World’s Greatest First Love 1
August 1, 2015
Shungiku Nakamura – SuBLime – 2015 – 9+ volumes
This is a spin-off of Junjou Romantica (I wrote up a long anecdote about it, and shoved it down to the bottom of the review), though I believe requires no previous knowledge of that story or the characters in it. I think the only link may be that Ritsu was Usami’s editor at some point edit: not as far as I’ve read in JR. He switched companies, and now works on the (all male) editorial team of the shoujo manga magazine Emerald. He knows nothing about manga, and hates romance in particular due to being spurned by a high school crush.
The Emerald editorial department is a wild place. We get to hear a lot about manga production from the editorial side, which is awesome. It’s like Bakuman in that way. You may even catch the slightest whiff of misogyny from the all-male editorial staff, if you wish (that might also be a BL thing, I can’t tell right now). But Bakuman is from the creator perspective. This is about the editors. What happens when a creator misses their deadlines? How many fingers does the editor-in-chief have to break to keep the printer open long enough to submit a late work? What might an editor change in a work, and why? There’s lots of fun stuff in here, though it’s incidental to the story, unlike Bakuman, where it is the story.
Ritsu Onodera is learning the ropes of this brave new world. He transferred over from his father’s company, trying to shake cries of nepotism. He requested the literature department, but wound up in shoujo manga instead. He’s never read manga, and a bad relationship soured his views on romance. His boss Masamune Takano, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, is also rude and obnoxious.
Most of the story is about how he hates his job, but is too stubborn to quit, and is slowly learning the ropes and interacting with the sundry bizarre personalities at the new publisher.
But because this is a BL story, Masamune is an old boyfriend from high school, and they broke up on bad terms. Neither realizes this until later in the book. Masamune is determined to have him back, and to get Ritsu to fall back in love with him. Ritsu thinks otherwise.
Annoyingly, the first volume isn’t nearly enough story. I should have waited for several volumes to come out and read it in one go. It’s going to be torture to wait for more of this, even with an every-other-month schedule. You got me, SuBLime.
I keep seeing a lot of negative feedback from people that hate SuBLime cover designs. I don’t know why! I think these are purists that like the original covers/logos… but man. They must be looking at different books than me. The logo design for this book mimics the Japanese logo, which uses a fancy pink-outlined typeface, and looks like it may have come from the 90s. Most BL books look like this. The SuBLime house design is way better.
I saw a lot of hype surrounding this title, but realized later it was a spin-off of Junjou Romantica. Crap! I never read that! Well, it’s odd that SuBLime would release a spin-off and not the original series, right? I looked up Junjou Romantica, and noticed it was 18+ volumes long. That’s probably an insane length for an imprint like SuBLime, and truthfully, most publishers who aren’t Viz (though I realize SuBLime is owned by them, I speculate it works on different rules). Crimson Spell made the New York Times best-seller list, but I’m willing to bet most books don’t make enough money to keep an 18 volume series afloat, the same way Pokemon and Naruto probably keep something like Case Closed coming out.
On the other hand… I looked up Junjou Romantica to see if it was expensive to acquire second-hand. Right Stuf actually carries the entire series new, and also releases the anime. I suspect they or Tokyopop are still able to reprint the volumes already published in English, because there’s no way there’s still that much unsold new stock sitting around for a series as popular as Junjou Romantica. Especially if an anime came out, and especially since the early volumes were released… almost ten (!!!) years ago? No way. So that might be another wrinkle.
Long story short, I bought all twelve volumes of Junjou Romantica that Blu published in English. I literally cannot wait for that to come in the mail. edit: They did, and it was glorious. I would re-buy it from SuBLime in a heartbeat, though.