Welcome back to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss Romance Manga. Join us for a trip to the muscle mommy store as we cover Amesuke Amo’s thick-of-thigh, thick-of-heart romance The Muscle Girl Next Door.
CC: without further ado!! the muscle girl next door!
Jenny: this book was SO CUTEEEEEEEEEE
giggling and twirling my hair the whole time tbh
Rachel: truly just a nice book!!
the sparkles! the rose petals!
setting the tone immediately!
they know what they’re doing!!
CC: yeah I guess the entire summary of this story is set up in this one image
beautiful boy loves stronk girl
(they are both v sweet and good)
Jenny: i mean, def the title helps too — beautiful boy loves stronk girl who lives next door
Ashley: really the only other plot point is, “and tries to hide it”
Jenny: yes — beautiful boy is shy and that comes off as his being kind of aloof and an asshole
but not for long!!
i think they do a good job setting up the two of them — ruby and daria — as sort of foils
his name is Daria!
and his pal, the wingman – Shou? I think?
very compact cast
Jenny: like ruby is cool and and built, and daria is shy and scrawny
but he wants to be built!
Jenny: really sets up exactly what it delivers on (“train me mommy”)
Ashley: AHHH HAHA
Rachel: that’s the vibe exactly though!!!
Jenny: but in general the two of them just compliment each other really well!
like daria is a great cook and ruby just eat protein powder
i mean at least he knows what he wants!!.png
Jenny: which sets up another slam dunk plot point
CC: yeah just such a perfect compliment to each other
Jenny: i really loved how much of a goofy mess daria is
Jenny: this is him practicing dropping off leftovers
but he chickens out! and just leaves it on her doorstep!
CC: drops off a heart shaped steak
like you do
Rachel: and FORGETS
like, made it heart shaped in a trance
realizes only after the fact
Ashley: truly the meal he prepares was the product of a madman
Jenny: yeah she was supposed to come over for dinner!
and he just fugue-state makes everything heart shaped??
CC: truly if someone made me an entire heart shaped meal i would die
Rachel: i think what is most nice about this romance
or one of the most nice things
is that at no point does Daria try to convince himself he’s not in love
like, he kNOWS
there’s no “what is this feeling???“”
CC: boys who think I LOVE HER every time they see their gf
gotta be one of my favorite genders
Ashley: blushing down to his fingertips!!!!!
CC: his feelings are as strong as her muscles
i love it so much
Jenny: i feel like we say this a lot but i did also want to mention
Jenny: comics are good!
this is such a fun gag!
USE THE MEDIUM
Ashley: oh that was my fave gag hahahaha
give us that AWOOGA HUMMUNAH HUMMUNAH
CC: i don’t even want to see a love that doesn’t doki doki out of yr chest tbh
(I also loved this gag!!! so good!)
ruby is also v cute
and I am hoping that the next volume of the story gives us more about her
CC: exhibit b
Rachel: oh this was so nice
love to eat desserts
love to be buff and love desserts
Ashley: how i’m trying to be
as the resident hater, i do have to chime in with that i did find this first volume at least to be a biiiiit of a bore
especially because of the point you just brought up, cc, which is that we don’t know too much about the Object of Love
i myself am not innocent of making lifting heavy thingy entire personality, and yet…
Rachel: honestly i agree!!
i think the bones of the story are there for it to be really good
but it’s not quite there in this first volume
like it’s still too surface level in some ways
CC: it needs to do more
(emotional) heavy lifting
fully agree tho! and I will say in fairness that the cartooning, which is excellent, does SO much good work here
but i coulda had a little more meat on those bones
Jenny: i mean, tbh i am incredibly shallow and also in love this w this woman same as daria
CC: ooh I took a screenshot of this one too
Ashley: YES!!! SCREENSHOTTED THAT SO FAST
CC: she’s right and she should say it!
Jenny: i love her, i need her, where do i get one of her?? is there a muscle mommy store the same way that there’s a husband store?
Ashley: printing it out and putting it on my computer monitor
jenny IF ONLY
CC: i feel like the muscle mommy store would be like, sears in the 80s
CC: the quality is too high
everyone has one craftsman brand muscle mommy with a lifetime warranty, an unsustainable level of high quality
(i too love ruby so much LOL)
I will say that after the emotional devastation of our last book, I found this refreshing but i wouldn’t complain about more Emotion
CC: we got a little with Daria’s family backstory but….i still want more (and more about who Ruby is as a person!)
Ashley: for sure
the domming you into taking a break hints at something deeper within
Ashley: hard won gains etc
CC: if you don’t take breaks and rest she will step on u (bad) but if you pace yourself and work on your gains safely she will step on u (good)
Ashley: works every time
Rachel: step on you, as a treat
CC: i feel like a non insignificant number of our RR protags would sign up for step on me mommy bootcamp in a heartbeat L M A O
here’s looking at you, in love with the villainess girl!
