Back in March, manga publisher Kodansha Comics brought office romance Sweat and Soap to the West. While the title and the cover of the book were somewhat off-putting, what we found beyond that was a relatable and promising love story. Now I’m back to check out Volume 2 and see if it continues to be a worthwhile read.
As we reunite with our two lovebirds, we find Asako talking to Kotaro’s assistant Korisu Ichise. She’s been summoned by Asako to go through some expenses and clear up any issues, but as the two talk, Asako begins to wonder if Korisu secretly harbours feelings for Kotaro! Meanwhile, Korisu is eager to find out how Asako knows Kotaro, given they come from completely different departments and yet seem familiar with one another…
So far Asako hasn’t felt comfortable letting anyone at work know about her and Kotaro. The difference in their status is simply too great, not to mention the fact Asako has so many confidence issues. However, when the company goes on an overnight trip, Asako’s boss suddenly finds out about their relationship.
Thankfully, Asako’s boss learning the truth doesn’t change anything in her or Kotaro’s daily lives. Seeing how someone reacts to the news gives Asako newfound confidence that perhaps it would be okay for others to eventually learn about her and Kotaro.
While the first half of Sweat and Soap Volume 2 focuses on Asako’s office life, the second half gives us the chance to meet our protagonist’s family for the first time. Asako returns home to visit but also plans to tell her mother and brother about her relationship. While the news is well received by her mother, her brother Keita is a different story.
While Keita is younger than Asako he acts more like an older brother. He’s protective of his sister who was regularly bullied in school and worries that a handsome man like Kotaro is just trying to take advantage of her. No matter how much Asako reassures him that Kotaro is a perfectly sweet man, Keita decides he must meet this boyfriend for himself and put him to the test.
The nice thing about this volume of Sweat and Soap is that it gives Asako a lot of development. Seeing her with her family as well as handling Korisu as part of her accounting job gives us a glimpse of how she’s changed since Kotaro came into her life. She’s still quiet and worries about how others perceive her, but her confidence is growing a lot too.
Despite having another fairly steamy cover, Sweat and Soap Volume 2 continues to offer a wholesome romance. There are some sexual scenes in the first chapter, but beyond that, the series focuses on the development of the characters instead of the romance (although there are plenty of cute scenes).
I’m glad the series has found a nice balance between being a fluffy romance and fan service-heavy. There is a lot of depth to be found here and that’s going to be the driving force behind keeping readers coming back for more. I’m certainly hooked!
As previously mentioned, Sweat and Soap Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Kodansha Comics and has been translated by Matt Treyvaud. The translation reads well with no issues to note. Kodansha currently has Volume 3 of the series scheduled for release in August.
Overall, Sweat and Soap Volume 2 continues to offer a heart-warming and relatable read. A lot happens in this instalment and it’s rewarding seeing how much the cast grows from it. If you enjoyed Volume 1, then you’ll certainly want to read more of this delightful manga.