Tamaki Hasegawa is a 23-year old struggling to land a full-time job to take care of her younger brother Taishi (the two were orphaned at a young age). Tamaki does her best, even if her culinary skills don’t surpass making curry. She’s got a caring heart, often impulsively going out of her way to help, even if it ends in bad luck for her. Kagetora Sugou is the nephew of Japan’s Prime Minister, who’s always in the care of a bodyguard. When their paths cross suddenly, Tamaki takes charge and attempts to rescue the seemingly-in-danger Kagetora. As fate would have it, her skirt winds up torn and the unknown assailant turns out to be Kagetora’s bodyguard! After a heated exchange, Tamaki leaves the pair behind, feeling embarrassed at having acted impulsively. After an encouraging conversation with her long time neighbor and crush Natsu, Tamaki is ready to face the world again—only to be kidnapped by Kagetora. He offers a replacement skirt and a job as his bodyguard. Tamaki immediately rejects the offer and runs away.

This time, however, she leaves her cell phone behind. Kagetora holds it for ransom, desperate to meet this daring young lady once again. After attempting to save the life of a little old lady from an oncoming car, she learns that it was all a ruse to see how she would react. With a little more coaxing, she finally accepts Kagetora’s job offer… only to be met with a kiss? Shenanigans ensue, with Kagetora revealing that they’ve met before and that he’s determined to have her, no matter the cost. Tamaki’s life begins to change as she faces the challenges of working closely with Kagetora, whose life seems to be in constant danger as the nephew of the Prime Minister.

After surviving an explosion, a cold but hilarious excursion to the beach, and a potential stabbing, we learn that our leading man suffers from analgesia, a medical condition which renders him incapable feeling pain.

In a flashback to high school, we learn that Tamaki’s harsh words toward Kagetora’s callousness had a profound impact on him, something that never happened to him before. Enchanted by Tamaki’s words, he tried to pursue her, only to find out that she had changed schools. Since then, he hoped to meet her again, as she was the only person to make him feel anything. Back in the present, Tamaki staves off her boss’ advances. She hopes to tell Natsu of her feelings at Christmastime, only to be roped into guarding Kagetora for the evening. After being dismissed rather coldly, she goes home, wondering why she feels jealous. Then Kagetora shows up to apologize.

The second volume delves further into Tamaki’s infatuation with Natsu and her growing feelings for Kagetora. The potential for heartbreak and romance increases. Who will wind up getting their happily ever after?

Told in two volumes, this story has a fast pace and action that has readers jumping forward in time a little quickly. More romantic comedy than serious romance, the characters don’t really seem to be deeper than what you see on the page. I find it very interesting that the author decided to tackle the idea of analgesia in one of the main characters, but this condition only pops up when Kagetora talks about Tamaki being the only one who has made him feel. I think this was a plot that could have been explored on a deeper level and the manga could have potentially been a little longer. That said, the author does provide readers with profiles of each character, which I feel helps with relating to the characters.

The artwork is lovely, done in the traditional shoujo manga style, with the author also providing alternative and early sketches of the characters before the manga was written. All of Enjoji’s characters in this manga are beautiful in their own right, so there doesn’t seem to be variation in this area. There aren’t too many characters in the series to worry about. Each has their own distinct features. The artwork also flows well and isn’t chaotic, letting the reader take in the scene as it is intended. The translation is very well done and easy to read; I did not note any issues while reading the manga.

SP Baby is a short romantic comedy that will take readers on a fast-paced adventure full of romantic hijinks that follow a couple of interestingly-matched people. It leaves readers wishing that the series were longer, if only to further explore the lives and stories of these characters. It isn’t a story to take seriously but would be a fun and heartwarming way to spend the afternoon. The rating of this manga is for older teens. I agree with the rating, as the second volume delves into the relationship of the characters in a sexual nature but without nudity. I would definitely add SP Baby to an established collection of manga, especially if it already contains Enjoji’s other series, Happy Marriage.

SP Baby, vols. 1-2
by Maki Enjoji
vol 1 ISBN: 9781421595405
vol 2 ISBN: 9781421593753
Viz, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: OT (16+)

  • Nathalie

    Past Reviewer

    Nathalie DeFelice is currently an MLIS student at the University of North Texas, as well as a full time Information Assistant at the Springdale Public Library in Springdale, Arkansas. When she's not filling her brain with library knowledge, she can often be found browsing Hulu, Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Funimation for new anime to watch. She can also be found lurking in the manga sections of bookstores around town. She also loves travelling, Wonder Woman, and has a special fondness for Ikea.

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