ability to stand on her own in line with Oya instead of behind him is on full display. 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, Yuri was reunited with Oya and the bulk of the volume showcased the two savoring their first night back in each other’s arms until Yuri passes out from exhaustion. Now, in Yakuza Lover Volume 4, the sex has toned down as Oya is more occupied with his work. Still worried about the uncertain and dangerous future with Oya’s life as an Underboss, Yuri turns her worry into action by taking martial arts classes. Pushed by the hope to never be at another person’s mercy again and to be strong enough to stand by Oya’s side, Yuri’s story this volume is less about their relationship and more about who she is in it.

In addition to going through a dry spell of physical intimacy, Yuri and Oya’s relationship faces complications when Oya’s father, the boss of the syndicate, issues a warning to Yuri, demanding she cut ties with Oya and the yakuza. When Oya finds out, the situation becomes charged, but Yuri is the one in control. Her resolve in her relationship isn’t one that can be shaken even by a yakuza boss. While we’ve seen Yuri be determined and voice her wants and needs, Yakuza Lover Volume 4 shows her getting physical. Putting her self-defense training to good use, Yuri protects a local restaurant from a rival gang, holding her own until Oya’s father steps in.

Yuri is all fight and no flight. She’s not a deer in the headlights and as much as you would expect Oya and his family to be calling the shots for everything given their status, Yuri does what she wants. While the steamy sequences in Yakuza Lover are good enough to pick up the series for fans of steamy romance, Yuri’s characterization as a lead with agency is why I’ve fallen in love with it. And thankfully, each volume ups Yuri’s competency, fight, and ability to move through the world undeterred by others.

Sure, Yuri has some self-conscious moments and is vulnerable. But she’s never beholden to another person. Her worry for Oya is about love and not dependence. Her fight is for something she wants instead of something she’s coerced into.

That said, a mysterious woman enters the fray in Yakuza Lover Volume 4 and the stage is being set to add new challenges to the star-crossed couple’s growing love. And while I don’t hate this choice, it is one I worry will overtake the narrative. But only time will tell.  Until then, Yakuza Lover is an adult romance I want to see more of from VIZ Media and other publishers.

Yakuza Lover Volume 4 is available wherever books are sold March 1, 2022. 

Yakuza Love Volume 4


Yakuza Lover is an adult romance I want to see more of from VIZ Media and other publishers.