April 3, 2012
Nawo Inoue – DMP / Digital Manga Guild – 2012 – 1 volume
Hey, another Digital Manga Guild title on eManga.com! Has it been awhile since I read a DMG title?
So… I really debated over whether or not I wanted to cover this here. This is not a thought that has crossed my mind before, because I write up absolutely everything I read, with no exceptions. But this one. I just… I don’t have anything nice to say. The other problem is that I feel terrible when I don’t like a DMG title. I know the groups try hard to promote the titles, and I love talking about the ones I like. There are some I don’t like, though, and I’m honest when that happens. But it makes me feel bad all the same.
Because of that, and because it still makes me angry to pay $7 for book I don’t own in a format I don’t like, I only buy them if the description sounds 100% my flavor. To be fair, most of the DMG licenses are fairly middle-of-the-road, so if the book isn’t exactly to the taste of the reader, odds are it’s not going to make a good impression. So I have to be good at parsing the book descriptions and finding key words that will fail my personal taste test. The description for An Abandoned Cat’s House contained red flags like “took in an abandoned child.” But it was a story about a vampire and his companion, and I’ve read plenty of good romance stories about that kind of couple (I’m addicted to paranormal romance fiction), so I was curious.
It’s borderline shota, and I was so upset. Perhaps it could be argued that it’s not really (there’s no sexual relationship at that point in the story), but it was so close that it didn’t matter to me.
Phil, the human, is adopted as a child by Edo, the vampire. Phil stays at home while Edo goes out to feed, and Phil is always asking Edo about where he goes and who he’s with. Edo rebels against Phil’s clinginess by constantly visiting a friend Phil dislikes. This strange antagonistic/clingy relationship didn’t make sense to me, because I couldn’t figure out why Edo would feel smothered by a child, or why a child would be giving off all the BL jealousy signals. Perhaps it was supposed to be read as Phil being lonely and missing his only friend/older brother/guardian, but it didn’t strike me that way, especially when he confessed his love for Edo.
Edo basically blows Phil off, and then realizes he’s… drawn to him. In no uncertain terms. Edo throws Phil out after this realization, against the advice of his friend (“you’ve found a companion to share time with!”). This is followed by the usual BL point of drama that brings Phil and Edo back together, except in this book it’s a perverted old man that bought Phil off the street. All of this is just as uncomfortable and squirm-y as it sounds, and I hated myself for reading it.
Edo does make a vampire out of child-Phil, which is thankfully not a sexual thing (though it is emotionally intense). Somehow, Phil ages after this, and the story jumps ahead to when Phil is much older. Then he makes moves on Edo, after assuring the reader again and again that a lot of time has passed and he’s bigger than Edo now and probably technically “older” somehow. In this story, the dialogue between the two makes it sound like there was no sexual attraction at all in the first part, and that Edo didn’t “get” it and “didn’t know” his own feelings, though he said as much earlier. Maybe I was reading too much into it, but honestly, I was so disgusted by that first part that I’m not going to re-read it to try and put a different spin on it. Perhaps that’s unfair, but I just can’t.
The characters weren’t that sympathetic, either. Edo comes off as a cold jerk, and there’s never really a reason given as to why Phil falls for him, he just does. There’s not reasons given for a lot of things, like why Phil doesn’t like Edo’s friend in the first part (because the friend gives Edo blood, and Phil isn’t allowed to?), why Phil ages after he becomes a vampire (or why Edo doesn’t), things like that. Even without the creepiness factor, the story and characters are not good. But the art is nice. I did like that about it.