“Fortune Favors a Smile” is a manga that delves into the life of Emu Ikariya, a young man who has faced adversity since childhood. Written and illustrated by the talented Kotetsuko Yamamoto, this manga offers a blend of drama, romance, and comedy.
Emu Ikariya has generally always known hardship. After the sudden demise of his alcoholic father, he finds himself cornered by a loan shark, demanding repayment of his father’s debt. As Emu struggles to work at a convenience store to repay the debt, a familiar face from his past, Nenji Fukutomi, a past classmate, steps in with a shocking proposition: “I’ll buy Ikariya.”
Published: Jan 19, 2017, to Aug 31, 2020
Genres: Boys Love, Erotica
Author: Yamamoto, Kotetsuko (Story & Art)
Opinions / Analysis
The narrative follows the classic Kotetsuko Yamamoto style, blending comedic shock-faces with unexpected statements. This is evident in Nenji’s audacious declaration to the loan shark. The art is, as expected from Yamamoto, beautifully crafted, capturing the emotions and nuances of the characters perfectly.
However, one noticeable shift in character is Emu Ikariya’s transformation from a fiery-tempered individual to a more shy and blushing demeanor by the second or third chapter. While this change adds a layer of vulnerability to Ikariya, it feels a tad stereotypical of Yamamoto’s character arcs. It would have been refreshing to see Ikariya retain some of his fiery spirit throughout the volume.
The storyline is grounded in reality, portraying the lengths to which Nenji goes to help Ikariya financially. His genuine efforts to secure a better-paying job for Ikariya and help him repay the inherited debt are pretty cute.
Interestingly, there’s a noticeable absence of erotic scenes in this volume, which is somewhat atypical for Yamamoto’s works. While I’m not particularly inclined towards seeking out such scenes, it’s evident that Yamamoto is investing more in character development and dynamics in this series, possibly due to its multi-volume nature, which is a bit rare when reading her works.
In conclusion, Volume 1 of “Warau Oni ni wa Fuku Kitaru” is a pretty nice read. It offers a blend of emotions, from humor to drama. I’d rate it a solid 7/10 and recommend it to anyone looking for a heartwarming Boys Love story with a small touch of realism.
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