Cover of the first volume of the original Japanese release of Absolute Boyfriend
|Genre||Romantic comedy, Exotic boyfriend, Science fiction, Tragedy|
|Written by||Yuu Watase|
|Original run||March 25, 2003 – February 25, 2005|
|Original run||April 15, 2008 – June 24, 2008|
|Episodes||11+1 special episode|
Absolute Boyfriend (絶対彼氏。 Zettai Kareshi?) is a six volume manga series by Yuu Watase, first serialized in Shōjo Comic. Chuang Yi licensed it for an English language release in Singapore, with the first volume released in March 2005. Viz Media licensed the series for an English release in North America, serializing the series in its Shojo Beat manga anthology as well as releasing the volumes.
The manga series was adapted into an 11-episode live-action drama series that aired in Japan in 2008. A 13-episode Taiwanese adaptation aired in 2012 under the title Absolute Darling (絕對達令 Jue Dui Darling), and plans are underway for a South Korean adaptation.
Riiko Izawa has never had a boyfriend and she has been rejected by every boy she has ever had a crush on. When she returns a lost cell phone to an oddly dressed salesman, she mentions wanting a boyfriend. To thank her, he directs her to his company's website, Kronos Heaven. When she visits the site, Riiko finds it's a site to create your perfect lover. Thinking it's a game, she customizes and accidentally orders one. The next day, her new lover arrives. Following the instruction manual, she kisses him to wake him up which configures him to be in love with only her. She names him "Night." Three days later, she is shocked to learn that she only had him for a free trial for 72 hours. The salesman, Gaku Namikiri, tells her that she must now pay ¥100,000,000 for Night, however, they will waive the fee if she helps them to collect data about how women think and feel to help perfect future models.
Riiko must now keep Night's true nature a secret from everyone around her. She also soon finds herself in a love triangle between Night and her childhood friend Soshi, who declares his love for her out of fear he will lose her. As the series progresses, Night begins to develop real human emotions, enabling him to truly love Riiko but also resulting in system malfunctions. When Riiko almost loses Night due to the malfunctions, she realizes that he is the one she really loves. She apologizes to Soshi, who moves to Spain with his brother to live with their dad. Night and Riiko spend a few happy weeks together, during which they go on dates, get their picture taken together, and purchase matching rings as symbols of their undying love.
As the series ends, Night begins to grow sleepier and sleepier. The problems developed by him exceeding his abilities eventually causes his machinery to stop working, resulting in his "death". Before he died, he wrote a letter directed to Soshi telling him what was happening and asking him to take care of Riiko. He also sends his ring, which Riiko noticed he has not been wearing immediately prior to his death. In the letter, he tells Riiko that she doesn't have to cry for him any more but to always smile. So she laughs and forever treasures her rings and memories of Night.
- Riiko Izawa (井沢 リイコ Izawa Riiko?)
- Played by: Saki Aibu (Japanese drama) / Ku Hye-sun (Taiwanese drama)
- Riiko is a young, flat-chested (according to Soushi, 32-A cup) 16-year-old girl who has bad luck with boys. When she helps a strange salesman named Gaku Namikiri, she ends up ordering a cybernetic boyfriend. Though initially shy around her new boyfriend, Riiko begins to fall in love with him, while also finding herself struggling with her new admirer, Soushi Asamoto. Riiko is rather naïve, clumsy, and simple-minded, but kindhearted, hardworking, and serious.
- Riiko doesn't want to admit she is in love with Night and constantly reminds herself that he is just a doll. This, however, isn't completely true because she gets jealous or even angry when he flirts with other girls for "data."
- In the Japanese version, Riiko is an office lady at Asamoto who has trouble with guys, so she is introduced by the manager of Kronos Heaven to try out a cybernetic boyfriend for one week. Over the course of the series, she grows increasingly attached to her new boyfriend, Night Tenjo, and her boss, Asamoto Soshi. She chooses to give up her dream of becoming a pâtissier to be with Night, but she ends up going anyway after Night's computer system is destroyed.
- In the special episode in Japan, Riiko has become an official pâtissier after three years of training and is forced to make the choice of her life when Night is suddenly restored.
- In the Taiwanese version, Xiaofei (Riiko) is an ordinary office worker at the general affairs department of the company, unlike Riiko who has talents in pâtissierie in the Japanese drama.
- Night Tenjo (天城ナイト Tenjō Naito?)
