Goddamn, that’s a cliffhanger.
This series remains as great as the first volume. With the sales of their clothing line not exactly skyrocketing, Ryu decides to try and get a part-time job. Despite not wanting to out himself to people he finds he needs to continue to present as female in order to obtain a job as a waiter at a local place, even though it causes him mental distress. He does make quick friends with his co-workers, mostly, until one tries to make a move. Ryu is still getting used to opening up to people and informing them that he is transgender and thus struggles with trusting others, which is totally valid.
This series deals with SO many topics that may be triggering to LGBTQIA+ individuals, so be wary before deciding to read it. This volume deals a lot with internalized transphobia, general homophobia, and also a public outing which, God, I was so upset upon reading it. Ryu meets a queer YouTuber during this volume as well who is openly out and enjoying their life, which puts a lot of Ryu’s preconceived notions about what life can be into question, but also opens the door for other people, even within the LGBT+ community, not understanding Ryu’s reluctance to be out since it went so well for them. It’s messy and emotional, just as it can be in real life.
I think this series is great because it tackles the tough spot of understanding and encouraging the ones you care about. Whether you identify as LGBT+ or not, you can have the best of intentions and the worst execution when it comes to trying to be accepting of your friends. Ryu’s friends love him and are supportive of the person he wants to be, but their acceptance often makes him feel pressured into taking bigger steps he’s not ready for. There’s a line between encouragement and pressure that is discussed here, which I appreciated. I also enjoyed a character telling Ryu that they understand why he is reluctant to be open about himself, but that he can’t expect people to know how he feels without informing them as to what they’re doing wrong. People are going to assume he’s female because of societal standards and unless he makes the step to shut them down and correct them, he’s going to allow himself to be consistently hurt because of it. I thought a lot of different sides to these issues were brought up well in a way that makes the reader think about their own approaches to life and how they support others.
All in all, I highly recommend this. There’s no wasted space which I find unusual for a manga series and I highly look forward to the next installment.
Title: Boys Run the Riot Vol. 2
Author: Keito Gaku
Three Descriptors: Intriguing, Hopeful, Rebellious