Archive for the 'Level C' Category

25th May 2008

Level C 1

Rating: ♦

Level C centers around a relationship between Kazuomi (seme) and Mizuki (uke). Mizuki is a model, Kazuomi is the twin brother of Haruno, the head of a corporation that wants to center their latest promotion around him. Haruno talks Kazuomi into seducing Mizuki and the plot degenerates from there.

Kazuomi runs into Mizuki at a bar and finagles his way into spending the night at Mizuki’s apartment. In return for Mizuki’s hospitality, Kazuomi promises him a “night of ecstasy that…[he] will never forget.”

The characters find that they can make each other feel very good and an affair is started. The little bit of a plot that the series has seems like nothing more than situations to get the characters back into bed.

The art work in Level C is fairly sophomoric. Oh, everything is somewhat in proportion, and it’s hell of a lot better than I could do, but there’s just something off in the execution. You find yourself staring at the page during one of the many sex scenes, not enjoying the work, but trying to figure out what body part is going where and who’s doing what to whom. Very distracting. The characters have limited facial expressions. They’re either showing extreme innocence, advanced debauchery or they’re screaming in pain/pleasure. The only real saving grace for this book is that the characters have utterly filthy mouths and engage in a lot of smut talk. Something that’s rather rare to see in BL manga. No amount of smutty words though, can carry this work past the empty plot and general bad art.

I picked up volume one because I wanted to support the genre being released in North America. After reading the manga, I realized that I can support the genre without supporting crap. I will not be purchasing the rest of the series. I think it’s fantastic that they’re bringing over graphic BL series for the fans to enjoy, but can’t they bring over some more quality work?

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in , Futaba, Aoi, Level C, Mitsuba, Kurenai | Comments Off on Level C 1

25th May 2008

Level C 2

Rating: ♦

“We were complete strangers…
Everything is new…
Let’s create the love we share, starting now…”

We were complete strangers is right. It’s hard to build a relationship off of a one-night stand. Kazuomi and Mizuki are trying, but there’s really nothing keeping them together except some wild-hot-monkey sex.

There are a few attempts at plot and character development. In this book, Mizuki is on the track team at school. Kazuomi and his sister come to watch him compete. The day is going along swimmingly, when Mizuki runs into his rival on the track team, Takanashi. Takanashi picks a fight with Mizuki and then kisses him.

Now this isn’t just your normal BL plot device where everyone wants to screw the uke. Takanashi has his own hidden agenda for messing around with Mizuki, not to mention that it gives Takanashi an excuse to be a good, jealous seme and prove to Mizuki that they belong together. So, in the end we’ve got Mizuki and Kazuomi screwing madly, and not much else.

I’m trying to like Level C. Really I am. Normally, the lack of plot doesn’t bother me in a smutty manga. I’m here to get hot and bothered and look at the pretty pictures, but there’s just something about this series that rubs me the wrong way. I don’t get hot and bothered. I end up flipping past the sex scenes to see if there is any semblance of a plot on the following pages.

I just don’t see why this series is such a fan favorite. Is it because its OAV was one of the first commercially available BL OAVs in North America? If so, then that’s a pretty crappy reason to like a series. Is it because it’s pretty much pure smut? I can at least respect that reason. I don’t like this style of smut, but if that’s what you’re going for, this series has it in spades. I know it’s not the art because the art is still very sophomoric.

If you like it, then I’m happy for you. Just don’t expect me to join you in singing its praises.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in , Futaba, Aoi, Level C, Mitsuba, Kurenai | Comments Off on Level C 2

25th May 2008

Level C 3

Rating: ♦

“Nobody can take my memories away…
Nobody can take him away from me…
His love will never be broken, it will last forever…”

When we last left our two intrepid heroes we had Kazuomi showing his jealousy at Mizuki getting kissed by his classmate, Takanashi. Takanashi doesn’t like Mizuki. He has his own reasons for starting trouble with Mizuki and Kazuomi.

A few years ago, Kazuomi broke his sister’s heart. Sending her into a dream-like state where she waits for Kazuomi to come to her. Eventually, Kazuomi breaks her out of it by confronting her and letting her know that it is Mizuki that he truly loves. Which leads to rounds of hot, sweaty make-up sex.

So, once again, in the end, we’ve got Mizuki and Kazuomi screwing madly and not much else.

The plot is spread really thin in these books. I had to stop and re-read them for a third time because I could have sworn that the whole Mizuki/Kazuomi/Takanashi mess happened in one book, leaving room for a new plot device in volume three.

Nope. This flimsy plot got stretched between two books. Seriously, this series could have been compressed into one or two books. The main thing the characters do in the series is screw.

I’m sorry to say this, I’ll be turning in my pervert membership card later, but I’m just tired of watching these boys fuck. I want to see some real plot development. I don’t care about the characters in this series or want them to have everything work out so that they can live in happy smut-land. I don’t want them to have a happy ever after. I want to douse them both with cold water and tell them that there’s more to life than screwing.

