Archive for the 'Embracing Love' Category

27th May 2008

Embracing Love 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I’ve got to come clean here, I was a huge Haru wo Daiteita fan before there was even the slightest inkling that they might be bringing it over for a North American release. Loved the art, loved the characters, and loved the plot. So if I tend to sound like a bit of a gushing fangirl, you’ll have to forgive me.

We’ve got two AV (adult video) stars. Iwaki and Kato. Both are competing to be at the top of their genre and have developed a sizable rivalry. They are both invited to come and audition for a part in a new movie, which is based on a homosexual relationship. The author and director instructs them to have sex, so that they can judge just how much raw feeling and emotion these two are going to be able to produce.

Eventually, these two end up starring in a TV serialization of the story and begin a relationship of their own. I’m glossing over a lot here, but I’m trying to not give away too many salient plot points. Suffice it to say that it’s a rocky relationship at best, but they find that having real emotion and love is much better than showing fake emotion and love on the screen.

I’ve always been a fan of the next to last chapter in this manga, “Imitation Room.” It’s filthy and lovely and all kinds of good. Youka Nitta has never shied away from being graphic in her manga. She likes to push the limits of what the censors will allow. For someone who reads a lot of BL manga and is used to seeing the glowing cones of light used for penises and characters who are completely devoid of pubic hair, it’s quite a shock to see these characters drawn with pubic hair. It makes the scene just that much more filthy.

Really the only problem I have with this manga is the same problem that I have with every Be Beautiful release. I hate the blown up black and white images on the inside covers. They just look ugly. Once again I want my dust covers and my full color inserts. I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but maybe if I bitch long enough and hard enough they will get a clue as to what the fans want.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Embracing Love, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Embracing Love 1

27th May 2008

Embracing Love 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

The tension continues in Embracing Love, Volume Two. Iwaki doth protest too much, I think, but Katou always gets his man. We all know that neither one can resist the other. And, really, who could blame them?

The jealousy in the story “One Night Gigolo” adds the right kind of spice I like. They angst, they yell, they… unwind. Even if Iwaki and Katou are together, they both are striving for fame separately. This, of course, is the main issue in their relationship. I can imagine that most famous couples go through this sort of thing. Nitta handles Katou and Iwaki with a grace that is rarely seen in manga.

I found no flaw in illustration. Youka Nitta draws poetry. The curve of a neck says so much. It’s as simple as that.

I’ll, uh, stop gushing now. I will confess that I would like to see color inserts, but I’m not stressing over it. I’m here for the story and art, everything else is gravy. I would think that anyone who is a fan of Embracing Love feels the same.

Posted by Nikita | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Embracing Love, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Embracing Love 2

27th May 2008

Embracing Love 3

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

The first chapter of Embracing Love, Volume Three is the chapter that introduced me to Kato and Iwaki. I had picked up a used copy of BeBoy Zips on a whim. Flipping though it, I was pretty disappointed in the series that this issue was featuring, except for this one story that had these boys angsting and then getting together and screwing madly.

Not being able to read Japanese, all I knew about it was from the words in English at the beginning of the chapter “Paradox Dogs”. Eventually this lead me to my love of all things Youka Nitta.

In this installment we’ve got Kato and Iwaki moving into a house together and dealing with Iwaki’s family and their take on the boys’ relationship. Once again, Kato and Iwaki prove that at the end of it all, love is all that really matters.

The book is beautiful, the story is beautiful. This book just helps to prove that Embracing Love is one of the hallmarks of the genre.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Embracing Love, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Embracing Love 3

27th May 2008

Embracing Love 4

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

When you’ve got a series as engrossing as this one, you don’t mind a filler volume every once in a while. Katou and Iwaki are not working together anymore. Working on separate series is starting to wear on the couple. Especially on Katou, who needs almost constant reassurance of Iwaki’s feelings for him.

A hot and fast encounter in a parked car goes a long way towards soothing Katou’s ruffled feathers, but after the encounter, his jealousy rears its ugly head again. Katou’s feeling uneasy about Iwaki’s pretty new male assistant and for good reason. The assistant wants nothing more than to drive a wedge between Katou and Iwaki.

A guest role in Iwaki’s series helps to reassure Katou of his place in the world and in Iwaki’s heart, but it backfires when the ratings for Katou’s series being to slip. Poor Katou, he just can’t get ahead. Iwaki always manages to present a facade of calm control, but Katou’s emotions are all over the place. Very messy indeed.

We leave the boys happy after a bout of lovemaking that helps to reaffirm their relationship and Katou’s place in the world. But, you know that as soon as anything goes wrong or Iwaki stops paying extreme amounts of attention, they’re going to be right back at square one.

Included in this volume is the story of Sawa, the cross-dressing author of Embracing Love, the book-turned-movie-turned-series, that brought Katou and Iwaki together in the first place. It’s nice and gives a glimpse as to why Sawa acts the way he does towards his younger lover.

It’s very easy to get addicted to the characters in this series. It’s filled with enough angst and pretty boys humping to make me one very happy fangirl. The character’s emotions are larger than life and pull you into feeling what they are feeling. Really, it’s just all around wonderful.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Embracing Love, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Embracing Love 4

27th May 2008

Embracing Love 5

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Well, it seems as though Asano’s plans are about to come to fruition. Katou’s away for a shoot, Iwaki is lonely and uncertain, and Asano pounces on the opportunity. Ah, but can he really come between our lovers?

Yes, he can. Katou and Iwaki don’t talk as much as they should. They’re very passionate about each other, but that passion is a double-edged sword.

But, come on! This is drama. This is really sexy drama, actually. They make up with steamy sex in the living room, among other places. This is what all couples do, right?

In this volume, you have my favorite part of this series: Winter Cicadas. This is a sad, wonderful Romeo and, uh, Romeo story that takes place in the Bunkyuu Era. First, we have Kusaka Touma who is part of a clan against foreigners in Japan. Then we meet Keiishirou Akizuki who is, predictably, in a clan for the inclusion of Westerners in Japan.

The clans end up warring against each other and everything goes to Hell in a handbasket. Akizuki and Touma are doomed from the beginning of course. They make a promise to be together when foreigners aren’t an issue and they can love each other freely.

“Winter Cicadas” is romantic and tragic. It ends exactly how it should. I found some problems with the translation though. Okay, first it’s ‘top knot’ not ‘top-notch.’ And, it’s ‘Akizuki’ not ‘Akidzuki.’ Whoever did the translation and spell check should be slapped up side the head for this.

I can overlook the mess-ups and enjoy the manga for what it is. I hear the same complaints from others about production value and translation issues. It’s starting to sound like a broken record. If these things bother you so much, quit buying or become a manga translator for these companies. It’s as simple as that.

Posted by Nikita | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Embracing Love, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Embracing Love 5