Boys Run the Riot (Vol. 3)

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Good lord this is heavy

God, this series is so powerful. I don’t really know how to review it, as this doesn’t feel like a series that is meant to be reviewed from a literary standpoint. To me, it feels more like a social commentary and coming of age tale of redemption and self-acceptance than anything I can judge. There is a LOT that happens here, and it very much involves personal identity, self-love, and different ways in which LGBT+ people express their gender and sexuality, as well as coming out. Our main character is out to a few friends, but mostly not, and is suddenly thrust into the public eye as a popular LGBT+ YouTuber outs them without permission. It really walks the line of discussing when to come out, why coming out is more powerful to some than others, and how to embrace the fact that you’re out vs the worry of being judged.

So far in this series, we have people who identify as transgender, gay, genderfluid, etc. It’s really a wide variety of identities and how those people feel empowered by those identities but also stifled with how they pigeonhole them to the public. Once Ryo is outed, he has to navigate school and personal relationships knowing he is being judged, despite so many people saying they don’t judge him. He still feels the shift in how people speak to him and view him, and he’s struggling to find the balance between being scared and ashamed and being proud of who he is. Meanwhile, WING, the YouTuber in question, is having their own gender crisis and is being pulled in several directions with their own identity, seeking validation from the internet and those around them rather than themselves.

There are things I could nitpick; sometimes the pacing of this feels all or nothing and the speech bubbles are occasionally huge in comparison to the scene, but those are tiny issues that really don’t affect my enjoyment of the series to a huge degree. More than anything, this is a story of finding yourself and figuring out how to accept who you truly are in a world that will always view you as different.

Title:  Boys Run the Riot Vol. 3
Author:  Keito Gaku
Format: Paperback
Pages:  208
ISBN:   9781646511198

Three Descriptors: Intriguing, Hopeful, Rebellious

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