by Mitsuki Oda; adaptation by AJ Glasser
published by Aurora Publishing; $10.95 US
Real Love is the second release from the Luv Luv Press imprint. Like their first book, Voices of Love, this volume contains sexy love stories aimed at an adult female audience. (It’s rated Mature, for ages 18 and up, due to language, nudity, and situations.) Unlike the first book, the stories here are longer, which I hoped meant they’d have more depth, but I was disappointed.
The first (title) story focuses on the love lives of twins, a boy and a girl. The female, Shu, runs into an ex, an actor she hasn’t seen for three years. Her brother Shun tries to talk her into ignoring him, but she’s intrigued. The idea behind the story, exploring sibling jealousy and how to balance romantic and family love, has a lot of potential.
Unfortunately, the end of chapter one turns on date rape. The ex-boyfriend locks Shu in a room and starts fondling her, asserting that because she responds to him physically she must still care about him. She’s confused and refuses to speak up for herself. It’s a repulsive message; the implication is that it’s ok for him to strip and violate her because it will show her how she really feels.
Then her brother greets her, after her return, with “Welcome home, Miss Slut.” I quit reading at that point. I’d found the storytelling confusing up until then anyway — I think that we were seeing flashbacks mixed in with present-day events, but I had a hard time telling which scenes were set when as well as following the flow from panel to panel. Between being disgusted and lost, I gave up.
I had high hopes for this line, because I’d love to see more manga aimed at women (not just girls), but I’m not going to put up with sub-par romance-novel fodder and wimpy female characters just because the book is labeled mature. I want true adult content, not just curse words and breast shots.
(A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)