- Played by: Mokomichi Hayami (Japanese drama) / Jiro Wang (Taiwanese drama)
- Nightly 01 (Night) is a cybernetic doll custom ordered by Riiko Azawa. As such, he is the "perfect boyfriend": charming, dependable, intelligent, athletic, good-looking, sensitive, and completely devoted. At first, he is perfect for Riiko because it is in his programming, however as the series progresses, Night develops true emotions and a genuine love for her and has his own will. He is 6' tall as shown on the back of the first volume of the English version.
- Being designed to fulfill intimate relations for a woman, Night is constantly seen taking off his clothes offering to have sex with Riiko, to which she steadfastly declines. He also often tries to kiss Riiko, which makes her uncomfortable and embarrassed, and he is always interrupted by a third party, much to Riiko's relief.
- Night's Ring
- Functions similarly to a mood ring, with one difference: it reads the moods of people around Night. This helps him collect data about interacting with them.
- What the different colors mean: Red - Happy, Pink - Pleasure, Black - Sad, Blue - Angry and Jealous, and White - Neutral/Calm.
- In the Japanese series, Night is initially much more annoying than his manga incarnation as he often embarrasses Riiko by telling everyone that he is her "ideal boyfriend", which infuriates her. He finds a job as a janitor at Asamoto and embarrasses her further. Unlike the manga, his data-collecting equipment is a bracelet.
- By developing his own will, Kronos Heaven worries about the problems he may cause to the company and they try to delete his data. Though Night manages to keep his system from deletion for some time, his data chip begins to overheat due to his newfound independence and eventually stops working altogether.
- In the special episode in Japan, his system is restored by a doctor who wishes to use his independence for her selfish reasons. He eventually is forced to make the ultimate decision: to give up Riiko for her future.
- In the Taiwanese TV drama, Night is more or less determined to send the "yellow" data to Kronos Heaven, which can be generated when he seduces women sexually. More identical to the original manga than the Japanese adaptation, Night uses the ring to read Xiaofei's emotions. Night is very much dedicated to Xiaofei's happiness and encourages her to return him to the company if it will make her feel better, but as he starts developing his ego and learning how to become more like a human being, he realizes that leaving Xiaofei is not the best solution to keep her happy and decides to stay with her until the end.
- Soushi Asamoto (浅元ソウシ Asamoto Soushi?)
- Played by: Hiro Mizushima (Japanese drama) / Kun Da (Taiwanese drama)
- Soushi is Riiko's childhood friend. He lives alone with his brother because his father is a travel photographer. He watches over Riiko and takes care of her while her parents work far away. At first, he simply treats her as a very good friend. But as the story progresses, Soushi realizes that he has stronger feelings for Riiko and confesses his love to her.
- In the Japanese version, Soshi is a flamboyant and playful young man who cares more about the origins of his grandfather's company than what it has become. He grows romantically attached to Riiko and declares his love for her. He also encourages Riiko to pursue her dream of becoming a pâtissier.
- In the special episode in Japan, Soshi and Riiko have become a couple, but their relationship is eventually strained by the return of Night.
- In the Taiwanese version, Zongshi (Soshi) is an old friend of Xiaofei who lives next door and takes care of her every day. He works as an elite (and a bit geeky) employee at the same company as Xiaofei. He is extremely reluctant to show his feelings towards her, but as Night comes between them, he tries to challenge Night by attempting to take her back. At the end, Xiaofei chooses Night over Zongshi, but his loyal love and friendship make him firmly committed to her happiness and so he continues to look after Xiaofei and Night.
- Masaki Asamoto
- Soushi's little brother. Usually only shown to add comic relief.
- In the Japanese series, Masaki is Soshi's older brother, and a serious businessman who cares more about Asamoto's current situations and sales development than its origins.
- In the Taiwanese version, Zongshi's little brother is a chubby school kid who makes fun of his shyness, but sometimes gives him good advice unintentionally. He supports Zongshi's love for Xiaofei.
- A boy Riiko asks out at the bus stop. Apologizing, he informs her that he is interested in another girl. He and his friends confront Riiko and Night at school, after finding out they are 'dating', and he calls Riiko a slut. Night doesn't like this, so he beats up Ishizeki's friends and tells him to never mess with him or Riiko again.
- In the Japanese drama, Ishizeki is a staff member of Asamoto whom Riiko seems to be fond of until she realizes with some prompting from Mika that he has been playing with her feelings .
