October 21, 2008
Let me try to go back to my Halloween pledge with a couple different books tonight. This one was only incidentally seasonal, but since it did have a ghost story, I’m going to go ahead and say I planned it.
I haven’t read the first two books in the Takumi-kun series, and I only read this one out of order because I had heard they were mostly one-shots. This seems to be the case, and while there was some initial confusion while I sort of placed all the characters at the beginning of the ghost story/mystery, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t missing much by not reading the other volumes. I plan on going back for them, though, because the main couple had a really cute relationship, not to mention steady, and having a plot that didn’t hinge on a love triangle was nice for a change. It’s sort of like Make Love and Peace, it’s more a story about stuff happening to the couple rather than a story about the couple, which is unusual, I think, at least in the shoujo manga I’ve read.
So the story starts off with an explanation that the school that Gui and Takumi-kun go to has a haunted clock tower where someone fell, possibly while making out. While sneaking into the school, Takumi and Gui are caught by a teacher, and they get sucked into an elaborate blackmail plot trying to separate said teacher and a student he’s in a relationship with, and the ghost and love story sort of mix and go back in time to mingle with the ghost story from earlier in the chapter. Photography and Gui’s wealth figure into the mix, and while it’s not a very satisfying mystery, it was still fun to read. And there were even real ghosts and everything.
The mystery takes up the first 2/3rds of the volume, and the last story is a Christmas story (the title, “Tales Out of Season,” comes from the fact that Takumi mentions it was too late in the year for ghost stories since apparently hauntings happen in July and the story is set in October, but whatever, that there’s a Christmas story is just a bonus). It’s a pretty typical shounen ai story about Gui getting a cold and Takumi angsting about his Christmas gift and what kind of relationship Gui has with someone else and being separated from Gui for the winter break, etc. Not too gripping, but again, I like the cute relationship the two share, so this story was a nice little bit of fluff for that.
In my personal BL scale, this series passed. While the series does feature an underage couple, nothing more than a kiss transpired, and the kisses themselves were pretty cute. More was heavily, HEAVILY implied, but never shown. I don’t mind as long as I don’t have to see the underage stuff, so there you go. I’m happy.
And on a side note, do you ever see acronyms that you have to say out loud in your head the long way every time you see them? Like… mm, I don’t know, saying “in my opinion” every time you see imo in a sentence? I was having this problem with Gui. “GUI” is a graphical user interface, so everytime I saw Gui’s name, the phrase “graphical user interface” ran through my head instead. It was maddening, but entirely my own fault for being such a geek.
There’s nothing terribly deep or engrossing about Tales Out of Season, but it was a pretty fun read, and I enjoyed the ghost story aspect as well as the Christmas story at the end. The cute, steady relationship between the two main characters actually has me wishing for more, especially since I see the first volume is about how they got together. Oh, I’ll definitely be coming back for more.
This was a review copy provided by Tokyopop.