Tuesday, April 28, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: SEVEN DAYS: Sunday-Monday

SUBLIME MANGA/Taiyoh Tosho Co., Ltd. – @SuBLimeManga

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Venio Tachibana
ART: Rihito Takarai
TRANSLATION: Adrienne Beck
LETTERS: Deborah Fisher
EDITOR: Jennifer LeBlanc
ISBN: 978-1-9747-0927-4; paperback (December 2019); Rated “T” for “Teen”
372pp, B&W, $16.99 U.S., $22.99 CAN, £10.99 UK

Seven Days is a boys' love manga from writer Venio Tachibana and artist Rihito Takarai.  Boys' love (or BL) manga depicts amorous situations between male romantic leads.  There is a sub-set of boys' love manga known as “shounen-ai,” that usually does not feature graphic depictions of sexuality.  Seven Days is essentially shounen-ai.

Seven Days was serialized in the Japanese yaoi manga anthology magazine, Craft, from 2007 to 2009.  The story was released in two parts, Seven Days: Monday–Thursday and Seven Days: Friday–Sunday.  Seven Days was collected in two tankobon (graphic novels) under those titles, Seven Days: Monday–Thursday (published in Japan in 2007) and Seven Days: Friday–Sunday (2009).

Digital Manga Publishing's (DMP) imprint, Juné Manga, released an English-language edition of the first graphic novel in 2010, and the second in 2011.  In March 2019, VIZ Media took over English distribution rights.  In December 2019, VIZ published both Seven Days graphic novels in a single, English-language paperback omnibus edition (a “2-in-1 edition”), entitled Seven Days: Monday–Sunday, under its SuBLime Manga imprint.

Seven Days: Monday–Sunday introduces two male students attending Hoka Private Academy.  The first is Yuzuru Shino, a bored and disillusioned third-year high school student.  The second is Toji Seryo, a popular first-year student at school.  Yuzuru has heard the rumor that Toji will accept anyone who asks him out on a date at the beginning of the week (on Monday), and that he ends the relationship after seven days of dating (on Sunday).

On a lark, Yuzuru decides to ask Toji out as a half-hearted joke, but, to his surprise, Toji accepts the offer.  Over the course of seven days, Yuzuru's feelings for Toji grow, and although Toji seems sincere, Yuzuru does not quite trust this erstwhile playboy.  Still, Yuzuru begins to dread the impending day when Toji will inevitably end their relationship.

[This volume includes a bonus story, “Goodbye for Now,” and an “Afterword” and an “Author Note.”]

The Seven Days: Monday–Sunday manga may or may not be “shounen-ai” as I have labeled it.  However, it is such a gentle, puppy-love type, high school romance that I could also label it as quasi-shojo manga, which are essentially comics for teen girls.  The primary audience for BL manga is female readers.

The Seven Days: Monday–Sunday Graphic Novel is rated “T” (Teen), and although I have previously read BL manga with a “teen” rating, I have not read many.  Thus, it is jarring to see two teen males starring in a BL manga and not “getting it on.”  Talk about non-graphic depiction of a sexual relationships; Yuzuru and Toji do not engage in sexual intercourse.

Still, creators Venio Tachibana (writer) and Rihito Takarai (artist) present a story that is so oddly endearing.  Every time, I picked up the Seven Days: Monday–Sunday Graphic Novel, I felt an urgency to keep reading so that I could see where Yuzuru and Toji's relationship was going.  Obviously, I was hoping to eventually come across some good-old fashioned male-on-male action of the yaoi manga variety.  However, a part of me wanted to see if their love was real, or see who would dump whom.  Would Yuzuru break-up with Toji before he could break-up with him?  Or was Yuzuru simply going to wait for the inevitable and proverbial “shoe-to-drop?”  That is when Toji would say to Yuzuru, “I'm sorry. I couldn't fall for you. Let's break up.”

Well, there is a happy ending, so there... I have spoiled it for you, dear readers.  Seriously, Adrienne Beck's translation makes this cool story simmer by turning awkward dialogue into conversations full of longing, searching, and yearning.  Deborah Fisher's lettering gives this story a steady pace and keeps the dialogue from seeming too measured and too cool.  So, the English-language edition of Seven Days: Monday–Sunday is not the greatest boys' love story of all time.  Still, it finds a way to make a seven-day romance seem like the most important thing in the world – simply because readers will end up rooting for the romance to lunge past the seven-day mark.

7 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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