Friday, March 15, 2013

Review: HIS FAVORITE Volume 3

SUBLIME – @SuBLimeManga

CARTOONIST: Suzuki Tanaka
LETTERING: Annaliese Christman
COVER: Suzuki Tanaka and Fawn Lau
EDITOR: Alexis Kirsch
ISBN: 978-1-4215-4357-4; paperback (March 2013); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
178pp, B&W, $12.99 U.S., $14.99 CAN, £8.99 UK

Suzuki Tanaka, the creator of Love Hurts, also produced the boys’ love manga series, His Favorite. Boy’s love (also known by the acronym, BL) depicts romantic relationships between male characters. His Favorite can be classified as “shounen-ai,” the subset of BL that does not feature explicit depictions of sex between male characters.

His Favorite Volume 3 (Chapters 8 to 12) focuses on Yoshida, an awkward high school student, and Sato, the hottest guy in school. Sato is in love with Yoshida, but the latter things the former wants to play around too much and is not really serious about anything, especially love. Meanwhile, all the girls in school are crazy about Sato, and they think that Sato and Yoshida are just really close friends. That’s why they insist that Yoshida help them get closer to Sato.

Yoshida and Sato’s classmates, Yamanaka and Torachin, are in a similar predicament. Torachin’s frequent fights have left him with a bruised, unattractive face, which scares the girls – sometimes to tears. Yamanaka thinks Torachin is just right, but Torachin doesn’t think that Yamanaka is ever serious – about anything.

As boys’ love manga goes, His Favorite is tame. It doesn’t even have the heat of the more complicated shojo teen romances (such as a Honey Hunt). Instead, it is deliberately, almost stubbornly playful. Creator Suzuki Tanaka offers comedy and slapstick; there are misunderstandings and kissing.

Sex is far way and talked about as something that will, should, or even might happen, but does not happen in the text or seemingly even “off camera.” The characters are funny in how clueless they are, or perhaps, they are not clueless. It is a peculiar kind of tunnel vision from which they suffer… maybe.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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