Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Boys Run the Riot, v.1 by Keito Gaku

Boys Run the Riot Cover Art

Boys Run the Riot, v.1 by Keito Gaku
Kodansha Comics / Kodansha USA
Publication Dates: May 25, 2021
ISBN: 9781646512485

Ryo spends his days at school and at home without letting anyone know that he is transgender. In his free time, it is only the clothes he wears that make him feel like his true self. When Jin—a new cisgender student who has to repeat the grade Ryo is in—runs into him at a clothing shop, they find that they both have the desire to wear clothes that reflect themselves. Ryo confides in Jin about his gender identity, and the two decide to start their own clothes business with Ryo designing and Jin marketing. Rounding out the group is cisgender classmate Itsuka, who is bullied for his interest in photography. The three work together to create a business that makes clothes that defy people’s assumptions about them. 

Created by a transgender manga creator, Boys Run the Riot creates an engaging narrative that explores gender identity and self-expression. Readers will be rooting for the trio to succeed in their business. The supportive friendship between Ryo and Jin is a highlight of the story and believably establishes their business partnership. The expressive art brings the characters to life with distinct personalities, and the fashion designs made by Ryo are realistic. At the end of the first volume, another genderqueer character is introduced, which indicates a continued focus on the LGBTQIA+ characters in future volumes.

Readers with a passion for LGBTQIA+ comics and manga will enjoy the first volume of this series. It is a great series to recommend to fans of the manga series Our Dreams at Dusk by Yuhki Kamatani and the graphic novel Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier and Val Wise. Readers of the manga series Blue Period by Tsubasa Yamaguchi and Blue Giant by Shinichi Ishizuka will gravitate towards the protagonists as they pursue their dreams. 

Rachel Johannigmeier

Other Nominated Titles

  • Monstress, v.5: Warchild by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (October 6, 2020)
  • That Full Moon Feeling by Ashley Robin Franklin (February 21, 2021)
  • The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor (June 15, 2021)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.