I admit I have a soft spot for stories that depict a book-loving protagonist. So what could be better than this new release from Tokyopop’s LOVE x LOVE list which is set in a bookstore? Let’s find out if the manga proves an interesting read.
The story follows Yagi who is a goat that loves books more than anything. Not only does he enjoy reading books, but also eating them which makes his dream of working in a bookstore difficult to accomplish. After being refused by all the bookshops in the herbivore zone of Yagi’s home country, he’s forced to look into stores in the carnivore zone. Here he finally finds a job working for Ookami, a wolf who owns a bookstore.
While Yagi’s parents worry about him and wish he’d return to the herbivore zone, it’s safe to say that Yagi is having a great time working there. Yagi gets on well with his coworker Chita, author Kuma and Shimafukurou-san, Kuma’s agent. Not only is Yagi passionate about books, but he’s good at his job and sales at Ookami’s store steadily improve as time goes on (although this is also partly due to the novelty of a herbivore working there). The only problem is that Yagi often can’t resist taking a bite of the merchandise!
Despite the fact that Yagi occasionally munches on the stock, Ookami has a soft spot for the boy and values his talent to be able to taste the story within every book he eats. This ability allows Yagi to experience stories in a whole new way besides simply reading them; after all, the taste of the paper doesn’t lie and will express an author’s true intent behind the words contained within.
While this might all sound like a comfortable slice-of-life series so far, there is still some drama since Ookami is secretly in love with Yagi. On top of this, Ookami constantly worries that Yagi will be hurt by a carnivore and that does eventually happen, leading him to consider firing Yagi to keep him safe. That’s what a large chunk of the book ends up being about, as well as exploring the reason Yagi fell in love with books in the first place.
As far as single-volume stories go, I think Yagi the Bookshop Goat manages to accomplish everything it sets out to do. Even though the story has quite a large cast of characters, it fleshes everyone out. I also appreciate that although we have a herbivore and carnivore working together, it never goes in any kind of creepy direction where anyone wants to eat Yagi. Ookami in particular is very gentle, considering he’s a wolf.
Yagi the Bookshop Goat is written and drawn by mangaka Fumi Furukawa, who has several single-volume boys’ love titles to their name but this is the first to make it to the English market. Furukawa’s artwork is adorable while also depicting the animal characteristics of the cast in realistic ways. They tend to draw in quite small panels, which are sometimes overfilled with speech bubbles, leaving little space for the art which leads to a cluttered feeling. But, besides that, I do like the approach overall since it focuses on the expressions of the cast more than anything else.
As previously mentioned, Yagi the Bookshop Goat comes to the West thanks to Tokyopop and is currently available digitally with a physical release planned for April 2022. The book has been translated by Katie Kimura and the translation reads well with no issues to note. Although this title largely presents itself as being fairly family-friendly there are a couple of explicit sex scenes which make it unsuitable for the younger audience, which is a shame given how charming it is.
Overall, Yagi the Bookshop Goat proves a heartwarming read about a protagonist who just wants to spend his days peacefully surrounded by books. If you’re looking for a new single-volume story in the Boys’ Love genre then this one should certainly be on your list!