The Trouble with My Boss
こんな上司にお困りでしたら (Konna Joshi ni Okomarideshitara)
Shoujo – Comedy, romance, slice-of-life
1 Volume of 4 Volumes (complete)
Media Do (Akita Publishing)
Emi is constantly making mistakes at work and getting scolded by her boss. What nobody knows is that Koji and Emi spend a lot of time after work together. But they’re not dating; it’s just that Koji has a leg fetish and enjoys spending time with her long legs! Emi enjoys being the one who knows this side of Koji, but she can’t help but wish their relationship is something more.
Gurrrrrl, you don’t have trouble with your boss; you have trouble with your self esteem!
The Trouble with My Boss opens with Emi getting reprimanded by her boss for making her second mistake of the day. Koji is an exceptional worker, having been promoted in record time. Between that and his handsome looks, he both is hard to approach and yet easy to admire for the women who work there. Emi then narrates her odd relationship with Koji: the two were set up on a blind date, Emi having been told that the man she was meeting has a leg fetish. She’s surprised to see him blushing, and that’s how it starts. They occasionally meet up, and he takes pictures, gropes, kisses, and otherwise physically admires her legs. But while Koji is polite to her and grateful for this time where he can fully relax, Emi is disappointed that he doesn’t seem interested in her.
Then things get really weird when a recent hire, Shuichi, bluntly tells Emi he likes to pursue women in a relationship. And getting Koji’s woman would be a great victory for him. So Shuichi tells Emi flat out he’s helping her get together with her boss so he can then seduce her. The two of them aren’t meeting up and coming up with new ideas on how to get Koji to become Emi’s boyfriend, but she doesn’t send him packing either. The manga says he has a “dispossession fetish”, which does not seem to be a real thing; most people would just call him a jerk (or, most likely, some other words of choice).
Either way, the two seem to be getting closer despite Koji misunderstanding Emi’s motives. Meanwhile, Shuichi’s interest in Emi appears to be rising, and she’s also met Koji’s ex-girlfriend. So there’s jealousy among all parties, the usual yada yada.
The whole leg fetish is what makes The Trouble with My Boss unique, so that’s a point to the manga’s advantage. Where the debate is going to come in is whether Koji’s physical preference is comedic in nature or if he’s getting away with some disapproving behaviors in the name of comedy. He’s her direct superior, first of all, so in the real world, that would be grounds for sexual harassment. Secondly, this whole thing started by their friends setting them up. So that means Emi is likely looking for a boyfriend. Gee, you think maybe a conversation about this whole thing would be appropriate? That maybe, just maybe, if a woman is letting you grope her legs, it’s not out of some purehearted desire to help him relax? Later, he begins to think Emi’s into being watched, and then he gives her stockings and a leg massager. Even as a token gift, that’s more for him than her, even if hers are the only legs that awakens such fierce desires in him.
Sakurano’s art is definitely pretty. The pages are very bright, so this gives it extra room to shine. The manga is an unusual combination of working adults in a shoujo magazine, so it’s no surprise the characters tend to look young for their ages. Sometimes, though, they seem to look a little too young. Emi’s 23, so that’s at least understandable, but Koji is 29 and looks a decade younger. Since these are all adults, the character designs are normal-looking, lacking the crazy anime hair. There’s no smut (at least not yet), but the manga is sensual as Koji kisses and caresses Emi’s legs in an intimate way. She also mentions being turned on, but otherwise, The Trouble with My Boss avoids turning into a mature manga.
No honorifics are used. Footnotes are used for things like tsubaki = camellia, which was unusual to keep and not just translate the name of the room as “camellia room”.
If you like the concept of The Trouble with My Boss, you should like the manga itself. If you don’t like the idea of a boss taking pictures and groping an employee’s legs consensually but still having the obliviousness of a teenager, then the manga is going to do little to assuage your misgivings.
Sakurano’s The Lion and the Bride is available from Media Do (Akita Publishing). Sakurano’s version of the Love Nikki manga is available on the Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen Facebook page.
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