Manga: It’s not love at first sight

A few days ago I blogged about my plans to get acquainted with manga. Well, my swap partner is the slowest one ever and “Fake” still hasn’t arrived. I’m pretty pissed off about that, because if I want something I want it now. However, I went and got another one from the same site but another swap partner. “Boys Love” by Kaim Tachibana arrived on Saturday and I finished it yesterday. All in all it took me about two hours or so to go through it. When looking for the book on amazon I just realized that it hasn’t been released in the US yet, which I find incredible. Usually over here we get everything months and years after the US, so this is surprising. I added the link to German amazon so you can have a look at it there.

I understand the manga has been created after the film “Boys Love” which must have been a huge success.

The blurb: Magazine editor Mamiya meets popular high school model Noeru Kisaragi for a story Mamiya’s working on. When Noeru suddenly tries to go down on Mamiya and makes sexual advances at him, Mamiya turns him down flat. But Mamiya’s loneliness starts to get to him and he decides to try starting over with Noeru on equal footing.

I have no idea whether this was a typical manga, since it was my first one. I don’t know whether how it was done is what they usually are like or not. So I can’t judge it and say this was well or not well done. It’s unknown territory for me.

The reading in a different direction was no problem, I got used to it quickly and it felt not strange at all. What I didn’t get was the jumping around between scenes. One second you were at one place, the next you were at another, then a flashback. I found it hard to keep track of what was going on at any given moment. Thank God the three main characters looked different from each other (short hair, long hair, glasses), otherwise I would have been at a total loss.

Before I got it I read some reviews on amazon and they all went on about what deep love story with lots of emotions and in a gentle atmosphere this was. Don’t know about you but if a guy comes on to another guy in a toilet stall and wants to give him a blow job after having met him for ten minutes, I don’t see the deep emotions. The falling in love over the course of the book must have happened so subtly that I didn’t realize it had happened. It seems I need to have it spelled out for me so I recognize it. Sad, happy, in love or full of hate, the characters always looked the same. Just looking at a few black and white drawings doesn’t do it for me, obviously.

The end was frustrating. I heard that in the film they both died and a lot of reviewers of the book said they had cried their hearts out at the end. So I assumed the worst (not that it mattered to me, I hadn’t formed any sort of bond with Mamiya and Noeru), and was pleasantly surprised. I have no idea whether Noeru died or not. One minute he was dying, Mamiya said something about calling an ambulance and the next page had them sitting at a beach. Is this a dream? Is this reality? I can’t tell.

Maybe I’m too inexperienced with manga to realize what was going on. Maybe I’m not in the right target group (I’d have no problem to bet on this). Maybe manga is not for me. I’m willing to give it another try with “Fake” and then I’ll see. It’s by another author and artist, so it should be different – I hope.

2 Comments Write a comment

  1. What an interesting review! Maybe love of manga requires this cultural or generational context for appreciation that readers like you and me just don’t have.

    I just finished reading my first yaoi, The Crimson Spell, and it was enjoyable but I’ll never move yaoi or manga up as my first choice in reading material. It’s too slow-going for me for one thing. Similar to the same reason I’ll never get into audiobooks — I can read text myself a whole lot faster than someone can read it to me.

    I’m not sure that there even CAN be a whole lot of emotional depth expressed in situations and line drawings. You make some good points about how the supposed emotional content in the manga just didn’t match up with their actions.

    My reading experience was more of a fantasy-adventure with the only emotional bond between the characters being lust and some mutual fascination so that stayed consistent with the drawings. The strangest thing for me was the 13 year-old kid dialogue coming out of the mouths of princes and wizards, ha, ha!

    Very informative review! Thanks for sharing.


  2. Pingback: The Bookkeeper » Weekly Geeks 2010-19: Getting Graphic

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