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February 17, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: How to Capture a Martini

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: How to Capture a Martini
Author: Makoto Tateno (Angelic Runes)
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing, on their Doki Doki imprint
Volume: This is a self-contained one-shot, although there is a spin-off due out in April called How to Control a SidecarHow to Capture a Martini is $12.95.
Vintage: In Japan, by Shinshokan, in 2006.  December 2009 by Digital Manga.
Genre: Yaoi, mild sex (18+), brief S&M, alcohol (obviously)

Naoyuki Hibino gets the surprise of his life while out on a date with his girlfriend Yuka.  As they pass by a cocktail bar, the Maria Elena, Naoyuki runs into a face from his past – his high school dorm-mate and ex-boyfriend, Shinobu Okada.  Okada works at the bar and serves the two a drink – Yuka a fancy cocktail and the lightweight Naoyuki a non-alcoholic drink – while Naoyuki feels his memories flooding back to him.  Okada was Naoyuki’s first love, first kiss, and first sexual experience.  Two years older, Okada was graduating from high school when they last saw each other.  Naoyuki had plans to get into the same college as his sempai in two years, and told Okada that he has a present to give to him after the graduation ceremony.  But at the arranged meeting time and place, Naoyuki was left waiting, with no sign and no word from Okada, who seemingly vanished.  Naoyuki spent four years mending his broken heart, but faced with the beautiful Okada once again, he finds his resolve weakening.  When he returns to talk to Okada about the past, he finds him having sex with another man in the bar before opening hours.  Okada finds him crying outside, and coldly rejects him.  Poor Naoyuki is confused by how much his beloved sempai seems to have changed, gets drunk, and finds himself back at the Maria Elena, where he passes out in front of the bar…and wakes up to find his wallet stolen.  The owner of the bar offers him a job, and Naoyuki jumps at the chance to be near Okada again.  Unfortunately Okada doesn’t seem to want anything to do with him.  Why did Okada run away from a future with Naoyuki in the first place?  Can Naoyuki manage to convince Okada that their past relationship was more than a way to pass the time, and that he was serious about his feelings?

Naoyuki is coldly dismissed once again in How to Capture a Martini.

Now that the summary is done….  I’m not a fan of How to Capture a Martini.  I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t care much for it either.  The story just wasn’t appealing to me, and the characters aren’t strong.  Okada doesn’t make sense.  I understand why he ran away, but I don’t understand his male slut disposition…unless he’s trying to punish himself?  I’m not sure, though that would make sense.  Sometimes he gets really emotional like a little kid, despite his harsh personality, so he feels a little inconsistent.  Then there’s the bar owner, Katsuragi, and his younger brother Yoshitomo.  The two get a very brief story of their own near the end of the volume called “Let’s Forget,” about their forbidden, incestuous relationship.  I don’t really know why that’s necessary (the storyline itself, not the bonus story); they have a very small role in the story, and Katsuragi is shown screwing with Okada besides, so I don’t know why the brothers are together.  It has no impact on the story, nor does it fit within the theme of the main relationship.

There’s another short story in the back called “Freedom From Constraint,” which is unrelated from the rest of the book.  It shows the relationship between two high school boys, from different schools.  It’s called “Freedom From Constraint” because they “free” each other from the constraint of their uniforms (one wears a tie, the other a high collar). It seems to be symbolic of how they have to sneak around to see each other now, and that it will be much easier to have a relationship once they’re in college together.  It’s short, but it’s kind of sweet.  The last little bit of the book is a cute story where Okada teaches Naoyuki how to stir a drink properly.


Review copy provided by Digital Manga.



  1. billy

    So Naoyuki is a switch-hitter that is promiscuous? Sounds like something I saw on Cinemax late one night.

  2. Nothin’ like two brothers tryin’ to “work it out” lol

  3. […] Happy Boys Author: Makoto Tateno (How to Capture a Martini) Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing, on their Doki Doki imprint Volume: There are only two […]

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