Candy Color Paradox
Isaku Natsume’s Candy Color Paradox reinforced for me that I’m not a yaoi fan, because I really liked the aspects of this SuBLime manga that had nothing to do with sex or the relationship between the leads. It’s a classic story of “co-workers, forced together, spat as cover for their true feelings”, only with two guys.
Satoshi, a news writer, was supposed to be working on the political beat, but at the last minute, he’s sent to the “stakeout team” to partner with photographer Kaburagi. First off, the idea of an apparently partially respectable journalistic outlet having a stakeout team is a fascinating glimpse into Japanese culture. I wanted to know a lot more about how these weekly magazines are assembled and how they are viewed. But that’s just the background for these two guys being thrown together.
Immediately, Kaburagi isn’t impressed with Satoshi, while Satoshi is intimidated by how good Kaburagi is at his job, seducing women for scoops and always thinking ahead. He’ll do anything to get the story. Satoshi has recently caught his girlfriend with another man, so he’s already feeling discouraged and inferior. Plus, Satoshi has thought of Kaburagi as a rival, with them competing for magazine space, but Kaburagi hasn’t thought much about Satoshi at all.
I enjoyed all the insight into the day-to-day workings of the job beat, and it was amusing seeing Satoshi constantly being shown up. I wanted a lot more of the two working together, whether it was getting on each other’s nerves during a lengthy stakeout or secretly admiring each other’s work or trying to keep each other from being jaded.
Everyone likes or admires Kaburagi, while Satoshi feels like he’s the only one who sees the con artist. Given the genre, as the two guys get to know each other, they develop a certain kind of feelings. Kaburagi has to rescue Satoshi from some uncomfortable, potentially dangerous, situations, which deepens Satoshi’s crush on Kaburagi and flusters him on the job.
That’s the point at which the series changes, as Satoshi becomes more obsessed, paying more attention to wallowing in “does he like me? what does his touch mean?” than in doing the work. Things move fairly quickly from then on, with two sexual encounters at the end of the book. It wasn’t for me by then, but I suppose you could see this as a modern take on His Girl Friday. (The publisher provided a review copy.)