Junjo Romantica 1
August 1, 2015
Shungiku Nakamura – Blu – 2006 – 18+ volumes
Whoops, I posted the 2nd volume before this one. Here’s volume 1!
I’ve been hearing about this series for years, but avoided picking it up because normally pieces or all volumes of old BL series are expensive. After The World’s Greatest First Love (technically a spin-off) was released by SuBLime last week, I looked into this one and was shocked to see Right Stuf still had all the volumes in stock new. As this came out almost 10 years ago, the Blu imprint has been closed for 5 years, and Tokyopop ceased production 4 years ago, I was a little incredulous. This series is fairly popular, and there was even a recent anime. There’s no way there was still unsold stock of all the volumes sitting around.
Part of me suspects it may be getting reprinted. My copy of volume one has a different paper and cover stock than what Tokyopop used, and the print quality is… bad. So bad that even I noticed. Also, my copy of volume 4, which is the first I have that does use the usual paper and cover stock, is a 7th (!!!) printing, whereas the first three, on different stock (the same stock as my copy of volume 12), are apparently first printings. Just an observation. The 7th printing also tells me this was ridiculously popular. Few series get a second printing, and seven is… wow. Especially volume 4. I doubt there is another BL series that has that many printings.
Anyway, as all the volumes were available now, I dove in. DAMMIT, why do all of these have to start with a rape scene? This one happens within a few pages, with only a few words passing between the characters. It’s… wow. Rather jarring. Perhaps it “doesn’t count” because Misaki isn’t pushing Usami away because he “doesn’t want to lose,” but man. I’ve read a lot of these, and that was still a little uncalled for.
Aside from that… Usami’s a great character (kind of like a gay [bonus points for actually gay and not BL-I-only-love-him-gay] Tamaki Ohtori), though I’m a little bored by Misaki, who’s the usual BL reluctant lover… and their relationship isn’t all that passionate. Or romantic. But Usami is an eccentric rich person, and he does that well. I also love that he’s an award-winning author, and turns his sexual fantasies into BL novels he writes under a pseudonym. Excellent.
This volume also introduces another couple, Kamijo and Nowaki. I was also not really into them at first, either. The first 3/4 of their story is also the typical BL “one character gets close and the other character resists”-type thing, without a whole lot of romance. And I require romance. But man. The last little bit of their story in this volume, where prideful Kamijo gets found spying on him and passing it off as nonchalance and almost dies of embarrassment, was adorable. I hope they have more stories like that. I’m also a little lukewarm for both of those characters right now, though I like that Nowaki is this good guy who’s trying to work his way into college the hard way, and I love Kamijo’s pride that can be picked apart by Nowaki. I hope that continues.
I could warm up to it. I need more romance, though. It’s in the title! Deliver!