- In the Taiwanese version, Adam (Ishizeki) is one of Xiaofei's colleagues that she has a crush on. He turns down Xiaofei brutally in front of a group of his colleagues. Night shows up to protect Xiaofei and beats up Ishizeki.
- Mika Itou
- A frenemy, and classmate, of Riiko's. She offers support and reassurance when Riiko feels miserable after being rejected by Ishizeki. However, later on, it is shown that she is the reason why boys always reject Riiko after she asks them out. She's been spreading rumors around school that Riiko is slutty and goes out with boys for their money. Mika is shown to have dated Ishizeki just so that Riiko couldn't. After dumping him, she states she is only interested in things that belong to other people. Later on, Mika sets Night's violent fanclub on Riiko and tries to make Night break up with Riiko and date her instead. In the end, her scheme backfires, and she stops being friends with Riiko.
- In the Japanese drama, Mika and Riiko maintain their friendship despite everything she had done to her and Asamoto, and Mika helps protect Night's secret.
- In the Taiwanese version, Meijia (Mika) is a frenemy of Xiaofei who constantly plots to make her miserable since Xiaofei unwillingly uncovered her faults at work. Unlike the Japanese version, Meijia and Xiaofei do not maintain their friendship after Miejia expresses her hatred.
- Gaku Namikiri (ガク·ナミキリ Gaku Namikiri?)
- Played by: Kuranosuke Sasaki (Japanese drama)
- Gaku is a salesman for Kronos Heaven, a company specializing in making highly realistic robots, or "figures." Though usually businesslike and down-to-earth, Gaku is often mistaken for a cosplayer because of his odd manner of dress. When Riiko cannot return Night or pay the bill for him, Gaku allows her to keep him so Night can collect data on how to become a better lover for use in future models. Whenever there is a problem with Night, Gaku is the one to fix him. He tends to use Spanish words in conversations, at least in the English version of the manga.
- Gaku keeps close tabs on the progress in the relationship between Riiko and Night, and he often appears randomly out of nowhere, ie. out of Riiko's closet, mostly for comic relief.
- In the Japanese drama, Namikiri is the creator of Nightly 01, and he decides to sell his 01 to Riiko to prove that his robot is ready for mass production. Namikiri is instead an ordinary robot engineer, unlike the original character in the manga.
- In the Taiwanese version, Lei Wuwu (Namikiri) is more similar to the original character in the manga. He shows off his flamboyant cosplay-like fashion style and pops up wherever Xiaofei and Night are together. He is merely a salesman, not a creator of Night, but he becomes very supportive of Night and Xiaofei and later helps Night escape from Kronos Heaven's COO Bai Qui (Yuki Shirisaki)'s attempt to format Night's memory.
- Toshiki Murakami
- Riiko's first crush. He runs into Riiko and Night before they get on the Ferris Wheel, and he hands Riiko an ice pack because she twisted her ankle. His brother, Yuki, feels sick, and as repayment for helping Riiko, Night takes Yuki to the restroom. Toshiki kisses Riiko when they are alone on the Ferris Wheel together after he admits she was his crush in elementary school. After the kiss on the Ferris Wheel, he appears at the hotel Riiko and Night decided to stay at, invites her to his room, knocks her out, and then says he had fun with her that night. Next, he appears at her school and claims they are now lovers (which isn't true; he never slept with her at the hotel).
- He turns out to not be the real Toshiki, but an imposter. His real name is Toshiki Shirasaki, and he is the Nightly 02 series. He is sent to seduce Riiko because Night failed to sleep with her. He carries a high resemblance to Night in facial features, body structure, and even wears the same jewelry, although he is much stronger and has better reflexes than him.
- After a confrontation with Night in Riiko's apartment, in which Night rips off his arm, Toshiki is shut down by Yuki and taken away for testing and reprogramming. Later, he becomes the boyfriend of a wealthy girl and establishes a friendship with Riiko and Night.
- In the Japanese drama, Riiko encounters Toshiki sitting at a bench on the riverside when she is let down. Toshiki simply tries to get along with her staying at Riiko's landlady's house and starting working as a janitor as Night at her company. He locks Night up in a room to go out with Riiko, but his plan fails as Night escapes and confronts him at the parking lot. As Nightly 02, Toshiki is developed by another team at Kronos Heaven in the Japanese version. In the competition between Nightly 01 and 02, Toshiki loses as he calculates too much for his sake when Riiko is at the risk of a car accident while Night saves her without thinking of his own safety. As a result, Toshiki is disposed permanently and Night 01 is chosen for the mass production.
