Bad Boys, Happy Home Vol 1 Review

Are you ready for a story about some tough boys playing house? Written by Shoowa and with art by Hiromasa Okujima, Bad Boys, Happy Home is a humorous and dramatic tale of fist fights, broken homes and idiots in love.

Synopsis:

Akamatsu is a troubled teen who needs some kind of an outlet for his turbulent emotions, and he thinks he’s found the perfect solution: fighting! Specifically, he regularly picks fights with Seven, another young man who he finds hanging around in the local park. After getting his ass handed to him by Seven, who’s by far the superior fighter, Akamatsu always feels a strange kind of peace, and he’s able to go on ignoring his problems for another day.

There’s just one issue that threatens to disrupt his perfect system; Seven is actually homeless and has been secretly sleeping in the playground, but people have taken notice and he’ll need to move on and find somewhere else to stay. Desperate to keep him around, Akamatsu offers to let Seven crash at his apartment for a while. Thus, the two become unlikely roommates, and it isn’t long before their complicated pasts and unspoken feelings for each other start causing all kinds of problems and misunderstandings. Will these two be able to get along long enough to sort things out? Or is emotional honesty too tall an order for these would-be bad boys?

Review:

One of the first things that drew me to Bad Boys, Happy Home was the rugged-looking art style, which is more reminiscent of shounen or seinen works then the softer style that’s typical of boys love series. It gives the manga a rougher look that’s perfect for this story about scrappy young men who’re constantly getting themselves into trouble.

The next thing that struck me as I read this manga is how serious the plot is, despite being about a pair of dense teens who’d sooner get punched in the face than have to deal with their own feelings.

Akamatsu is currently living on his own because of a huge falling out he had with his father, who he is no longer on speaking terms with. He is also refusing to see his mother, though she is clearly worried and keeps dropping by with food. All of Akamatsu’s pent up emotions that he’s been venting through fighting clearly stem from this rift that’s formed between him and his family, but he doesn’t know how to handle any of it, hence the need for a distraction.

Seven, meanwhile, has a heap of problems of his own. He’s on the run from someone and there are hints that his past has been quite traumatic and dark. Despite this, he’s much more open and mature than Akamatsu. He only agrees to their regular fights because Akamatsu was so pushy and he does his best to be a good guest once he moves in with him.

Despite their silly arguments and rough-housing, Akamatsu and Seven actually get along quite well, at least once Akamatsu stops trying to start a fight every time he sees Seven. They’re both a little awkward and have issues with communicating clearly, but their interactions are pretty cute and they wind up being very supportive of each other. Akamatsu doesn’t think twice about offering to let Seven stay with him, and once he realizes that Akamatsu has become estranged from his family, Seven is eager to help him face his father and try to patch things up. I was extremely touched by the scene where Akamatsu finally returns home, with Seven at his side to act as a buffer.

It isn’t long before the pair are being mistaken for a couple, and it’s clear that Akamatsu, at least, is attracted to the other man. This leads to some more awkwardness, as Seven has an unexpected response to realizing that his friend is sexually frustrated, one that suggests that there were some unsavory events in his past. I expect that the next volume will delve more into his circumstances, as this volume was more focused on Akamatsu. I can’t wait to discover just why he’s on the run and see if he and Akamatsu will be able to overcome the challenge of facing his past together.

Bad Boys, Happy Home is a surprisingly sweet and earnest romance that wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve. It’s also pretty funny, thanks to the fact that Seven and Akamatsu are both hard-headed and impulsive. The boys’ normally silly behaviour only allows the more emotional moments to hit harder, making this a truly moving read and one that boys love fans shouldn’t pass up!

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

For more information about this manga, visit SuBLime Manga’s website.

What did you think of this manga? Let me know in the comments!


Be sure to check out some of my other recent boys love manga reviews:

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