October 13, 2011
Venio Tachibana / Rihito Takarai – June – 2011 – 2 volumes
I loved the first volume of this, and the second volume was a worthy conclusion to the storyline. Again, each chapter is structured as a day of the week (or part of a day, like Friday Morning and Friday Afternoon), and this volume chronicles Friday-Sunday of the relationship between Shino and Touji. Touji always goes out with the first person who asks him on Monday morning (usually a girl, but in this case it’s Shino), and then breaks up with them on Sunday evening, saying that “I didn’t fall in love.” This entire book has that hanging over the character’s heads.
And that’s really one of the best parts about it. It’s very good at having both Touji and Shino slowly feeling each other out. They have each fallen for the other, but both seem to be afraid of admitting this, since the premise of their current relationship is something like a a joke and is set to end in just a few days. Shino keeps telling himself that, wenever Touji does anything that makes him feel like his feelings are returned, that it’s just something Touji does whenever he’s dating one of his weekly girls. And whenever Touji thinks Shino is returning his feelings, he remembers that Shino only asked him out to see if he would date a guy. And both seem to be trying to find a way to bring it up to the other that they want the relationship to continue after Sunday. Shino is very volatile with the deadline bearing down, so he seems to say and do things that ruin the mood frequently, too.
It’s a wonderful, wonderful series. I mentioned before that it’s a love story without a whole lot of romance, and yet it’s still an incredibly touching one. There’s a lot of drama in the unsurety of the relationship, and yet it never feels like the situation explodes, or blows out of proportion, or is something that Shino and Touji can’t fix. They simply get to know one another, and get closer, both because they want to know more about the other. It’s one of the very best character-centric BL stories I’ve read.
It’s a very, very sweet story, and the ending is worthy of the first volume. I was a little surprised it didn’t go farther, but then again, the seven days are in the title. It stops once there’s an end to that, and there’s a very brief epilogue.
The BL translation law continues, and I was happy to find out that the writer, Venio Tachibana, does have another work available in English. Her BL novel Love Water is floating around out there, but it is unfortunately out of print and apparently very expensive. Unless you have a kindle. Then it’s only six bucks.
August 1, 2011
Venio Tachibana / Rihito Takarai – June – 2010 – 2 volumes
Now here’s something a little different. I picked this up on a whim after reading a few comments elsewhere about how good it was.
The premise is that Touji, a very popular boy at a mostly all-girls school (a school that was recently integrated) will go out with the first girl who asks him on Monday morning. Throughout the week, he will treat her as a princess, but when Sunday rolls around, he tells her “I’m sorry, I couldn’t fall in love with you” and breaks up, only to start the cycle over on Monday. All his former girlfriends have nothing but nice things to say about him.
On a whim, while crossing paths, Shino half-jokingly asks Touji out for the week. Touji surprises both Shino and himself by going through with it. Each chapter is structured as a day of the week, with this book covering Monday-Thursday.
It’s less a romance than it is an exploration of these two characters. It’s very serious-minded, without being a drama. Shino is a firm believer in the fact you should admire a person for who they are, rather than their appearance (he’s been dumped more than once for not living up to his princely image), and Touji simply wants to be free of his first love, the person he so desperately tries to replace every week.
Their love is a slow thing, without a whole lot of romance, and yet it is still touching. They go to the movies and go to ramen shops. Shino talks Touji into going back to the archery club. Mostly Shino goes along with Touji’s symbolic dating ritual. The realization that they like each other is rather slow, and there’s no sudden, adorable revelation or anything like that in this volume.
It’s simply… a book about two boys getting to know each other over the course of the week. Nothing more. And yet, it is utterly fascinating and well-written. I didn’t even really like either of the characters, and I couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait for the followup volume, which should be available sometime within the next month.