There will be spoilers for the OEL comic series Obnoxious Hero-kun.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to bullying, homomisia, violence, harassment, BDSM, fat-shaming, and sexual assault, as it appears in the comic.
Hiro is the perfect man, at least in his own mind. He has a slew of women vying for his attention, all of whom he dubs his “girlfriends.” He's got it all except one thing: experience. While he is popular with the ladies, he has yet to take the next step with any of them. He hasn't even kissed anyone yet! This is a well-kept secret… except from the aloof Takashi, one of Hiro's classmates. Somehow, Takashi can see right through Hiro's confident performance.
Hiro is determined to put Takashi in his place and ends up in a standoff with Takashi, daring Hiro to kiss him. This starts what Hiro sees as his ultimate high school friendship. After the kiss, Hiro finds himself watching Takashi all the time, in what he can only guess is admiration and the burgeoning flames of friendship. Meanwhile, Takashi seems all too keen to grow closer to Hiro in private but just as often pushes Hiro away. When Hiro discovers Takashi's fetish gear collection, will this tie them closer together, or will it keep them apart?
I must admit, I almost didn't purchase this collection when I saw the cover art. It's not as nice as it is in the series, which is pretty rare, as usually, the cover is the best depiction of the art. That isn't the case here. The art in the comic itself is much better, and I was so happy to see that. If the cover art is dissuading you from giving this a shot, don't let it. It's much, much cuter behind the cover. It's reminiscent of a typical manga style, which fits perfectly with the story, as it is a parody of yaoi and BL in general.
To delve deeper into the parody aspect of this, it is done exceptionally well. Hiro is the embodiment of the cocky playboy while simultaneously being a virgin. On the other end of the spectrum, Takashi is the ultimate tsundere with experience (though minimal). It's hilarious, and I found myself chuckling throughout the story. It's not as funny as my favorite, The Devil's Temptation, but it is certainly up there. With that being said, it isn't all giggles and laughs. There's actually some real heart in this, which is worth seeing. It does take time to get to the fluff and heart (as well as the smut), but it's worth the journey.
While parodying the genre is undoubtedly the focus, this really shines in the relationship between Takashi and Hiro. Hiro confusing romantic feelings for best friendship is just so cute and really makes him likable. Similarly, Takashi becomes much gentler and kinder than his public personality suggests. The stereotypes are leveraged to make these two all the more loveable. They go so deep onto each end of the spectrum that they come out on the other side, becoming way more human than they initially portray. They're still nonsensical and goofy but come together to tear down those exaggerated personas and form the sweetest couple.
It's also worth mentioning that there is some really fun uncensored smut in this (specifically the physical collection published by Seven Seas). It takes time to build up to it, but it is super fun once we get there. I especially love that both Hiro and Takashi top and bottom. Switching positions in BL and yaoi is super rare, so to have it so prevalently displayed in a parody is hilarious in its own way. It's great and really draws out different aspects of their relationship and who they are as characters. It's also nice to see them bumbling around and being awkward for their first time. It's a much more realistic portrayal than what we usually see, which, again, is hilarious since this is a parody. It's super satisfying all around.
I love this. This was such a pleasant surprise. I actually had to force myself to get this one, as I was super turned off by the cover art. This is a wonderful example of not judging a book by its cover because this is such a treat. It's chock full of humor, spice, and love. It doesn't get much better than this. I highly recommend this one for anyone looking for lighthearted BL.
Have you read Obnoxious Hero-kun? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!