Archive for the 'Maeda, Sakae' Category

26th May 2008

Jazz 1

Rating: ♦♦♦

Meet Dr. Narusawa, a deceptively sweet man. Underneath Narusawa’s smiling facade lay a cool emptiness that frightens himself. Then his patient, Naoki Segawa, slams his way into the good doctor’s life, and pants, and everything falls apart for Narusawa.

Yes, that’s a pretty good sum up of the first half of this manga. The second half is the couple actually getting to know each other. They got the steamy sex out of the way, now it’s time for the soul-crushing angst. Oh, and angst the couple does. I love seeing pretty boys suffer like this.

The art style in here is softer than Youka Nitta’s, but has the same cute facial expressions. It’s a little sketch-y, yet clean. Actually, I find the illustrations beautiful, even if the smut is rather censored.

Even though I enjoyed Jazz, Volume One, I can’t find anything remarkable in it that would make me tell everyone to buy it. The character dynamic is interesting with the older uke. I have to say this manga isn’t for everyone since it’s not very smutty, it’s not sweet and it’s not funny. However, if you like the bittersweet, you might want to give this a try.

Posted by Nikita | Posted in ♦♦♦, Jazz, Maeda, Sakae, Takamure, Tamotsu | Comments Off on Jazz 1

26th May 2008

Jazz 2

Rating: ♦♦♦

I wasn’t that impressed with the first volume of Jazz and, in all honesty, I’m not that impressed with the second volume. But, it could have been a lot worse.

This volume sees the lovers moving to the US. Jealousy and head games enter the picture, turning what should have been a relaxing, romantic trip to New Orleans to a night of misunderstandings and other very bad things. I don’t know about you, but if my lover raped me, I don’t think I would be forgiving him at the drop of the hat.

One of the themes in this genre that has always made me slightly cranky is that rape can and will be forgiven in the face of true love. Now, there are times when the storytelling is so good that I can overlook this, or there are times when it’s handled so well that I forget that I’m supposed to be cranky with it. Not so here. We’ve got a sniveling uke-boy who’s putting on a brave face and pretending that his lover didn’t just inflict horrible pain on him. And the seme-boy feeling guilty but not trying to make it up to him.

We’re piling melodrama on top of melodrama to move the plot along. I just don’t buy this successful doctor being a doormat for this spoiled little rich seme-boy with an attitude problem. But, as is the case in most BL manga, the force of their love has a way of overlooking the violation of the doctor’s body.

We end up with the characters not having grown any, but are just reinforcing their maladjusted relationship. It’s not healthy and it’s not pretty, but somehow it still retains a slight ability to suck you in. I don’t know how many more books in the series I’m going to be able to find even slightly entertaining, but right now it’s working for me.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Jazz, Maeda, Sakae, Takamure, Tamotsu | Comments Off on Jazz 2

26th May 2008

Jazz 3

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I never thought it would happen, but this series is starting to grow on me. When we last left our angsty boys, Naoki was hospitalized and left in the care of his lover, Dr. Narusawa. Things are going along swimmingly, or at least as swimmingly as their fucked up relationship ever gets, until Naoki’s parents arrive at the hospital. When Dr. Narusawa takes them aside to brief them on their son’s condition, Naoki’s father delivers the ultimatum to never see his son again.

Now remember that Dr. Narusawa has had misgivings about this relationship from the start and is constantly worried about his feelings for Naoki. So, instead of telling the father to go sod off, he starts to distance himself from Naoki.

Things get even worse a few days later when Naoki’s father comes over to have a talk with the good doctor. The father regrets the harshness of his words, but still doesn’t want the doctor to be in a relationship with his son. He offers money to get the doctor to break it off cleanly. Dr. Narusawa turns into an ice bitch to hide his feelings and rejects the money, but agrees to the breakup.

When he goes to break it off with Naoki, it does not go well. Naoki had been telling him that he did not want to live without him in his life, but our doctor friend always thought that Naoki was just being over dramatic. The stress of the breakup triggers a severe asthma attack and Naoki does not want to survive it. Not surprisingly, he survives. Now it’s his turn to be an ice bitch to the doctor in retaliation for breaking his heart.

I love angsty boys and boatloads of emotional pain. I want to revel in the fact that their lives are crashing down around them and that their emotions are spinning out of control. It makes my own life seem so much better in comparison. If this series continues with the emotional angst in the last book and doesn’t sink back into the territory of magically-forgiving rape, then Jazz may just turn into a series that I truly enjoy.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Jazz, Maeda, Sakae, Takamure, Tamotsu | Comments Off on Jazz 3

26th May 2008

Jazz 4

Rating: ♦♦♦

Oh, man. Talk about your unhealthy relationships. Obsession and unspoken feeling are the main things you will find in the conclusion of Jazz. It’s been a long road, and while I did eventually come to find some slight enjoyment in this series, it will never be one of my favorites. There’s almost too much angst for me to slog through to find a semblance of a story. Now, I’m usually getting my panties in a knot when it comes to angst, but there comes a point where it goes beyond being hot, messy and sexy, and just ends up being silly.

So, we’ve got our long suffering doctor, living in the apartment next to his ex-boyfriend, just so that he can keep his eye on him and his health. Naoki is putting up a good front in keeping his feelings for Dr. Narusawa under wraps, until he sees the good doctor in a compromising situation. Mind you, the doctor did not want to be in this situation, but was getting molested by a drunken friend.

Jealousy brings Naoki’s feelings to the forefront, but he manages to repress them in an attempt to hurt the doctor. There’s a lot of confusion and missed chances and things of that nature.

In all honesty, it was all very tiring. I never thought I would say this, but I would like this series a hell of a lot more if the whole thing was shortened by half. The story could have been told and told well if it was condensed in two books and if the angst was cut in half.

The bit that did amuse me was the little mini story in the back that puts the characters from Jazz into a story about a journey to the west to find a Buddhist scripture – and if you’re thinking, ‘oh, like Saiyuki,’ then you would be right. So very very cute.

Not quite cute enough to make up for the mess in the rest of the series, but cute all the same. This is not a series I can recommend wholeheartedly. It’s just too messy and leaves me feeling too cranky.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Jazz, Maeda, Sakae, Takamure, Tamotsu | Comments Off on Jazz 4