A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{December 16, 2012}   Comics and manga of the week (71)

piece,-tome-1-1340002-250-400Back to Love (French) by Saki Aida and Yugi Yamada

  • This volume continues the story from Only Love (see below). Recently released from jail, Sawaragi is trying to leave behind his life of crime but when one of his old cellmates shows up at his door, he’s ready to do anything to free the boy from the cycle of abuse that he has lived in his entire life. There is a soft spot in my heart for yakuza BL (it might be the tattoos ;)) and this is a great one by one of my favorite mangaka. I’m thrilled that they’ll be more of Sawaragi and Kasuga. 🙂

Blue, volume 1 (French) by Kozue Chiba

  • Mimi returns to the island where she grew up after a bad breakup. She finds that her childhood friends, Yosuke and Hikari, have grown into handsome young men and they’re both interested in her. Only Mimi is afraid of falling in love again. Though I didn’t dislike it, absolutely nothing stands out in this manga. It is the most generic of shojo manga both in art and narrative.

His Favorite, volume 2 by Suzuki Tanaka

  • Tanaka has taken the bishounen out of BL with her amusing series about an ugly boy caught in the clutches of the school idol. It’s certainly not sexy and Sato is too possessive for my tastes but it’s a unique and occasionally funny story.

Hotaru, volume 13 (French) by Saturu Hiura

  • Once I finished this volume, I realized that I hadn’t read volume 12 yet. But after a bit of disorientation, I quite enjoyed it. Just as Hotaru realizes that she’s fallen in love with her boss (and roommate), his ex-wife re-enters his life. Hotaru follows them all the way to Okinawa but can she compete with his ex-wife? I like Hotaru, I guess I see a bit of myself in her so I can’t help but hope things turn out well for her (of course it will). Now I need to go back to the store and get volume 12.

Idol A, volume 1 (French) by Mitsuru Adachi

  • Azusa dreams of joining the high school baseball team and becoming a professional player but girls can’t play in official games. Fortunately for her, her childhood friend Keita looks remarkably like her and is willing to switch places with her. Even their parents can’t tell them apart. He may be as good at imitating people as she is at baseball. I think it’s unnecessary that Azusa is also a model but I’ll let that slide as I really enjoyed this new series. Adachi is back to what he does best: strong beautiful girls and baseball.

Only Love (French) by Saki Aida & Yugi Yamada

  • When Izumi runs into an old friend by accident, he’s less than pleased: Takatsudo said some harsh words when they parted. Now he’s back and showing interest in Izumi but is it love or is he using him to get information about Izumi’s Yakuza brother-in-law? Yugi Yamada is one of my favorite BL writers and this volume was a real pleasure. Meanwhile Izumi’s preccocious son is both adorable and hilarious. 🙂

Papillon, volume 5 & 6 (French) by Miwa Ueda

  • Ageha is finally dating Hayato but her twin sister, Hana, has fallen for him too and isn’t afraid of being a bit underhanded to steal him. Then the past comes back to haunt them in the former of Hana’s ex, who had fallen for Ageha, and the little sister of Hayato’s dead ex, who claims that Hayato killed her. A twisty romantic story that teeters on the edge of melodrama. I like that Ueda ends each volume with a psychological analysis of the story.

Piece, volume 1 (French) by Hinako Ashihara

  • After attending the funeral of a high school class mate she barely knew, Mizuho is drawns into an investigation of the dead girl’s life. This was an impulse buy but a fortunate one. The secrets of the girl’s life and her mysterious love affair slowly unravels and at the same time we learn more about Mizuho and the two young men who help her. Beautiful and atmospheric.

Q and A, volume 1 (French) by Mitsuru Adachi

  • Atsushi (A) returns to his home town after a three year absence. He returns to find his friends, the girl he loved (more beautiful than ever) and his elder brother’s ghost. Only A can see the ghost who seems intent on living vicariously through his brother and who still has the maturity of an elementary school student. A quirky supernatural story (with a few too many panty shots for my tastes) by one of the masters of sports manga.

Slam Dunk, volume 25 by Takehiko Inoue

  • Shohoku must beat last years champions, Sannoh, or lose their chance at the basketball finals but a watching one of Sannoh’s games has left the team shaken. All except for Hanamichi. His fearlessness and the coach’s advice helps them regain their confidence. They may be the underdogs but they are not going without a fight. Things are really getting exciting, I don’t want to wait 2 months to see how the game ends!

Strobe Edge, volume 10 (French) by Io Sakisaka

  • The final volume sees Ninako and Ren finally get together. But the best part of the volume was, for me the two side stories. In the first, Ren’s small, cheerful friend Gat-chan pursues a girl with dogged persistance… because that’s all he has going for him. Ren and Ando are great but I fell for Gat-chan in this story. The second, the story of Ren and Ninako’s first date is too sweet for words. Strobe Edge is a very ordinary love story on the surface but I was surprised by how much it touched me.

Sumo by Thien Pham

  • A short and fascinating tale of a heartbroken football player moving to Japan and becoming a sumo wrestler. It has amazing complexity for a comic told in such simple art and colours. Pham can make sumo look as graceful as ballet.

Switch Girl, volume 3 & 4 (French) by Natsumi Aida

  • Nika is a switch girl: a lazy slob at home and the perfect girl in public. She goes through a lot in these two volumes: first a hot spring trip turned survival game and then a teacher sexually harassing students. Worse, when her family finds out that she and Arata are finally dating they insist on taking him to a buffet lunch; she’ll have a lot of trouble keeping her “off” side in check. This manga is hilarious and shameless and I must admit that I’m not entirely unlike Nika. >_<

Take Over Zone, volume 1 (French) by Masara Minase

  • Mizuki is strong armed into the track team. Bad memories of his middle school team had kept him away but he’s too competitive to resist. Meanwhile, he’s quickly falling for the infuriating and intriguing Konno. A tame but well told high school romance by another one of my favorite BL mangaka.

You & Me etc. (French) by Kyugo

  • Three short and sweet stories of boys falling in love. Kyugo’s art is beautiful and her stories well told but I find that they end a bit abruptly. I wish they were a little longer honestly.

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