December 27, 2011
Minako Narita – CMX – 2007 – 11 volumes
Oh man. As good as this series is, the occasional lapses into shoujo la-la land are more pronounced when some of your characters are New York gang members. At one point, after trying to prove that Siva is tough enough to be Levi’s friend by punching him, the gang members apologize and explain that Levi “is a little shy inside,” that he “idealizes his friends, and leaves people when they don’t meet expectations,” and that they “love hanging around him” because of his “pure, innocent soul.” This is a little bit above and beyond Banana Fish levels of gang sentimentality, and it made me laugh pretty hard.
Other things of note: said gang members have chest hair, which goes against the shoujo la-la land image, though endears them to me a little more. After all, how often do you see that in shoujo manga? I know that’s a weird thing to fixate on, but still. Also, Minako Narita lets us know in a sidebar that she doesn’t like the direction the Thompson Twins’ music is moving in, but she still keeps an eye on their videos, because after all, she’s dreamed about them 116 times, so she can’t just give up on them.
Aside from that… this volume was a little rough for me. At first, it’s very clear that Jake and Roy are each ready to reconcile, and the beginning of the volume gets the characters ready for that. Back in New York, Anise and Levi both agree that Jake looks like he’s coming around, and Anise makes efforts to contact Roy. In LA, Roy can’t stop remembering Jake, and having phantom pains and out-of-body experiences, et cetera.
Then the preparation keeps going. For the entire volume. There’s lots of both Jake and Roy sitting around discussing their “real feelings” with their respective best friends. There’s so much parsing of “who they really are” that I kept losing the thread of conversation. Basically, both Jake and Roy want to be true to themselves, and while the time apart is meant to separate them and make them into their own people, they both seem to realize who they are… and I guess each other is part of that? The story doesn’t really make that clear.
I’m waiting for the next volume to get things going again. I don’t think there could possibly be much more of this sitting around and talking, so hopefully at least a few of the characters will talk next time.