Welcome to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss Romance Manga. Today we’re covering volume 2 of Boss Wife by Mayu Sakurai — the continuing saga of a wholesome married couple united in a life of crime.
Quick heads-up, y’all: today’s roundtable touches on a brief scene depicting sexual violence. We aren’t including any images from that scene, but we know some folks might still prefer to sit this convo out! Letting y’all know right at the top just in case.
CC: I am so ready to talk about volume 2 of Boss Wife!!! whew what a book this is
Ashley: I just wanna say, I’m sorry i missed out on talking about vol 1 with y’all but very glad we decided to continue with this one!!! I liked it a lot
CC: yeah me too!!!! I really like this title!
to catch the folks at home up, Boss Wife 2 follows Mio, who recently married her high school flame Yamato after they cross paths again 14 years later – only it turns out that Yamato is a member of the yakuza, and trying to become the head of the family to dissolve their organization and turn it legit
also in volume 1: boob. lotta boob.
Rachel: Addendum: everybody is hot
CC: i love when books do this
bless u Boss Wife Vol. 2
Ashley: Very convenient and fun
In contrast to vol 1 (lots of tiddy), vol 2 has some very sweet flashbacks to “i know not of tiddy”
CC: yeah truly, tiddy prologue volume
Rachel: This book did also have more focus on Mío’s art ambition also, which I appreciated!
CC: also some great art crit from the head goon
CC: would love to be a fly on the wall for that yakuza brand focus group testing
so last time we hoped we’d get to see a butt but I guess it was not in the cards this time!
and no punching a bad guy til they weren’t evil anymore!!!
Rachel: So disappointed about it
CC: yeah but at least there’ll be a volume 3
so maybe that’s the one with all the butts
Ashley: i think there’s high likelihood of bad guy punching in vol 3 too
CC: oh yeah i’m ready for this guy 2 get punched
Rachel: He definitely deserves it!!
CC: idk if our boy yamato can punch him good but at least i am pretty sure he’s cruisin for a bruisin
Rachel: I hope the sisters KOs him
Ashley: i really would love to see the sister ACTUALLY gut him like a fish
very predictably, she’s my fave, what a weirdo badass lol
CC: she has my vote to assume the role of head of the family
Rachel: Oh for sure
Ashley: that would be a very fun twist
CC: idk how much y’all wanna talk about it but i was not expecting sexual violence in this book!!! which has been so thoroughly wholesome for pretty much its entirety that I was really taken off guard by it!!!!
just wholesome spouses boning tenderly and then bam
Ashley: yeah… honestly though, i might not have fully picked up on it right away without rachel warning us
i do think (for better or worse) it’s sort of intentionally contrasted with yamato & mio’s good sex to build the brother-in-law up as a villian
Jenny: agreed — i think it was built to set up the brother-in-law as a foil, but i don’t think it was really necessary, esp considering all the other ways they already did that
Ashley: agree, jenny
Jenny: sucked to see the sister in that situation too — all the more reason she has my vote to gut him and take over the family
Ashley: what we’re talking about, for clarity, is a brief 2-page scene where yamato’s rival, shirosaki, who is married to yamato’s sister, akari, forces his akari into rough-seeming sex ( i say seeming because it’s not graphic and is mostly told through dialogue, face close-ups, and sound effects)
CC: yeah and this book really gets into it with the sound effects during sex scenes, kinda hilariously in the more tender ones between Mio and Yamato
love the earnestness with which “smooch” and “pant” are used as sound effects in this book
Jenny: oh +1
Ashley: lol for real
smooch noise was never so sexy
CC: it’s just nice to see a married couple that can’t keep their hands off each other!!! (re: mio & yamato)
love it!!! love to see it!!!! good for them!!!!!
Ashley: hehehe mio’s horny reactions are invariably SO GOOD
Rachel: I love it!! She has the best reaction faces
CC: it’s so cute!!!
also going back to your point Ashley
about the tiddy vs pre tiddy eras of this book
in this flashback
CC: LOL my dude you are about to learn (in 14 years)
Rachel: LOL good for him!!!
He found out!
