by Suzuki Tanaka
published by Tokyopop; $12.99 US
There are other manga reviewers who read a lot more yaoi than I do, so my surprise at this volume may simply reflect my lack of familiarity with related genres. But that said, this is the oddest boy’s love collection I’ve seen.
For one thing, there’s very little boys’ love in it. Heck, of the four stories included, one is a schoolboy/girl romance. The publisher bills the theme as “supernatural mysteries”, but what we actually get, well, here are the story descriptions:
- “Unforgivable” — Two men live together. One plays video games all day, which infuriates his partner to the point of murdering him. I’m not spoiling anything — those are the first two pages. The story explores what happens when a cute young guy shows up to collect money from the not-yet-known-to-be-deceased. There’s no visible affection, just lots of sitting around talking.
- “Two in Love” — A teacher lives with a male student, and a creepy schoolgirl knows about it. The two guys fight over whether to give money to a street beggar. The story doesn’t go much of anywhere, and both this and the previous share a minor character, a mysterious criminal type who makes problems go away.
- “The Fate of a Crime Fighters’ Love” — A kid from a village of people with superpowers goes to the big city to fight evil (but with no spandex or costume). His childhood buddy follows him to reveal that his feelings for him have matured in a new direction.
- “Kanako’s Story” — A girl hears aliens. Her childhood friend humors her and then realizes he cares for her.
These stories didn’t do anything for me, but I did appreciate the attractive art style. It was more “mainstream manga” than many other BL volumes I’ve seen, which tend more towards the wispy and elongated male figure. This artist uses firm lines and expressive faces to move the story along instead of focusing on pretty boys. The action scenes are especially prevalent, obviously, in the superhero story.
Yaoi readers will definitely find this something different, although it won’t push the buttons of someone looking for work that falls within the usual expectations of the boys’ love genre. The lack of traditional love scenes is particularly noticeable. I’m not sure why this is part of the BLU boys’ love manga line, actually, except it wouldn’t have been likely to have been published at all otherwise. (The publisher provided a review copy.)