Romance Roundtable #51: Yakuza Lover

Welcome back to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss Romance Manga. Join us for our spiciest Romance Roundtable yet as we cover Yakuza Lover by Nozomi Mino: an absolutely R-rated romance between a bold, fearless college student and a beautiful twink yakuza boss.

Be warned: we did our best to keep today’s roundtable PG13, but you may not want folks peeping at your screen during this one!

Jenny: this book was a RIDE!!

Rachel: HEH HEH
wink wink wink wink

CC: absolutely
so right at the top, I want to provide a warning
I tried to censor some of my screenshots but they only looked more indecent L M A O

Ashley: HAHAHA

CC: so, reader discretion advised: also for the juicy stuff you may wanna head on over to our Ko-Fi 😉

Jenny: do we want to do a quick summary?
violent but purehearted youth falls in love w a yakuza underboss

Yuri hits some punks who are trying to force her to use drugs with a chair. She yells, "I said, knock it off, damn it! I'm warning you! I was on my high school basketball team. I never missed a shot! Take one more step toward me... and I'll make your head my next backboard!"

Jenny: absolute legend with the end table

CC: chaerith personified

A screenshot of the newest FF7 game, with Aerith raising a folding chair above her head, ready to smash it down on the head of a buff dude.

Ashley: i think it is important to note that she falls in love with him AFTER witnessing an attempt on his life (while she was trying to return a favor he did her)
this wasn’t like, OOPS this “nice guy” turned out to be extremely dangerous man
she falls in love with the danger

Jenny: sure, yes. but i do also think it’s worth mentioning that this is the first impression he leaves

Oya enters the room, trench coat billowing out behind him.

Ashley: AND with the drip, yes, jenny LOL

Jenny: yes he comes in and is v gentlemanly
but then also he does give her his card, which is like — mr oya, yakuza boss

CC: ok so
the business card thing
absolutely ridiculous but it was the first part of my theory about this book
which is that it is basically
what if yakuza / ryu ga gotoku video game man Goro Majima was a twink and also a harlequin romance guy and he kissed me in the mouth
i’ve got receipts
and i have been dying to share them
case in point

Oya gives Yuri his business card. "If any other bad guys give you trouble, show them this."

CC: goro

Goro Majima presents his business card.

Ashley: LOLLLLLL omg
this is not my fandom so i’m just ready for this ride

CC: oya

Yuri realizes that Oya is a hostess club tycoon.

CC: goro

Goro Majima bows as he is flanked by the hostesses in this club.

CC: oya

Oya takes his shirt off, revealing his yakuza tattoos.

CC: goro

Goro Majima, shirtless, revealing his yakuza tats.

Rachel: CC, i see this evidence
when it comes down to it, are you positing that… Majima fucks???
because i believe it

Jenny: will also note oya’s bangs are not so different from goro’s eye patch

Ashley: LMAO

Jenny: i know nothing of the yakuza franchise, but i can tell from that last picture that this guy fucks

CC: ok so first
absolutely majima absolutely does
kiryu, the main protag: debatable
also majima is, in cannon, everyone’s idol goro
howEVER he is a total weirdo freak
unlike Oya
but if you flattened out all of the freaky parts to get a romance novel hero guy, i posit: this is it
(i love everyone’s weirdo lil freak idol goro majima. full disclaimer: he is my number one boy)

Ashley: oh my GOD?????

CC: yakuza* lover: it me
thank u for coming to my ted talk

Jenny: sometimes i get p down on the world around me and the concept of humanity, but little things like this really bring me back around
the roller skates!

Ashley: hahahahahaha. yes, we are at our best when we are simply committed to having a nice time

CC: i love that in 2022 we all found a group of boys to love and these are mine
but back to this actual book!! L O L
i love that this book is committed to its smut
everyone’s idol oya goes downtown
u love 2 see it

Jenny: it’s true it’s true

Ashley: very happy for this young lady that her first sexual experience was overwhelmingly positive
also the increasing size of the pomes LMAO. so sinister

Jenny: yeah good 4 her tbh
i mean

Yuri's friend scolds her for having standards for men that are too high: "Geez, Yuri.... you've gotta learn to take it down a notch."
Yuri: "I'm done playing nice! I'm 20 now. I don't have time for games!"
Yuri's friend: "You'll never get a boyfriend with that attitude."
Yuri: "I don't care! I want a guy who loves me for me!"

