REVIEW: Chéri My Destiny: Chocolately Sweet And Spicy Boys Love

Okage Machino’s Tokyopop boys love manga Chéri My Destiny starts out by introducing Sakura, a Japanese male pastry chef who gained fame in France. He is oozing with confidence about the popularity of his Western sweets shop Bisous. However, when he hears about a Japanese sweets shop that recently opened up in the neighborhood, Sakura decides to challenge the handsome owner Sojiro. From there, what begins as a desire to show the superiority of Western sweets soon blossoms into a different desire entirely.

Chéri My Destiny

Okage Machino
TokyoPop
June 20, 21

Sakura and Sojiro holding each other as sweets fall down

First off, the premise alone drew me into this manga. I love eating sweets and I love gay stuff, so to combine the two in a stand-alone manga starring two adult queer men is heaven for me. In my review of another Tokyopop boys’ love manga, The Treasure of The King And The Cat, I mentioned how boys’ love manga has been evolving beyond high school romance in recent years. I was happy to see this manga continuing this trend in a stand-alone contemporary romance.

On top of the premise, the two male leads Sakura and Sojiro are very swoon-worthy, despite Sakura coming off as a snob at first. Initially, Sakura has a big head because of his fame in France, thinking Western sweets are superior to Japanese ones. He even goes to Sojiro’s Japanese sweets shop and puts down Japanese sweets in front of him. However, Sakura gradually humbles as he starts making chocolate for Sojiro and gets to know him better.

Speaking of Sojiro, he is a pretty level-headed and stoic guy on the surface. Instead of getting angry when Sakura bashes Japanese sweets, he calmly states that both Japanese and Western sweets probably have their merits. He also admits he has never had Western sweets, which is what prompts Sakura to “challenge” him and make him sweets to show him Western sweets are superior. As the story progresses, a tender and passionate side to him is revealed and it is this side of him that causes Sakura to unexpectedly fall for him.

Kojiro is given Sakura's chocolates
Kojiro prepares to eat Sakura’s chocolates

When it comes to the romantic aspects of the book, there are plenty of cute and surprisingly mature moments. The chocolates that Sojiro and Sakura make for each other look elegant and delicious, a highlight of the art. There also are the standard manga blushes and a first kiss accompanied by sparkly backgrounds, which are another notable aspect of the art. In fact, watching Sakura become flustered about Sojiro was amusing because of how he acted high and mighty at first. Yet my personal favorite part of the romance is the spoken dialogue between them.

On one notable page, Sakura asks whether Sojiro feels weird being with him because Sakura is bi and Sojiro is not. Sojiro’s response is that he doesn’t because the fact that he kissed him earlier shows that he wants to date him. Although I am not an expert on how bi-Japanese men are treated, I am aware that American bi men are often stigmatized, especially when they are men of color. When you consider this, Sakura and Sojiro’s conversation is very affirming.

Sakura and Kojiro's serious conversation
Sakura and Kojiro have an honest discussion

Another way that their romance is mature is an entire chapter where they have sex. Those who notice Tokyopop’s 18+ plus rating will not be surprised by this, but readers used to “pure” boys love romance where the characters only kiss might be floored when they first read it. Not only is it visually appealing and arousing for those who want this content, but it is also safe and consensual.

The only minor issue that I had with this manga is the lack of variety in the desserts shown. Although I really like chocolate, the manga’s cute cover made me think that they would be making different kinds of sweets for each other, such as macarons, eclairs, and cakes. Both male leads are professional confectioners, so you’d think they would make more than just chocolate. Then again, maybe they both specialize in chocolate and I missed this somewhere. Since the chocolate allowed for literal moments of sweetness, I am willing to overlook the lack of different desserts shown.

All in all, Chéri My Destiny is a chocolatey sweet and slightly spicy boys love romance. Whether you like mature gay romances or chocolate, this stand-alone manga is sure to satisfy your cravings.

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