Tokyopop’s LOVE x LOVE imprint is making a splash as it continues to offer a wide selection of romance titles ranging from sweet to spicy stories. Today I’m taking a look at another of their Boys’ Love titles, Puppy Love, which presents itself as another cute manga. Does it deliver? Let’s find out!
The story follows protagonist Inukai, who is overworked and unappreciated at his workplace. He vows to find a new job, but with no time to job-hunt, he’s stuck in this dangerous routine of working all the time and having no time to look after himself. Finally, after working every day for two weeks without a break, Inukai gets two days off and goes shopping for food. While out, he passes a pet shop and meets Hoshi who’s carrying a puppy around and asks if Inukai would like to hold it.
This encounter with Hoshi soothes Inukai’s troubled heart and he’s reminded of his long-held dream of owning a dog himself; this, in turn, motivates him to finally start looking for a better job. And on the rare occasion Inukai gets a day off, he visits the pet shop and enjoys chatting with Hoshi.
Meanwhile, Hoshi finds himself quickly becoming friends with Inukai thanks to his ‘nostalgic smell’. At the beginning of the book, we see a small white dog being looked after by a young boy and, as it turns out, this dog was Hoshi in his past life. Now he wonders if Inukai is the one who looked after him then and if so, he’d love to spend the rest of his life by Inukai’s side.
By the time we reach Chapter 2, Inukai has joined a new company and his quality of life has improved tremendously. Now he’s finally ready to take on a puppy and with Hoshi’s help, chooses Cotton Candy, a small pomeranian. Both Inukai and Hoshi are incredibly fond of Cotton Candy and the two young men spend even more time together as they bond over the dog. Hoshi is always there when Inukai needs advice and Inukai is more than willing to walk Cotton Candy with Hoshi or simply share the adorable pictures he takes of his new family member.
The big problem brewing is that Inukai has no recollection of ever looking after a dog as a child and even when he asks his mother about it, she remembers plenty of animals being brought home by her son but never a dog. Inukai is also reluctant to tell Hoshi the truth, given how grateful his friend is for this relationship in his past life. Things only become further complicated when Hoshi moves in to help look after Cotton Candy while Inukai works overtime.
Although mangaka Haru Tsuchida has been creating Boys’ Love manga since 2014, this is her first series to make it into the English market. This is also one of her newer titles, having been released in 2020 in Japan, which I think comes through in the artwork which is polished and suitably cute to match the theme of the story.
I especially like how Inukai’s design changes across the first two to three chapters. He starts out looking like a “zombie” (as Hoshi politely puts it) and eventually transitions into looking as if he belongs in the land of the living. Tsuchida pays special attention to Cotton Candy too, who steals the spotlight, even if he’s not the focus of a given scene. He’s always in the background doing something or other and, thanks to Hoshi’s past life, he’s able to communicate with dogs which make for some funny scenes between him and Cotton Candy as they discuss Inukai.
Certainly, if you’re looking for a single volume fluffy romance then this will be perfect for you. The storyline is neatly wrapped up by the end of the book too, which is always a bonus, since single-volume manga often end up feeling rushed or leaving loose ends behind.
As previously mentioned, this release comes to the West thanks to Tokyopop and has been translated by Christine Dashiell. The translation reads fine with no issues to note. This release is currently available digitally with a print release to follow in June.
Overall, Puppy Love is a delightful story about two doggy lovers and how one simple encounter can change your whole life. If you like the sound of the premise, then you’ll certainly have a great time reading this one!