Romance Roundtable #37: Boss Wife (Volume 2)

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

Character Introduction
Yamato Kujo: Worked with Mio when they were in high school at the same parttime job. He was also Mio's first crush. Lieutenant of the Hazakura-gumi and Mio's husband.
Mio Hasumi: Illustrator. Marries Kujo and becomes his wife in exchange for him agreeing to take over her debt.

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

Shiki, showing the feedback on Mio's mascot: "Well, to start, your mascot characters... are very unpopular with our members."
Mio, showing Shiki she can draw.
Shiki: "Oh? So you can create things when you try. Maybe you just have no artistic sense?"

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

CC: +1

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!!!!!

Yamato, talking to Mio about taking vacations: "I was thinking about how I want to do everything now that I couldn't way back when."
Yamato whispering to Mio: "And I mean... if we stay cooped up at home, we're just going to keep getting down and dirty."

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

Ashley: YES

CC: LOL my dude you are about to learn (in 14 years)

Teenage Yamato's friend: "Come on! What's she like? Is she cute? Big tits?"
Teenage Yamato: "Sh-she's really cute! I don't know about her tits!"

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:

Yamato's ex to Mio: "I'm younger and cuter than you'll ever be!! You flat-chested disaster!!"

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

Rachel: YEAH

CC: 30 and 32!!!!!!!! right??????

Ashley: these horny kids are in their actual THIRTIES we love to see it!!!
yep!

CC: god
beautiful
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

Ashley: LMAO

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

Ashley: hahaha

Jenny: but that’s not all!
not just sex!
also!!

Mio to Yamato: "That was when I guess I realized that was what it meant to be family. We're together, and that's exactly why we can overcome things."

Jenny: found! family!!
we love to see it

Ashley: ❤️❤️❤️
jenny i think you picked out my favorite panel of the whole book

Jenny: 🤗

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!!!

Mio: "I cannot forgive my father for dumping all of his debt on me and running away. I've thought horrible things many times, including how I hope he's dead in a ditch somewhere."

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
wife guy
pining
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

CC: like

Mio: "I'm so happy! Are you the human version of a blue raccoon dog that will grant me any wish I have?"

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. ;__;

Teenage Yamato, thinking to himself: "If we were to hold hands right now... would you smile for me like you always do?"
DA-THUMP, DA-THUMP, DA-THUMP (heartbeats)

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
RIP buddy

Yamato's older brother to teenage Yamato: "So? You got a chance with this girl? Leave it all to your big bro. I'll pose as some loser who comes to hit on your girlfriend, and then you can kick my ass or something."
Yamato: "Thanks for the offer, but please stay out of it, Ryuki."

Ashley: omg

CC: this is legit something Kazuma Kiryu from the Yakuza video game franchise either would do or has done

Ashley: HAHA
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

Da Vinci's "The Last Supper"

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)

Mio's drawing of the yakuza family in the style of "The Last Supper".

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

Mio: "You can make anything you want, happen, because it's art."

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

Yamato to Mio: "You're really cute with bangs! Hold up! I need to take a photo of this! I want to put you on a portable shrine and parade you around! Everyone needs to praise you more and more!"

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

Yamato: "When I eat your cooking, Mio, it makes me realize that I'm alive!"
Mio: "I-I didn't do anything special..."

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

CC: LOL

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

Rachel: Bless

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
wow
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

CC: 🍑

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!!!!

Ashley: 🤞


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.

Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Rachel is a designer and artist from Texas. She is pro-feminism, pro-crones, and pro-dogs. She's also Boss Crone at POMEgranate Magazine, and one day hopes to be able to drink her tea without so much milk and sugar.
CC Calanthe

CC Calanthe

If you prick your finger and write “Cat Fancy” on your mirror during a harvest moon, CC will appear behind you and make you put human clothes on your pets. CC is Head Crone in Charge at POMEgranate Magazine, as well as the co-host of Moon Podcast Power MAKE UP!!
Ashley Gallagher

Ashley Gallagher

Ashley writes comics and emails from zir burrow in the Pacific Northwest. Ze is a sentient subtropical swamp fern whose favorite food is old words.
Jenny Mott

Jenny Mott

Jenny is just a Silly Nerd with a lot of Feelings about Comic Books and Friendship and also This Capitalist Yoke We All Share; she enjoys Dogs and Sleeping and Cartoons. Her three favorite words are: Breakfast All Day.
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