It’s kind of funny how reviews work. I like reading them after the fact, just to see what other people say about something I’ve already read, and I also read them to try and get a feel for series that I’m thinking of starting. I rarely read reviews for things I plan on reading before I get to whatever it is myself. I did so by chance before both volumes of this series, though, just because I’m extremely interested in what other people say about LuvLuv titles. Before the first volume, I read Julie’s positive review at Manga Maniac Cafe, and I wound up liking it okay, since I agreed with her that the characters liking each other was sort of different in the LuvLuv books. Before I read this volume, though, I read Ed’s impression at Mangacast, and he said it was one of the worst books of the year (well, that was in the Aurora report card). I don’t think it was that bad, but I could definitely see a lot of weaknesses in the characters and story while I was reading it.
Make of that what you will.
Regardless of any preconcieved notions I had going in, these stories focused a lot more on Ayame’s insecurities than they did the couple busting crime together. In fact, a lot of the story deals with a teen delinquent vying for Koichi herself and making Ayame doubt her feelings or Koichi’s feelings for her. A lot of this didn’t sit right… for instance, who in their right mind would assume their boyfriend, a police officer in his twenties, is going to immediately fall for a pushy delinquent teenager? One of the plot points hinged on the fact the teenager told Ayame that she was putting on a “good girl act” due to the death of her parents. This didn’t make much sense to me at all, and it deeply unhinged Ayame. I have no idea what was even going on there. Another plot point was the teenager suggesting that Koichi meant more to her than he did to Ayame, because given the choice to save Koichi or her parents from falling off a cliff, she would save Koichi. Since Ayame couldn’t decide who she would save (in that case, Koichi or her grandparents), she became very upset and began doubting her feelings. What?! Why would anyone ever think that based on a silly age-old question like that?
And each chapter sort of read like it had a moral at the end, followed by three pages of sex. I don’t know what happened to this series here.
The last third or so of the volume contains two unrelated stories. The first one, “Just Like a Romance Novel,” is about a librarian falling for a boy who isn’t normally her type. This was pretty standard fare, and I was kind of embarassed by the way she kept comparing what happened in her relationship to the plot of a romance novel. I work in a bookstore, and such metaphors don’t really dance through my mind while I’m going about my day, so I just couldn’t accept that it was something a librarian did.
The second story, “The Way You Look at Me,” was somewhat baffling. A woman begins dating a man, and before it gets serious, she reveals that she hides a scar she has over her eye with makeup. Apparently this is a big deal for all her other boyfriends, who immediately dumped her when they found out (?!), but she’s happy the new guy can accept her. She goes out on dates with the scar uncovered. Incredibly, random passerbys stop and stare, shocked and appalled by the scar on this woman’s face. It’s clear that her boyfriend isn’t enjoying his time out, the woman is insecure again, there is a twist, blah blah blah. This one was less good than it was puzzling.
Anyway. It’s probably safe to give this one a pass. Do pick up its predecessor, “Object of Desire,” which is a wonderful LuvLuv book.
Wow, I really liked the last Luvluv release, but this one was also good. I’m so happy the last few volumes have been so enjoyable, because I would really like for this line to be successful. I’m not sure if the recent news about the Luvluv titles showing up on Netcomics is good news or not, though. In general, I think it’s always a good thing when more publishers get on board with Netcomics, even though I don’t read the stories online myself. I really ought to break down and read some of the more retro-looking series Netcomics has been publishing online lately, though (the first chapter of The Hunter is really awesome, for instance). The only bad thing I can see about Luvluv showing up over there would be if they decided to switch to online-only or some books online-only, because that would really just wreck my day.
Anyway, this book was great because it was much more positive than any of the other ones. The couple is established right away, and instead of being a drama-tastic romance, this is more about the two of them busting criminals chapter by chapter. Normally this involves the girl getting herself caught by the criminals and the guy busting in to save the day, which is fine. The guy is a cop, so he’s normally tracking down the criminals as part of his job anyway, and the girl’s reason for meddling is sometimes along the lines of “well, if this criminal is caught, he can spend more time with me!” It’s simple, but it works pretty well.
You may think that the lack of drama-tastic romance would make this cleaner than the other Luvluv books, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, I think there’s more sex in this book than any of the others, which is pretty amazing. There seems to be 2-3 sex scenes per chapter, but sometimes they get stopped halfway because the guy is called away for his job. They’re a pretty happy couple though, and the sex seems like a healthy part of their relationship instead of any sort of… catalyst or whatever it may be in the past Luvluv books.
The last two stories deal more with the characters and their relationship. One of the stories is about the guy’s brother coming into town and going out on a date with the girl, and for something different, this is not taken the wrong way by a single person. Another story deals with the guy comptemplating a possible career change so that he can spend more time with the girl and be in less danger doing his job. Both of these do a good job of adding drama without breaking up the couple.
What a great book! I’m not sure if I liked it as much as Pretty Poison (they’re sort of not comparable), but it was still a really fun read. I’m so happy to see that a follow-up volume with the same characters is coming out in January.