Ashley: this is an EXCELLENT elevator pitch hahahaha
Jenny: hell yeah hell yeah
CC: if this whole comics thing doesn’t work out for us maybe we can open one of those
Jenny: i volunteer for that hiring committee
Rachel: making those marketing materials would be… so fun
Ashley: i mean, this is comics, it would be the easiest scam. a little advertisement, a little “mail your check to…”
Ashley: a time honored tradition even!!
CC: it’s that old school comics ad with the nerd and the jock at the beach
Jenny: muscle mommy bootcamp is the new x-ray specs
the atlas diet!
Ashley: exactly!!! y’all get it!!
CC: our huge brains
cooking with beefcake here at pome dash mag dot com
Rachel: the world needs this
Jenny: ok i do also want to take a minute to really appreciate the only other named character in this book – SHOU! daria’s best friend and wingman of the millenium
Rachel: the fact that he figures things out without being told
Jenny: a genious!
he does SO MUCH of the work
Jenny: like — he sets them up w a date idea, he gets them to exchange numbers, he delivers on the promise of the opening chapter!
CC: he reminds me of nothing so much as that classic gag from girls monthly nozaki-kun
i really liked Shou
but this is still a thing i wanted more of!
tell me more about these peopleee
i have high hopes for future volumes though!
it kind of feels like the author/artist has just, a huge brain concept
and then didn’t have a clear sense of how to deliver
CC: yeah I feel like there’s a great setup here
but just — needs more!
give me more!!!
Jenny: truly CANNOT WAIT for vol2
especially bc of where it ended!!!
CC: not every story has to be emotionally tumultuous
and I am fine with that
but for this love story to really pay off, I really want to feel like I understand why both parties are falling in love!
and I think this story is capable of doing that!
Rachel: yeah! i almost which they had collapsed the first book to the first chapter
and then the rest of the book would be about them figuring out the actual dating part
CC: like sweat and soap, maybe?
if it ain’t broke
CC: L O L L LLL
Ashley: hire us to guide you, young mangaka
Jenny: i mean, i will say
and again maybe this is just bc i am incredibly shallow
but boy beautiful girl stronk
i am in love and so are they!
like, i feel like i’ve been convinced to love them, so it’s not unbelievable to me that they would also be into each other
idk i really loved this one
no thoughts only fun
Rachel: haha it was a very fun read!
Ashley: listen, in these unprecedented times, we deserve a little simple pleasure
CC: my brain and my heart are smooth and both were soothed by this love story
Jenny: and esp w where the first volume ended, i feel like! vol2 will hold more answers to these questions
Jenny: unless he combusts on the spot ig
Rachel: i can’t believe they did this to us
CC: her confidence
i mean she is very clearly not wrong but pulling off this flirtation feels like at least 2 good charisma rolls
Ashley: yeah i def want to see where this goes, that’s for sure!!
Rachel: what is that acid that musics make
you know what i’m talking about??
Ashley: lactic acid
CC: L O L
Ashley: mommy milkers acid
Rachel: ok so her muscles make that but also CONFIDENCE
CC: a happy byproduct
(a product for bis)
Jenny: y’all feel ready for final thoughts?
Rachel: i’m ready!
Ashley: let’s do it!
CC: i’m ready!
honestly my only thought, final or otherwise
i love it
i really tried to mine the depths of my brain and that’s all that’s in there right now
Ashley: perfectly apropos
mine is, if seeing my crush doesn’t make me disincorporate like this, i don’t want it!!!!
Jenny: too much emotion
the body wasn’t designed for this
again, comics are so good
Jenny: this is actually why he needs to build muscle
to hold all his feelings
Ashley: so true
Jenny: my final thought is p much just
i love friendship
Jenny: a great wingman IS a true blessing
Ashley: my god yes
Rachel: IT’S TRUE
Ashley: Probably our species would have died out without them
Rachel: my final thought is
i had this same haircut in high school
Rachel: ABSOLUTELY NOT
Ashley: HAHAHAHAHA OMG RACHEL ME TOOOOOO
Jenny: lol very fair
CC: i have seen a picture of rachel with this haircut
Rachel: i woke up every morning and STRAIGHTENED my hair to flip out this way
CC: teen u was so powerful
Rachel: i also died it red
Ashley: girl saaaaaaaaame
Jenny: it’s red in this too!
from the one color page
it was the moment, apparently
CC: v on trend at that time!!!!
Rachel: it was real Josie and the Pussycats
CC: that was the coolest way to do your hair in the early to mid aughts!
Rachel: only looks good on muscle girls and 16 year olds in 2004
CC: also willow from buffy
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.