Manga Review | Charming Scarface by Io Kaziwara



This review will contain spoilers for the and anime series Charming Scarface. While the manga may vary slightly from all other forms of media, it may have similar story elements and could be considered spoilers.

Trigger Warning: There may be references to , violence, blood, rape, pseudo-incest (sibling-like to a guardian-like relationship), homomisia, death, stalking, coercion, and manipulation, as it appears in the manga.


Yuma is a big, bulky bear of a man, but inside, he's a soft sweetheart. This gentle personality manifests in the motherly way he dotes on his younger childhood friend Shizuya, in his love for kid's picture books, and at work when helping kids find books they'll love at the bookstore. But nothing gives him more pride than Shizuya. Much of who he is as an adult was carefully crafted for Yuma to be the best big brother and guardian figure for Shizuya. Yuma's happiness is intrinsically tied to Shizuya's, and Yuma wouldn't have it any other way.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard Yuma tries, it seems like Shizuya just isn't all that happy. Undeterred, Yuma does everything he can to dote on Shizuya in hopes that he will become the upstanding man Yuma knows he can be. One evening, while in town, Yuma's devotion to Shizuya reaches a dangerous level. As much as Yuma likes to think Shizuya is still the small, sweet, and gentle little boy, Shizuya has played the role of a delinquent through his teen years and, consequently, has gained a violent reputation and many enemies. He's challenged by some other delinquents, itching for a fight, but what was going to be a fight with fists turns deadly as one of the guys pulls out a knife.

When Yuma sees his beloved Shizuya threatened with a blade, he has no hesitation and jumps in the way, permanently scarring his face and making his life much harder, as children are afraid of the scar. Shizuya is beyond guilty, but Yuma is all too happy to sacrifice himself and his livelihood for Shizuya's happiness.


If you liked the art in Aggressive Sex with an Angelic Smile, then you'll like this. They have the same artist, so this has many of the same attributes. Once again, we have a really beefy bottom with a smaller, prettier top, which is a really fun dynamic. This, however, is a lot more uncomfy of a setup than it was in Aggressive Sex with an Angelic Smile because we frequently see Shizuya as a young adult paired against how he was when he was a toddler. It has a groom-y aspect to it, though it's pretty clear Yuma had no intention of starting a romantic or sexual relationship with Shizuya. It's just not my favorite thing in the world seeing Yuma constantly remember little tiny Shizuya, only to then have sex with him or be assaulted by him. Again, I don't think Yuma ever had any intention of being with Shizuya, as a child or as an adult, but it's still got a groom-y, shota-y, and pseudo-incest-y quality that hits a lot of my major icks.

Cover art for Charming Scarface by

As much as I dislike how it is brought up to be used in comparison to their relationship in the present, I did really enjoy seeing Yuma and Shizuya's time growing up together. Shizuya was such a cute little bean, and Yuma's devotion to Shizuya started from a young age and shaped his teddy bear-like self as an adult. What this failed to show, however, is how this devotion shaped Shizuya into the person he became. He ends up assaulting Yuma time and time again as a way to prove that he isn't that sweet little boy but a man who doesn't want a father or a brother but a lover in Yuma. I can appreciate the reason, but I wish more time had been spent developing that shift. When did Shizuya start growing hateful and resent the time he spent being doted on and raised by Yuma?

We see hints of it, such as when Yuma protects Shizuya from being burned, resulting in his first scar across his back, but that doesn't show when Shizuya feels he would never be seen as a man by Yuma. It does a good job of establishing the moment that Shizuya was determined to become a man who could protect rather than be protected, but that doesn't really account for the leap from their close, though strained, relationship to a rapist and victim type of relationship Shizuya forces them into. As much as I loved seeing their brotherly relationship growing up, I wish we could've seen more moments of Shizuya growing up, being irritated by failed attempts at confessing his love, or trying to push Yuma into a relationship that goes beyond the one they've had. Without that connection, Shizuya's sudden attack and assault on Yuma, trying to push him away, doesn't make much sense to me.

I love that this creator does larger bottoms with smaller tops, but they also tend to make the tops look extremely young, which isn't my favorite thing in the world. They also seem to rely heavily on dubcon and noncon, which I don't mind, but I know it isn't everyone's favorite thing in the world. The top does look extremely young, though he is a college student by the time this situation begins, so it isn't technically shotacon, but it gives that vibe just based on how he is designed versus how Yuma is designed. I love the younger top, older bottom dynamic and the bigger bottom, smaller top dynamic so much, but it can be achieved without delving into shota content. I'm not here to police anyone's preferences in fiction, but I vehemently dislike shotacon, and it's so unfortunate that this seems to cater to that preference, whether intentionally or unintentionally, due to the character design.


I really want to like this because there aren't many works with bottoms that are the larger of the two. This artist seems to exclusively work with that dynamic (at least from what has been licensed in English, thus far), but it's just so hard to like with so many other aspects that are just uncomfy to me. If you're desperate for the bigger bottom and smaller top dynamics, is a winner. I like them, but they're not my favorite, especially with the shota-y tops they seem to go with, which is a huge ick for me. I'll keep reading their work, but I don't know how readily I'd recommend them.

Have you read Charming Scarface? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!

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