Love Pistols 1

February 11, 2012

Tarako Kotobuki – SuBLime – 2012 – 6+ volumes

I hate myself a little bit for even entertaining the idea of reading this series. I’ve read the first four volumes before, but I thought I’d wait to talk about it until the SuBLime edition came out. Mostly as a procrastination measure. You can read it digitally on their site, no print edition has been planned yet. I couldn’t tell you what momentary impulse made me pick this up in the first place, or even read four volumes of it. But the part I’m most ashamed of is that I kinda like it. It’s the concepts that terrify me, but to be fair, Kotobuki’s execution is pretty great. She takes these bizarre concepts and pulls them off.

In the world of Love Pistols, there is a race of people called zoomans (high five for the pun!). Most humans evolved from primates, but zoomans evolved from other animals, including cats, dogs, dragons, snakes, bears, et cetera. A regular primate human cannot detect the animal soul of zoomans, but zoomans can sense another zooman, and which animal soul they possess.

Primate humans can’t tell that there are zoomans, but their special power is that they have no problem reproducing. Zoomans have trouble conceiving amongst themselves, and a primate partner will always produce a primate human, so zoomans are quite rare. There are also three different “classes” for each of the zooman animals, and the more powerful and rare the zooman soul is, the harder it is for them to conceive a child like them. The characters don’t really have animal powers or anything like that, but they do rely on powerful animal instincts when it comes to choosing a partner. And they are obsessed with procreation.

If this wasn’t weird enough for you, keep in mind that this is a yaoi manga, so the partners are all male. Males obsessed with fathering children. So yeah. It goes there. It’s only mentioned in volume one. It’s explained later. I don’t like it at all. It puts me off horribly. But I read it anyway, because it’s strangely compelling.

The first volume is about Norio and Kunimasa. The story starts with Norio suddenly seeing everyone in the world as animals, and landing in the predicament of having every single person he meets fall passionately in love with him. After being relentlessly pursued by giant bear-man Kumakashi and sexually harassed by Kunimasa, Kunimasa explains that Norio is a type of zooman called a “missing link.” Missing links are from primate human families that have a zooman somewhere in their background. Sometimes, a missing link will develop, like Norio, who has his ancestor’s cat soul, but the fertility of a regular primate zooman. For whatever reason, this makes Norio extraordinarily sexually desirable for both zoomans and humans of both genders. Norio, despite being completely straight, finds himself with a great deal of sexual attraction towards Kunimasa. Kunimasa, an asshole, makes all the time he can for Norio as well, but refuses to commit in a relationship, or even admit that he wants to have sex with Norio for any other reason aside from procreation.

They resolve their problems eventually, and there’s another storyline involving Kunimasa’s brother Yonekuni and a classmate of his. What the relationships boil down to is that zoomans are controlled a great deal by animal instincts, and in the case of Kunimasa and Norio, despite the fact that those two don’t even really like one another, there’s not a whole lot they can do about the fact that they are only sexually attracted to each other once they meet. Things work out after this is resolved, but I like that the two characters are bound together like that. Love Pistols tends to move from couple to couple, rather than focusing on Kunimasa and Norio, and most of the couples have problems like that. It makes for an interesting read in that way.

But yes. It is all sorts of crazy. Amazingly, as confusing as all my explanations are, Kotobuki’s in-text explanations are not. She actually designs a lot of charts and children’s books for Norio that make things easy to figure out and simple to remember. I had to refer to the chart again and again the first time I read the series, but it’s included with every volume (as far as I remember), and surprisingly, it doesn’t really take me out of the story. Even more shocking, is that all this zooman nonsense works in the context of the story she’s writing. It’s… weirdly not forced. It is batshit insane, and she does use a lot of weird humor to make everything work, but it works. That doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with the read, or the reproductive angle of the whole thing, but I’m still reading it, because it’s worth it.

So yes. I find I have to give it a very cautionary, shamefaced thumbs up. You can see why I would hate myself for liking it, but it is a pretty good story. Perhaps better than most, for making all that craziness work for it. It’s not the most sensitive, or the best, or even really respectful towards the characters at all. But it is different.

7 Responses to “Love Pistols 1”

  1. […] School of the Dead (Manga Village) AstroNerdBoy on vol. 2 of Love Hina (omnibus edition) Connie on vol. 1 of Love Pistols (Slightly Biased Manga) Connie on vol. 9 of Mars (Slightly Biased Manga) Justin on The Melancholy […]

  2. Helen Says:

    Thanks for the review – one correction though the giant bear-man ist called Kumakashi!

  3. Connie Says:

    Crap! I knew I was going to do that. The hint is in the name itself! I don’t know why I kept confusing Kumakashi and Kunimasa’s names.

    Sorry for misreading your comment at first, too. ^_^; I tried really hard not to make that mistake. Thanks for the correction!

  4. Estara Says:

    You know, if we can enjoy Kaori Yuki manga, why not Love Pistols *grin*

  5. Connie Says:

    YES. You know, I hadn’t thought about it quite like that.

  6. P-chan Says:

    I feel like I want to support this manga, because it’s a rescue and I want publishers to be like, “So continuing Tokyopop’s discards IS worthwhile after all, huh?”
    But I’m kinda afraid of this one. Still, Silver Diamond and Shinobi Life are worth it!

    One question though: are there girl-zoomen? Or are they all guys trying to knock up other guys? I mean, the couples are probably all-male, but they at least included other-gendered zoomen, right?

  7. Connie Says:

    Yeah, there are female zoomen, though they’re only peripheral in volume one. One of the main characters is dating a female zooman before he hooks up with the guy, though I’m not even sure if she has a name. Later, there are female zoomen with marginally better roles, and even lesbian couples that father children together the same way the male couples give birth. So the creepiness goes both ways!

    And I am all about license rescues. I haven’t read Shinobi Life, but I did love Silver Diamond, and would love a publisher to see it through to the end. Or maybe other Blu titles, like the last volume of Black Knight or a republishing/continuation of the You Will Drown In Love titles. Though the second seems less like a rescue and more like a matter of time.

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