Ashley: when fucking around and finding out is actually a good thing……..
CC: L O L
see like there is a scene with this rando who may or may not be yamato’s ex and she makes THIS comment:
CC: it’s just like, girl i think he’s making due
of all the problems this couple COULD have, this seems like entirely a non starter hahahahaha
Ashley: this man has a mouthful of wife tiddy at all times and really, how much more than that do you need
Rachel: Yeah he seems like he is having a Good Time
Ashley: also i LOVE that these are our oldest romantic leads yet (??) in romance roundtable
CC: 30 and 32!!!!!!!! right??????
Ashley: these horny kids are in their actual THIRTIES we love to see it!!!
look at this age appropriate relationship between two hot adults
Rachel: So nice and refreshing
Ashley: it’s just like YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE 22 TO HAVE A GOOD SEX LIFE
sometimes your best sex life STARTS well past your twenties! this is fine and good!
Rachel: I wanna do like sky writing of that
Rachel: So the people know
CC: whomst is having the best sex of their lives in their early 20s
i guess that’s why it’s so present in fiction LOL
Jenny: but that’s not all!
not just sex!
Jenny: found! family!!
we love to see it
jenny i think you picked out my favorite panel of the whole book
Ashley: this scene really hit, genuinely! a lot led up to this moment!
CC: honestly I also REALLY loved
when she talks about her dad
lemme find my screenshot
Ashley: ooo i know which one this is hehe
CC: darker than I expected this manga to get!!!
Ashley: like, damn we’re getting into some Real Shit!!
CC: i like that she’s not just like, idk, “we are family & i cannot be angry and also still a good person”
she is still mad!!! for good reason!!!! and still has complicated feelings about her dad!!! hold that grudge mio u deserve it
u deserve the luxury of not having to drop it, just feel those messy feelings LOL
Ashley: we love this complex, fully formed adult who is finding ways to process the trauma in her life in healthy ways!!!
CC: this book has so many of my favorite tropes
messy adult feelings
i l o v e i t
Ashley: i really love it
i also love that she’s actually still at a beginner stage with her art, instead of a genius right off the bat
Rachel: Oh yeah for sure!
It’s her dream but she’s working at it
Ashley: but her husband is like “i will personally blow up the sistine chapel to make room for your art”
CC: you love to see it
hashtag going steady
Ashley: HAHAHA yes
CC: i think the one downside to this book
or at least this vol; I didn’t notice it as much in vol 1
but did anybody else find some of the localization a bit awk?
Ashley: oh yes haha
Ashley: not the mangaka’s fault, of course
CC: a blue raccoon dog? i thought doraemon was a cat but lol idk
Rachel: Honestly my biggest beef with this book (and the previous one) was the transitions
Things just kind go and as a reader I felt like I was always trying to make connections that weren’t clear
This is a hard thing with the medium generally – how much time do you take to make action or feelings explicit vs implied
But I think this comic specifically leaned to much on implication
Ashley: yeah… very interesting point! i think even just a little decompression in between scenes would have gone a long way
although i do also think this strategy worked to good advantage in the troubling scene
i agree with jenny that sexual violence wasn’t NECESSARY and probably not even the best fit for this book
however, i also have strong feelings/preferences about how those types of things should be depicted in comics when they are there, and i think this came close
CC: I totally agree but also one other interesting thing – did y’all see that author’s note at the end of the book? about how this book was originally digital-only? wonder if that contributed to the pacing (if it was originally published in a more spread out format than traditional manga chapters etc)
Ashley: yes, i did! and i wondered that too
as the Old who has yet to read webtoons because the format is jarring to me lol
Rachel: Hahaha that’s does make sense to me
Although the format doesn’t seem mobile friendly
CC: yeah agreed
so there’s one more thing I really wanna touch on which is like
the big flashback to these beautiful protags as babbies
what did y’all think
i though it was weirdly paced but as you know, I Love Pining so i am here for it
Longing!!! augh! i love to see it. ;__;
Ashley: i agree that it could have been paced better but i really loved the flashbback
i liked seeing it from yamato’s perspective, and seeing how sweet and boyish and tender he really was, because i feel like that helps me see him the way mio does
Rachel: Ah that’s a great point! As readers we were basically introed to him as a yakuza
CC: i also loved the big bro
CC: this is legit something Kazuma Kiryu from the Yakuza video game franchise either would do or has done
i am/was a complete sucker for the dead protective older brother
i even teared up a bit when mio speaks to him at his altar
Rachel: That was so sweet!!
