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Love is Also for the Imperfect
Love Full of Scars - Psyche Delico
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Love Full of Scars - Psyche Delico
Date: 22/04/12, updated on 22/04/12 (58 review reads)
Advantages: unconventional cast of characters with non trope following stories
Disadvantages: one of the stories goes into some squicky territory theme wise and may offend some readers
In the first short, 'Cause I love Every Bit of You, we get what at first glance seems to be pretty average, par for the course fare in the Boy's Love genre.Tthere is the the waif like, ethereally pretty high school student Minamibo Yoko and his "manlier" good friend Saito Yukio. Yukio has a huge crush on Yoko (surprise, surprise) and begins to imegine all sorts of horrific abuse scenarios to account for the minor injuries that Yoko seems to be sporting recently. They are in some places that are not only visible without too much prying, but in areas that help fire up his overactive and hormonally fueled imagination. needless to say, these scenarios are all rather adult in nature, and lead him to believing that his fair Yoko is needing rescuing. Boy, does he ever get a surprise when he discovers the truth, which after some of the far fetched sex scenarios he'd been envisioning "his" fair Yoko to be suffering through, is all the more hilarious.
The second story is one of fumbling cuteness, with comic book nerd Ishimoto ecstatic to discover that the new client he is to teach at his driving school is none other than THE Kanaya, who writes his favourite manga. The two hit it off and Ishimoto is thrilled, as they end up hanging out and drinking together. This is where it all gets a bit muddled up in the way only an alcoholic fueled haze can be. He simply recalls Kanaya sharing how lonely his life is, and thinking how surprisingly cute Kanaya is with that vulnerable expression on his face. Then there is an occurrence where they were messing about, but were they wrestling or...? Ishimoto has no idea and his imagination runs away from him, with comic results.
Things get a bit squicky in the third story, as Aki returns to the family home after 2 years. When he'd left, Hirofumi was a cute 11 year old boy following him about, only now, at 13, puberty has turned him into a much older looking youth who seems nothing like the baby brother he was looking forward to spoiling some more. They are "A Delusional Couple" indeed as the strange youth with Hirofumi's name is slowly revealed to Aki, to be the same kid inside, and Aki begins to try to reconnect. Only Hirofumi is shy, awkward, and desperately avoiding his big brother. A strange courtship is born, brotherly on the one hand but with some definite hints of something more taboo on the other. It makes for a story that surprisingly is as sweetly funny as it is uncomfortable.
The next to the last story shares its name with this anthology, A Love Full of Scars, and thankfully we are back on more comfortable ground. This story is very much the heart of the book, taking up more space than any of the otehr stories. Once again, the setting is high school, but this time, we meet two delinquents. Kanda Seishiro and Uesaka Kaname have been facing off as many times as they could meet to beat the holy crap out of each other. not that Kanda is going out of his way for a beating, but Kaname seems to want to shadow him for the sole purpose of getting an opportune moment to start a beat down. You'd think they'd hate each other, but Kaname has this strange code of honour about how he goes about it, and Kanda can't seem to help but find that endearing. not that that stops the insults and punches, as when Kanda decides to own up to his feelings, he says and acts out the complete opposite. Kaname figures it all out though, but that's not the end of the matter. Nope, after that, he has to go face Kanda's older brother, who's raised Seishiro alone after their parents were gone. Kanda Seishiro's older brother is a drag queen with a demonic personality hell bent on protecting his "sweet" "baby" brother, and it makes for quite the moment when these two face off.
It's a tale of three misfits who find their way somewhat, though the older brother doesn't find his niche completely until the final story, A Vortex of Love, and it shows us that sometimes we don't really see what is right before our face. Having had to support his little brother for so long, Kanda Kotaro had to say good bye to any dreams of university and accept employment that paid enough to pay the bills and provide for himself and a child. To this end, he accepted a job at a local drag club, and so "Ruby" was born. But now little Kanda Seishiro is all grown up and is finding his way in the world, hand in hand with his love. But where does that leave Kotaro? All he has is Seishiro and "Ruby"'s existence at the club. Love seems to be something he can't reach for, as memories of a youth from his past rise up to torment him. He'd callously hurt the youth who proclaimed his affections for him, and you'd think he'd have gotten over the guilt of it, but he hasn't. Why not? Because co-worker Misato Yuji has always been there for him at work, trying to cheer him up whenever he needed it, and offering him his unconditional love. His behaviour painfully reminds Kotaro of that youth and his own perfidy, but why is that? Misato Yuji knows why and it's why he refuses to back away...
Not shying away from the lewd and at times definitely perverse parts of human relationships, this manga really stands out from the crowd of titles populating the Boy's love genre. the stories are not only non standard fare filled with quirky characters, but the usual tropes are absent here too. there is no way of predicting who's a top and who's a bottom, or if they're strictly one or the other anyway. Nor are they all young and beautiful...we get pretty youths, bashed up hard faced guys, older men, and even drag queens who stretch beyond the stereotype. Nor are they all neat, smooth skinned and fairly tidy folks...we also get guys with body and facial hair, something not seen too often outside of bara (comics aimed at gay men as opposed to this genre, which is aimed more towards women), and to say that they are not all perfectly groomed and in cool designer suits would be an understatement. These are guys you might see at random on any public street and to be honest, it's one of it's charms. it brings the fairy tale of the happily ever after to a more personally realistic level, allowing s to believe that amongst the ordinary mortals we consort with, our own attainable happily ever after can actually be lurking, though it may be somewhat unconventional in form.
This is currently available as a paperback from manga retailers (Amazon, Book Depository, etc) or to read as a chapter by chapter rental (25 US cents a chapter, first chapter free) over at the publisher's online reading portal Netcomics.com. I'd like to thank them for providing me with my review copy and happily recommend this as a pleasant way to while away some time. Please note that this is an 18+ rated title, due to explicit content and adult themes.
Summary: A collection of rom com shorts with some decidedly unconventional people.
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