I Want You to Make Me Beautiful Complete Manga Collection Review (Minor Spoilers)

"To be frank, I've been dying to fuck your brains out." - Yuzuki

Content Warning: I Want You to Make Me Beautiful contains explicit sexual content. Some scenes contain dubious consent and/or sex in public or semi-public places. Please check The Spice section for more information.

At a Glance:

Spice level: 3/5
Mosaics: Yes
Recommend: No
Content Warnings: Dubcon

I want you to make me beautiful manga cover. Yuzuki holding a makeup brush and caressing Kanna's cheek.

Kanna Nishimura is not having a good time. She just caught her boyfriend cheating again, and when she goes to break up with him, he tells her it’s her fault he cheated because she’s drab and ugly. Kanna’s nursing her broken heart when she runs into an old classmate, Yuzuki Ichikawa. With looks rivaling any woman, Yuzuki’s fashion sense and beauty convinces Kanna to ask him to make her as beautiful as he is to get revenge on her ex. Yuzuki agrees to give her a makeover, but not before he convinces Kanna to pretend to be his girlfriend! Childhood wishes and budding feelings mix in this lighthearted fake-dating josei.

The Good

I’m used to cute girls and bishounen covering the pages of my preferred manga genre, and while I Want You to Make Me Beautiful says (and shows) on the cover that the male lead is drop-dead gorgeous, I wasn’t expecting much of an explanation beyond Yuzuki having some really great genes. Instead, the manga goes into detail on Yuzuki’s personality and choices when it comes to his looks and fashion style, making his beauty an actual plot point instead of a foregone conclusion because it’s a josei manga. Yuzuki states outright that he prefers to outwardly express himself as genderless and has an affinity towards feminine accessories like earrings and nail polish. Though he is mistaken for a woman by almost everyone around him because of his appearance and more petite stature, he still identifies as a man and takes everyone’s curious looks in stride. This is definitely not something I expected when I picked up the 18+ josei fake-dating manga, but I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusivity and sweetness of this aspect of the story.

The story as a whole is pretty sweet–two childhood friends reunite after years apart, help each other through difficult times, and come out of the whole ordeal as a loving couple. With cute art and an easy to follow story, this short manga made for a relaxing read.

The Bad

I Want You to Make Me Beautiful was just fine.

The art is fairly nice, especially the cover and the colored pages on the inside, but there were so many panels with awkward proportions, offset eyes, boring poses and backgrounds, and the like that I found it hard to enjoy the cuteness the story was trying to portray. Yuzuki also seemed to keep changing heights. At times he was quite a bit taller than Kanna, then a few pages later it looked like they were the same height. I started to imagine him wearing platform shoes to account for the sudden changes.

The storytelling and character development were both also lackluster. Set up to be a revenge/fake-dating plot, there was next to no revenge or faking. Yuzuki and Kanna are simply shown to be close friends while telling all of three coworkers that they’re dating so Yuzuki doesn’t get asked out every day before the two start dating for real. And as far as getting back at her ex for calling her ugly, Kanna only sees the guy once or twice after her makeover, and the interactions are too short to include any real character or plot development.

Kanna talks a big game in the beginning of the manga, yet there’s never any follow through. After catching her boyfriend cheating once again, she slaps him and tells him off before going to drown her sorrows with a friend at a bar, where she rants about wanting revenge since she can’t legally kill him; however, these small sections are completely at war with the rest of the story and Kanna’s personality. She’s shy, soft spoken, and fairly introverted. From a reader’s perspective, Kanna’s more likely to stumble over her words from embarrassment while red in the face than yell out a death threat or raise a fist. The strange and sudden twists in her personality felt artificial at best, used more to push a particular plot point than as an actual indication of the character’s personality.

The same can be said of Yuzuki as well. With one breath he’s talking about how Kanna is entitled to her feelings and choices and with the next he’s basically forcing himself on her, only to retract and apologize that his urges can’t be contained because of his feelings for her or some other cliché excuse. (Granted, this guy couldn’t even decide on his height, so why should I expect his personality to be any different.)

Most of the time I spent with this volume had me rolling my eyes or sighing out loud when some scene that didn’t fit with the rest of the story or the characters popped up, and I was too busy thinking things like, “Oh, this scene is trying to be like this manga,” or, “This plotline is a lot like that other story,” to be sucked into this one. I Want You to Make Me Beautiful felt like it wanted to be its own thing, but was too scared of failing and had to add in so many clichés that it lost its own identity in the process.

The Spice

I Want You to Make Me Beautiful has quite a few sex scenes–around 7 or so–and does use mosaics to cover the very few shots of Kanna’s southern areas, but breasts are left alone. There is never a scene depicting Yuzuki’s privates as it’s all hidden by clothes, angles, and action fastforwarding.

About half of the sex scenes are in a gray area consent-wise. While Kanna never says, “no”, she does ask Yuzuki to wait in various scenes after he instigates their sexual encounters. At times he will ask if he’s going too far or if she wants him to stop, and again the answers are a little vague. There is also one scene where Yuzuki surprises Kanna while they’re at work, leading to a semi-public sex scene. As a whole, this manga is pretty similar to Fire in His Fingertips in regards to the explicit content, but not nearly as spicy or exciting, and with much less variety, leading many of the sex scenes to feel very contrived and bland.

The Verdict

While I Want You to Make Me Beautiful had cute art, a lighthearted story, and a surprising dash of inclusivity, none of these things could make up for the boring characters or the poorly executed plot. I did not dislike this manga, but I also can’t say that I liked it. I Want You to Make Me Beautiful sits in that limbo of neutrality that makes me shrug and say, “It was fine,” when asked.

You can purchase I Want You to Make Me Beautiful Complete Collection on Amazon, Bookshop, and Barnes & Noble.

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Story and Art by Cocoa
Translation Molly Lee
Lettering J. Piechowiak
Logo and Cover Design M. A. Lewife
Copy Editor B. Lillian Martin
Proofreader Danielle King|
Production Designer Christina McKenzie
Editor Matthew Birkenhauer
Senior Editor J. P. Sullivan
Published in English by Seven Seas Entertainment

The Good

  • Promotes positive LGBTQ+ themes
  • The story is sweet

The Bad

  • Characters are bland and cliché
  • Artwork isn't consistent

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