March 7, 2012
Aki Morimoto – DMP / June – 2006 – 1 volume
this is a novel
Once again, I am a sucker for June BL novels, and once again, they are super-cheap on eManga.com.
This one was only okay. Biwa is a Japanese immigrant that grew up in the US, and after becoming completely obsessed with American sitcoms, he decides he’d like to become a Hollywood writer and work on them. On his first major job, he’s put on a writing team that’s tasked to come up with a situation for Japanese superstar actor Toyohira, who the producer was impressed by during a recent trip to Japan. Toyohira and Biwa get off on the wrong foot, but after they bond over a mutual love of Full House, they grow closer, and each makes a point to learn the other’s strengths and strive to make the television project a success.
As I said, this novel is only okay. It’s greatest strength is also what turned me off a bit. Morimoto obviously thoroughly researched the production process for American television shows. She includes pages and pages of details of things that I was completely unaware of. But the problem comes from the fact that there’s too much detail. There’s a lot of page time spent detailing the creative process behind the television show, just how many steps they have to take in order to get it on air, and even descriptions of the studio Biwa works at. While I really appreciated all this detail, it takes away from the time that should be spent developing the couple. By the end of the book, I knew more about that pilot than I did Biwa and Toyohira.
On the other hand, Biwa and Toyohira bond over the fact they kept Maris diaries as lads. I’ve found out that most people I meet my age don’t have the faintest clue what Frasier was, let alone my fanatic love for that show. So a Maris diary endears me to this book far more than it should. It also drove me to re-watch way more of Frasier than I care to admit. So, Like a Love Comedy has that going for it.
I also like that the plot also involves the fact that Biwa and Toyohira are trying to get away from having to do a popular police procedural, instead preferring the now out-of-style sitcom / romcom genre. Again, this ties back into the fact that there’s a bit more about American television in this book than there should be, but they use lots of examples of popular shows on both sides of the argument to illustrate their conversations (which Morimoto never mentions by title, though it was obvious to me what they all were).
Admittedly, I also liked that the end of the book reeked of failure. I won’t say what or why, but I loved that this didn’t have the usual happy ending that these things do.
Overall, this was more of a “I’m bored, so I picked this up” read than it was a “rush out and buy it!” read. It’s charming, and I liked it, but unless you are addicted as I am to these June novels, you will probably want to pass over it in favor of others. I was surprised that Morimoto had also written the rather explicit “Body Language.” That was another one that was satisfying but not fantastic, but Like a Love Comedy didn’t really have any smut (or romance, really), until the end, whereas Body Language had nothing but smut. Just a strange contrast.