CC: i know!!!
what did y’all think about her drawing
of the fam in theoretical better times
(I don’t have a screenshot of this unfortunately tho!)
i thought it was corny but very sweet and i appreciated it
Ashley: we love the art history homage
also, way cooler than the actual print of the original my family had in the dining room lol
Rachel: Yeah I think it was very sweetly meant but if I received it then I probably would be concerned about the level of naïveté she has in her perception of my mafia family haha
Like picturing the sister and yakuza husband rival as a loving couple
Ashley: well i mean, i think the yakuza family drama does kind fit the inspiration
CC: LOL OMG
Ashley: but yeah, that does feel a little tone deaf on the part of the artist, rachel
(not necessarily mio herself since she doesn’t know about That Scene)
CC: yeah i guess it does! i mean agree Rachel re: the bro in law + his wife fitting in there but what a mood overall
also ty jenny!!!
what a wild ride this book is
idk if we want to keep covering it — who knows how many volumes there will be when all is said and done — but i’m definitely planning on keeping on following it!
i just gotta know how things will end
Ashley: me too, omg. the cliffhanger!!!!!!!!!
Rachel: Well do y’all wanna do final thoughts??
CC: oh yeah I’m down!
ok if y’all don’t mind me going first here
my final thought is
CC: love to see my artistic process represented in comics form LOL
Ashley: HAHAHA yessssssssssss
CC: as a person who wrote a comic once where the premise was “what if your friend’s crappy boyfriend was a good dude”
anything can happen in art!!!
Rachel: It’s true!!!
Make the art you wanna see!
CC: love 2 process my own dissonance on the page!!! L O L
“what if people were kinder”
“what if a babby law student and a himbo toppled a mega corp”
Jenny: kind of on that note, i’ve got my final thought
what if you just marry your hype man
Jenny: it’s sound advice, i think, actually
Rachel: Yes!!! Ultimate wife guy!!
Jenny: it’s true!
but also it should go both ways!
he does look incredibly handsome! she’s right and she should say it!
it’s nice that they both love and support each other
and that they’re both just super into each other
Jenny: but also yeah def wife guy
Ashley: yes! this is the secret to life
CC: i love this so much
good for them
Ashley: my final thought is that i am really hoping for an italian honeymoon chapter with this vibe
Rachel: LOL I’ve seen this couple!! I saw one were she was making spaghetti and broke the noodles in half
Ashley: HAHAHA yes
CC: SHE’S THAT ONE
Ashley: omfg i lose it every time
CC: ““”MY LOVE”“”
““”WHAT ARE YOU D O I N G”“”
Ashley: hahahahhahahahahahahahha yessss
CC: omg this long suffering man
CC: next video is gonna be
“telling my italian husband i ate cold ravioli out of the can”
Ashley: LMAOOOOOO omg noooo
i’ve actually watched their whole tiktok account and their vibe is very mio + yamato but with pranks
Rachel: Oh wow I love that
Ashley: they’ve known each other since they were teens and he learned english to ask her out!!!
CC: THAT’SSSSSS CUUUUTE
Rachel: WHAT AMAZING
We’ll my finally thought is
I’m very disappointed there were no butts
Fingers crossed for future volumes
CC: vol < 3
Ashley: heehehehehe nice
Ashley: i see what u did there
CC: u butter believe it
sorry, sorry, i know that was p weak material
this has been an incredible wife guy journey; i feel very indulged by this book hahaha
fingers crossed for all that & butts in volume three!!!!
Join us next time for even more love story shouting in our next Romance Roundtable! In the meantime, check out our Patreon for just a few bonus goofs that didn’t make it into today’s roundtable, as a treat.