Jenny: she is 20yo
and she really seems to know what she wants??
could not be me, but i’m glad it worked out for her

Ashley: lolllll i also screenshotted this. extremely focused

CC: you know, i think they have that in common
they know what they want!

Oya to Yuri: "The strength you showed when you tried to protect your friend was incredibly attractive to me."

Jenny: this part was great

Ashley: oh yes! and they’re both incredibly straightforward

Jenny: right before this, he takes her to his closet full of beautiful women’s clothing that he just seems to HAVE
and is like, “i’m not giving you this stuff to thank you for returning my coat. I am trying to seduce you.”


Rachel: how old do we think Oya is?? do we know??

Ashley: he says he’s an “old man” so i’m assuming 30 tops

CC: i think it says 28 in there somewhere but I forgot to screenshot it so idk
does that sound familiar or did i dream it L O L

Jenny: ah yeah i only saw older than 20

CC: yeah hmmm I have no proof to back it up so honestly not sure! my bad yall

Jenny: lol np np we can just say he’s 28
could be worse, age-difference-wise
but this protag is incredibly baby
kind of reminds me of Cutie and the Beast
where like, she is Young and you can tell
but also her youth isn’t the thing that the love interest is into, necessarily

CC: yeah he falls for her ability to hit dudes with a chair
oya just like

A gif of Spike from Cowboy Bepop saying: "I love the kind of woman that can kick my ass."

Ashley: which like…. same, my guy. huge same

Rachel: 1000%

CC: i do like this about her

Yuri threatens some creeps in the airport with her luggage. "Want me to dunk a week's worth of luggage on your heads?! My silky-smooth skin isn't for you losers!"

CC: continuous throughout the story

Jenny: yes we love to see it

Ashley: speaking of which, this artist is setting the bar HIGH for extremely humorous facial reacts / physical comedy

Jenny: yes! speaking of

A panel cropped to Yuri's croch. SFX read "THROB THROB".
More throbbing!

Jenny: i mean, that’s the same joke twice, but still

i have read a lot of smut in my day and never have i seen throbbing sfx

Ashley: and yet… it’s like, AH YES. fits right in

Jenny: oh ho ho ho ho

Ashley: the absolutely unmistakable horniness of young adulthood

Oya to Yuri: "I'll call you."
Yuri, to herself in a caption: "I usually hate it when guys say that. But when it's him... I don't mind at all."
Oya to Yuri: "Yuri... next time I'll kiss you so hard it'll make your insides quake."

Jenny: that’s not the only thing that’s going to Fit Right In


Ashley: P H E W

CC: so ok, speaking of young love
I absolutely love the absolute cringe of their international summer vacation trip
the tl;dr of which being

Yuri: "I mean... I had you wear that outfit knowing everyone would gawk at you."
Oya: "Yeah."
Yuri: "And I made you dress me, and play along as I roleplayed as a cat."
Oya: "Yeah."

CC: this is why i think he can’t be all that much older than her
idk how long you can be a hardboiled yakuza type with this little meow meow energy

Yuri fantasizing about dressing up on holiday with Oya.

Rachel: i mean he definitely seems like he is the type who is actually young but is always talking about how old he is

Ashley: absoLUTELY

Rachel: i am also this way and can recognize my own behavior

Ashley: lololol

Jenny: crone life oya

Ashley: here’s the thing… with the note on formal occasions i thought this was going into shotgun wedding territory
HOWEVER i was delighted that it was simply “i will enthusiastically look like an absolute tool to please my beloved gf”

CC: absolutely my favorite part of that scene was absolutely every single person dunking on them

The locals, referring to Oya and Yuri: "Look at those tourists. They look like a pair of fools."
Badguys (presumably) look at a photo of Oya and Yuri in their tourist outfits, and laugh. "He looks ridiculous in that getup!"

Ashley: so goooooooood hahaha
the definition of down bad

Jenny: LOL

CC: i mean they say to kill the part that cringes
which clearly he has done

Jenny: and genuinely there were select parts of this sequence that were p cute

A series of cute photos of Oya and Yuri in their tourist garb, having a great time.

Jenny: like, they clearly had a nice time and i love that for them

Rachel: let’s talk about this tiger boy who is about to ruin everything

Jenny: LOL YES

An unknown Russian mobster lounges with his pet tiger, and drops the touristy photo of Oya and Yuri. "Well then... I think it's time I introduced myself to the lady."

Jenny: the russian mobster who finds him in shanghai
and his pet tiger!!

Ashley: siberian, of course!

CC: i just wanna say, kiryu has to fight an actual tiger in yakuza 2

Jenny: a rich text!!

