February 29, 2012

Kiyo Ueda – DMP / Digital Manga Guild – 2012 – 1 volume

More from the site, this time I decide to walk on the wild side and pick up Classmate. I usually try to avoid school-age romances like this, but I liked both of the main stories in this. I tend not to like it when a physical relationship gets pushed prematurely onto a younger couple, but both the stories here were falling-in-love stories that stopped short of physical, and they both worked pretty well.

In the first of the two high school stories, an underclassman stops going to tennis practice for two reasons. One is that he hates the new team captain for a perceived slight during a match. The other is that his beloved sempai is in the process of graduating and no longer comes to practice, either. When the upperclassman shows up one day and asks him to come to practice on behalf of the hated captain, he starts attending practice again. Plus, the captain isn’t as bad as he initially thought. The two grow closer, and later, he realizes his beloved upperclassman isn’t as nice as he initially thought, either.

The second story is about a pair of childhood friends debating over which high school to go to. One of the boys is very smart, and can have his choice of schools. The other is as dumb as a rock, but is a soccer prodigy that is offered a scholarship to a faraway school. The smart one can’t figure out why the soccer player doesn’t join a school with a good soccer team, and then realizes that the soccer player simply wants to go to the same school that he does. The two have a misunderstanding, and the scholar decides to apply to a school that the soccer player isn’t smart enough to get into in order to force him into a nice soccer school.

Of the two, I liked the soccer story the best. Both stories are a little formulaic, but the second one was a bit sweeter, and I enjoyed the uncomplicated and straightforward nature of the love story a bit more. Really, though, the preference is probably a simple matter of the beloved upperclassman in the first story. He really was a jerk.

Because this genre loves me, there’s a salaryman story in the second half of the book. I liked this story a little less than the first two, since it has a darker and more dramatic tone than the first two. Normally I’m not opposed to drama, but the other two had put me in the mood for a happier story. Basically, two businessmen get it on when one of them threatens to leave the company over a crush on the other. This leads to a physical relationship between the two, but the other partner is super-stoic and doesn’t seem to be getting anything out of it. Is he shy, or is he simply trying to keep a good employee at the company?

Again, this story is just as by-the-book as the first two, but there was something a bit more disappointing about it. Perhaps it was the cold sex partner that just didn’t make the relationship work for me. But it does fulfill this book’s smut requirement, if that’s what you’re in the mood for.

Overall, this one’s a quick, simple anthology read. It’s formulaic, and you might want to look elsewhere if you’re looking for something different and thrilling, but for those of us that troll eManga in the middle of the night out of boredom, it’s perfect. It’s pretty much what I’m looking for in this sort of read.