My Dear Agent Volume 1 Review
This book contains sexual content and is intended for an audience aged 18 years and up.
The more time goes on, the more Tokyopop proves itself a publisher to keep an eye on as it brings us a selection of titles from newer mangaka like My Coworker Has a Secret!‘s creator Mushiro and those we’re well acquainted with, like the mind behind Welcome Back, Aureole! – Takatsu (Skip and Loafer). Today I’m here to take a look at My Dear Agent the debut work from Ebino Bisque. Does it prove interesting? Let’s find out!
The story follows professional bodyguard Riichi, who is currently the head of a team tasked with guarding Nobuyasu Tougen, the son of a powerful conglomerate with plenty of enemies. Nobuyasu is a difficult client with a habit of escaping his bodyguards or getting himself into trouble the moment his unit takes their eyes off him so Riichi’s days demand focus and attention to detail.
Riichi takes his role seriously and is known for being the best at what he does in the team, but his routine is thrown into chaos when he’s suddenly told to coach newbie Tachibana. The rookie is far more laidback than you’d usually expect, leading to no end of trouble for Riichi. On top of that, Tachibana declares he currently has no money left to spend on renting a place and ends up moving in with Riichi.
At first, Tachibana and Riichi do nothing but bicker, but as they spend more time together, both in and outside of work, it’s clear that there’s some chemistry between them. In their downtime (and even sometimes on the job!) Tachibana flirts relentlessly with Riichi, asking if they can go on a date as a reward if he takes down enough targets in a day and so on. Riichi ignores him at first, simply wishing he would put as much effort into his job as he does into everything else, but it’s not long before he finds himself looking forward to the time he spends with Tachibana off the clock…
My Dear Agent is a romance series, but surprisingly there’s a lot of depth to the story outside of any blossoming relationship between Tachibana and Riichi. Because of their work, we spend a lot of time on the job with Nobuyasu, seeing first-hand the difficulties he faces and the problems he gets embroiled in (including those of his own making). Our two leads have quite different relationships with their client, too. Riichi, despite having protected Nobuyasu since they were children, keeps a professional distance while Tachibana immediately makes friends with him, something Riichi is often seen scolding the rookie for while wishing he had that kind of friendship with him too.
Mangaka Ebino Bisque has done a great job of balancing the ‘work life’ element of the series alongside the romance. There’s a lot of depth to the cast and narrative, something I wasn’t expecting from a series only two volumes long. There is a lot packed in here and it’s to Bisque’s credit that neither the bodyguard storyline nor the romance feels rushed or overlooked throughout the book.
The artwork is easy on the eyes with plenty happening in the backgrounds and good expressions for the main cast. It’s easy to see why Tachibana is interested in Riichi, given his handsome features, even if it’s hard to imagine him as a bodyguard with his slender build. Tachibana, too, is charming but does look more like what you’d expect when you think of a professional in this field with his more muscular body. Either way, it certainly left me wanting to see more of this creator’s work in the future.
As previously mentioned, My Dear Agent Volume 1 comes to the West thanks to Tokyopop under their LOVE x LOVE LGBTQIA+ imprint and has been translated by Katie Kimura. The translation reads well and I think Kimura has done well to convey how different the two main characters are in terms of the vocabulary they use and how Riichi’s professionalism slowly slips away as he gets more flustered by Tachinbana’s actions.
Volume 1 of the series is currently available digitally with a physical release following on May 23rd. Volume 2 (the final volume) of the series is already available digitally with a paperback to follow on July 25th.
Overall, My Dear Agent Volume 1 proves itself another strong entry in Tokyopop’s LOVE x LOVE LGBTQIA+ line. A lot is going on here narratively, but mangaka Ebino Bisque proves she can skilfully balance the various strands while delivering a work that’s charming and far more interesting than you’d first expect. Hopefully, the second volume can live up to the high quality we’ve seen on display here.