CC: i am reading it as homage just as a personal choice LOL

Rachel: ichiban also fights a tiger!
a classic yakuza thing, apparently

Ashley: i think that’s extremely likely to be intentional

CC: incredible
i am v curious about tiger mafia guy
i don’t know how this story could support a love triangle but i wonder if that’s where it’s going

Jenny: oh good point
i don’t think it’ll go into love triangle territory but i’ve been wrong before

Rachel: honestly i could def see this going reverse harem!!

Jenny: whoo

CC: oooh interesting

Rachel: all the yakuza/mobsters of the world love our girl


Jenny: cannot wait for the italian stereotype to show up and it’s actually just a yakuza/mario crossover

Ashley: lmaoooo
i mean, yuri and oya definitely have a “monogamy is extremely my kink” kind of vibe
but i could see the russian’s heart being melted

Jenny: oh agreed

Ashley: a sort of like, “good job bro” moment

CC: russian mafia guy of the simp clan

Jenny: LOL

Ashley: 💀

CC: i hope she friendzones every hardboiled underworld guy
i love that for her

Jenny: i mean i can def see the ‘around the world in 40 mob bosses’ plot coming up after this:

Oya to Yuri: "There isn't a soul in the underworld... who would dare to anger me."


Ashley: let’s goooooo

CC: prediction:

A random man pointing at a graph drawn on a whiteboard, where the x axis is "Fuck around" and the y axis is "find out".

Ashley: yuri making oya dress in traditional attire in every country

Jenny: lol yes yes yes

Ashley: shakespeare ruff with codpiece
beret and neck scarf
kente cloth

Jenny: a little “tony soprano costume” from spirit halloween

Ashley: hahahahahahaha

CC: so if y’all are ready for final thoughts, here’s mine:
more of a question than a thought but
i wonder if subsequent volumes will show butt and if so, does Oya have butt tattoos

Rachel: OOOH
i hope so
(to both questions)

Jenny: good q good q — i’m betting yes
the only point of evidence i have to support this is that i went to highschool w a guy who got a weird (kind of racist) asian-fusion style back tattoo and it did go all the way onto his butt

Ashley: OOP

CC: i don’t know very much about actual yakuza like at all, full disclaimer, but some of the characters in the yakuza game series have the butt tattoo
idk what the significance is

Ashley: i feel like this is a trope i have seen in film as well

Jenny: another good piece of evidence in favor!

CC: there was an interview with actual yakuza about what they thought about the series

Jenny: 👀

CC: and they were making fun of one of the characters who only had the tattoos on his back like “what happened to the rest of his ink” lmao

Ashley: hahahahaha


Ashley: that’s a lot of work for the devs, bro!

CC: source, for any yakuza lovers who are curious

Ashley: nice

Rachel: ok so my final thought, building on the hypothetical questions
or more like, what i hope we get in future volumes, but i don’t think we will
if there was ever a couple i hope explores pegging, its this one
every time i see oya, i just think

Screenshot of a tweet that says "i want that twink Obliterated"

yes yes would love to see it

Ashley: TRULY

Jenny: my final thought is just that i wanted to share this russian tiger rescue place bc i think it’s cute
and i hope this russian mob love interest sourced his pet tiger humanely

Ashley: omg cuuuuuuuuuuuuute

Rachel: the singing as he drives away!!

CC: a big kitty!!!!

Jenny: this is the kind of content i’d like to see out of this big cat
like, probably that is how yuri gets the russian guy to fall in love w her
by playing w the tiger like it’s a big kitty

Rachel: omg yes

Ashley: okay, my final thought is SO DUMB but i could not stop thinking it

The butterfly meme but with Oya, and it says "Is this AU Mamoru Chiba"

Jenny: LOL


Ashley: like…. the 50 Shades of Weebness

Jenny: yakuza!mamoru
i cannot unsee it

Ashley: this book just has perfect feverish fanfic manic energy (edited)

Rachel: it really does!!!

Jenny: perhaps especially the summer vacation meow meow bit

Ashley: TRULY!!!

Jenny: thrilled that this is out here getting published

Ashley: mere inches away from songfic territory

Jenny: ready to throw my money at it immediately

Ashley: same

Join us next time for even more love story shouting in our next Romance Roundtable! In the meantime, Monthly Ko-Fi members: head on over to Ko-Fi for just a few bonus goofs that didn’t make it into today’s roundtable, as a treat.

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!!
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.
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.
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.
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