As with the first volume, I am extremely impressed with the mysterious plot, though much is explained by the end of this volume. This helps me forgive it a lot of sloppy layout/dialogue issues that make it confusing even when things are being explained, but it’s still worth mentioning since these flaws are so aggravating when everything else is so good.
Things also move more towards shounen ai in this volume, and the two main characters are drawn together more and more. There’s also some romantic complications at the end of the volume when the main character’s fiancee and brother show up. The main character has no interest in his fiancee, but she won’t leave. Unfortunately, neither will his brother, and it’s making the main character extremely upset that the brother seems to have set his sights on the mysterious boy.
The mystery behind the town is explained. It’s a little underwhelming, and I was hoping for a more supernatural explanation, but one might still be forthcoming. I’m still pretty excited about the tidbit that hasn’t been revealed, and I’m also pretty excited to see how the main character will eventually be accepted into the town. It really is quite good.
I like reading Netcomics series a lot. At worst, they can be mediocre (the one I like the least is probably Boy Princess, which is I believe their most popular), but I’m impressed by the wide range of subjects they cover in girl genres, and I’m always somehow more entertained by their mediocre titles than the middle-of-the-road stuff from other larger publishers. It feels good when a Netcomics title knocks my socks off, because it makes me feel like I’m part of a secret club. Which probably doesn’t make any sense.
What I’m trying to say is that I really, really liked Roureville. I always hesitate to pick up new BL titles because… well, they have a tendency to suck if they don’t come from Fumi Yoshinaga. Finder Series, Innocent Bird, the aforementioned Boy Princess… these are all titles that have let me down recently. The genre is SO POPULAR in my age group that I feel like maybe I’m just buying the wrong ones. I don’t think this is the case, but I’m always slightly relieved when they don’t suck.
Anyway. Much like Innocent Bird, we don’t get much action in this volume relationship-wise. Actually, the main character is supposedly straight. Unlike Innocent Bird, the volume takes its time setting up a totally awesome mystery town that makes you want to read it for reasons other than the relationship. The main character goes to a little town in Texas (maybe not Texas, but definitely in America) half as a vacation/get-away-from-hitmen, half to investigate a ghost story that originated there to write about it in the New York Times. The ghost story turns out to be a hoax, but he stays on as part of a vacation and writes a novel about the eccentric residents. Most of the residents want him out of town, one wants very badly to beat him up, and one poisons him (which I’m hoping wasn’t poison, but some awesome mystery potion that makes him undead or something). He lives with a shy boy who lives in a huge broken-down house, much like Francis Dolarhyde. This shy boy is who I assume will be the romantic interest later on, and he may be the one that started the rumors of ghosts… but he seems real enough for the time being.
The story is slightly guilty of being confusing at points. Part of this is because I think it’s trying to foreshadow and failing, so I assume these things will become clear in later volumes. These bits are infrequent though, and most of the volume is a pretty well-paced story that slowly turns itself into more and more of a mystery. The town’s residents, though sort of one-dimensional here, could definitely be fleshed out into very interesting characters as time goes on. They’re already such a diverse bunch that it’s easy to see this going interesting places.
I think this is running simultaneously in Korea, so I think we’ll be stuck with long waits between volumes. Volume 2 is already up at Netcomics though, so if you like reading things on your computer screen, by all means partake of the 25 cent chapters there. I hate that myself, so I’ll be suffering silently until the print version is released.