- In the Taiwanese drama, Junshu (Toshiki) dupes Xiaofei in a similar way as in the original manga. In the Taiwanese version, Junshu causes more troubles to the relationship between Xiaofei and Night than in the Japanese version. He gets wounded seriously after a confrontation with Night and Kronos Heaven's COO Bai Qui, who is also the creator of Nightly 02, admits that Nightly 01 is superior to 02.
- Yuki Shirisaki
- The pretended brother of Toshiki. Knocks Night out when he whispers a code into his ear at the hotel.
- In reality, he is the boss of Gaku. He sends out his Nightly 02 model to seduce and have sex with Riiko. He wants to see if it is a better model than the Nightly 01 series, and he states that whichever model successfully sleeps with Riiko is going to be a finished product, and the one that fails will be disposed of.
- In the Taiwanese version, Bai Qui (Yuki) is the COO of Kronos Heaven. He is the creator of the perfect lover robots. Though he seemed to have created Nightly 01 based on a man who died in his twenties, there is no further explanations about the relation between Bai Qui and the man that looks like Night.
Written by Yuu Watase, Absolute Boyfriend premiered in Japan in the March 2003 issue of Shōjo Comic. It appeared monthly until the thirty-fifth and final chapter was published in the February 2005 issue. The chapters were published in six collected volumes by Shogakukan with the first volume released on October 25, 2003 and the final volume released on February 25, 2005.
Absolute Boyfriend is licensed for both English and Chinese releases in Singapore by Chuang Yi, which has released all six volumes of the series. Madman Entertainment subsequently imported and republished the Chuang Yi English translated volumes in Australia from May 17, 2006 through October 11, 2006. In North America, the series was licensed for an English translated release by Viz Media. It was one of the first six manga series Viz included in the June 2005 premiere issue of the company's new manga anthology Shojo Beat. It continued to be serialized in Shojo Beat until it reached its conclusion in the March 2008 issue. Viz simultaneously released the six collected volumes of the series, with the first volume released February 7, 2006 and the final volume released on May 6, 2008.
|No.||Japanese release date||Japanese ISBN||Singapore (English) release date||Singapore (English) ISBN|
|1||October 25, 2003||ISBN 4091384617||March 2005||ISBN 981-260-381-6|
|2||January 26, 2004||ISBN 4091384625||—||ISBN 981-260-411-1|
|3||April 26, 2004||ISBN 4091384633||—||ISBN 981-260-454-5|
|4||June 26, 2004||ISBN 4091384641||—||ISBN 981-260-454-5|
|5||October 26, 2004||ISBN 409138465X||—||ISBN 981-260-551-7|
|6||February 25, 2005||ISBN 4091384668||—||ISBN 981-260-654-8|
Live-action television series
A live-action adaptation of the manga began airing on Fuji TV on April 15, 2008 and ran for eleven episodes until its conclusion on June 24, 2008. In the live-action version, Riiko Izawa is an office lady in search of a boyfriend, and she ends up in possession of a "robot" known as Night Tenjo, who is programmed to be the perfect boyfriend. However, this creates a love triangle with a distinguished young man at her company who also has feelings for her. Riiko is played by Saki Aibu, Night is played by Mokomichi Hayami, and Soshi Asamoto is played by Hiro Mizushima.
On March 24, 2009, a special episode of this series was released and featured 3 years after the last episode of the series, whereas Riiko had become a pâtissier and is engaged to Soshi Asamoto; and Night was suddenly revived by a Kronos Heaven employee, who wanted to use his individual ego to her own gain. At the end of this special episode, Night is last seen telling Namikiri to erase him from this world while shedding tears. Riiko at last, returns to Soshi's side and their marriage goes on, but this is not shown on screen.
It was announced at a press conference on October 5, 2010 that a live-action adaptation of Absolute Boyfriend will be filmed starring Taiwanese singer-actor Wu Chun as "Night" and Korean actress Ku Hye-sun as "Riiko." On May 3, 2011, Jiro Wang replaced fellow Fahrenheit band member Wu Chun as the male lead of the drama series, now titled Absolute Darling The Taiwanese adaptation premiered on April 1, 2012 on FTV.(絕對達令 Jue Dui Da Ling).
On October 18, 2011, there were unconfirmed reports of a Korean adaptation titled Absolutely Him (Hangul: 절대 그이; RR: Jeoldae Geuyi) starring actress Kim Ha-neul as the female lead opposite singer-actor T.O.P. However there are no follow-up news on the production.
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