The characters don’t even really argue. When they do, it’s in bed and it ends up with, you guessed it, more bedroom antics. Damn it. I want plot. Where is my plot?

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in , Futaba, Aoi, Level C, Mitsuba, Kurenai | Comments Off on Level C 3

25th May 2008

Level C 4

Rating: ♦♦

Finally! An installment with a semblance of a plot! First off, we’ve got Mizuki searching for the perfect birthday gift for Kazuomi. Which ends up with, you guessed it, the boys in bed. Then we have Mizuki and Kazuomi taking a trip up to a lake.

While up there they run into our old friend Takanashi. Takanashi has taken to skipping school to race go-carts. The boys get invited to go and watch the race; there are a few flairs of jealousy and guess what, the boys end up in bed again.

We eventually get some back-story on Mizuki. Poor kid’s had a messed up life. We get a happy ending and surprise, surprise, the boys are back in bed again.

At the end of the book in the authors’ notes, the creators acknowledge that this series has just been a session of sex scenes up to now, but they admit to trying to put in some plot.

I don’t loathe this series as much when there’s at least a modicum of a plot involved. If only the series had started out this way, instead of waiting until book four to throw in some plot.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Futaba, Aoi, Level C, Mitsuba, Kurenai | Comments Off on Level C 4

25th May 2008

Level C 5

Rating: ♦♦

Poor Mizuki. Kazuomi’s been all kinds of busy with work and too busy to spend more than a few hours with him. On a rare day off, Kazuomi and Mizuki’s plans to spend the day ravishing each other keep getting interrupted.

So, we’ve got a horny uke and a devious seme. Instead of getting Mizuki off, Kazuomi just tortures him all day. Until finally they end up in bed together and lots of wild-hot-monkey-sex ensues. The torturing bit was actually kind of cute. For once I wasn’t rolling my eyes at the boys antics.

Next up, we’ve got a rehashing of how Kazuomi and Mizuki got together. That made me slightly cranky. Didn’t we already cover this in the first book of the manga? Do we really need to go over it all again? Yes, we’re digging a little bit deeper into the character’s motivations, but I’m just not fond of reiterating a point when its only purpose seems to be to fill up space.

Finally, we end up with Kazuomi and Mizuki taking a trip together to a traditional inn and hot spring. Much love for the drawings of the boys in yukata.

There’s a little bit of plot development when one of Kazuomi’s old rivals is running the inn and sets his sights on Mizuki, but it’s really only a slight bump in the road to getting the boys back into bed together.

Really, the only thing I find myself enjoying in these books is just how filthy the words that come out of the boys’ mouths in bed are. I’ve always been a fan of that, so it makes my reading a bit more enjoyable.

But even the filth is not enough to save this series. Here’s hoping that Kitty Media will stay with releasing smutty series, but look for some plot in the next series they license.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Futaba, Aoi, Level C, Mitsuba, Kurenai | Comments Off on Level C 5

25th May 2008

Level C 6

Rating: ♦♦♦

“Our relationship doesn’t evolve, does it?
Oh well. As long as we’re happy, right?”

You know, that quote just about sums up the entire series. It’s all just excuses to get the boys in bed and draw them screwing. Now that they’re admitting this, I’m finding myself being less and less cranky with the series. Mind you, I’m still not terribly fond of it. But as long as everyone involved knows it’s just an excuse for pointless smut, then I’m willing to go along for the ride.

In this installment we have Mizuki getting cranky with Kazuomi for working too much and neglecting him. He decides to give Kazuomi the cold shoulder as pay back. This goes along fine, with Mizuki stewing in his little bishonen world of angst. Mizuki then gets a phone call from Kazuomi’s sister, telling him that Kazuomi’s been in a car accident and is in the hospital. Come to find out that Kazuomi’s been putting in a lot of extra time at work, to give a better life to Mizuki.

We can all see where this is going, right? Mizuki forgives him and then decides to make it up to Kazuomi by getting aggressive. Finally. Six books into the series and we, at long last, get to see Mizuki taking the lead.

Next up, we have the boys taking a vacation to a foreign locale. Where Mizuki gets molested by the jet-ski instructor and Kazuomi has to come to his rescue. Again, we can all see where this is going to end up, right?

Finally, we’ve got Kazuomi slipping Mizuki an aphrodisiac. I don’t know why there is a need for an aphrodisiac. With the way these two carry on you would think they have to buy stock in lube. Kazuomi’s got something a bit more exotic than their normal bedroom acrobatics this time. He’s got some toys to pay with. Hello, Mr. Vibrator. This leads to extremely filthy language and pages upon pages of mindless smut.

It’s fun. It’s filthy. It’s never going to be one of my favorites, but I’ve finally made peace with Level C. It’s worth buying if you can get past the lack of plot and the lackluster graphics. If you just want a silly, smutty romp, this is the series for you.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Futaba, Aoi, Level C, Mitsuba, Kurenai | Comments Off on Level C 6