Blue Sheep Reverie Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translation Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 and Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 978-1569706060
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Blue Sheep Reverie Vol. #01

By Briana Lawrence     March 16, 2009
Release Date: December 30, 2008


Blue Sheep Reverie Vol. #01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Here’s a tip: don’t try to kill a guy after you’ve had sex with him, especially in his own bed, and especially when he’s a mob boss.  He’ll probably kick your ass… I’m just saying.

 

Features
Writer/Artist: Makoto Tateno
Translation: Sachiko Sato
Adaptation: Sachiko Sato

What They Say

Sweet young Kai and the doctor Maria shared a bond that they thought no one could destroy... until Maria's brutal murder tore her from Kai's arms forever. Now, Kai wanders the pitch-black streets of the inner city searching for the man who stole Maria's life. But will he end up a pawn in a gang war that will force him to fight for his very existence? With both a mysterious electronic frequency and a strange, powerful man named Lahti shadowing his every move, Kai must slay his new-found enemies... or fall prey to their desires!

Blue Sheep Reverie shows the ends one man will go to to solve the mystery of his true love's horrific murder! Kai knows that the man who wears the deceased Maria's unusual ring must hold the key to her death... but what if there's a secret behind the flickering jewel? A heart that was once committed to another finds itself tugged by a strong, silent attraction that mere words cannot express. Will Kai lay down his life for his former flame, or will a dark new seduction take over his innocent mind?

The Review!
Packaging:
Makoto Tateno is one of those manga-ka whose work I can spot from a mile away.  Her bishies always have a certain look, something about their eyes and their hair that instantly lets me know that this is indeed another story from the creator of “Yellow” and “Hero Heel,” two of my favorite boy’s love stories… except Hero Heel volume two, but that’s another story.  What I really like about this cover is that its not just about Kai and Lahti, Maria is also shown as an important part of the plot, sort of faded in all pink behind the two guys.  The back cover shows Kai as he perfects the “kicked puppy” look, which is the completely opposite of the “ready for action” Kai we get in the first couple of insert pictures that start off the story. 

 

Artwork:
There’s a lot of, how do I put this… flowers in this manga.  It’s not because its super shoujo or anything like that, its because Kai thinks about Maria a LOT, and their pictures tend to be surrounded by flowers and happy things… before she’s killed.  D’oh.  But I do like how the art expresses that situation, or any flashbacks for that matter.  It’s not long, drawn out narration, instead, it’s a lot of scattered images.  We’ll see happy pictures of Maria, but on the same page there’s a picture of her running away from someone and Kai screaming after her.  I much prefer that over a long monologue of Kai angsting.  Be prepared to see Maria’s dead body quite a few times in the story, especially during the worst possible times: Lahti and Kai in bed, for example.  A dead woman’s body tends to sour the hot boy’s love action, in my opinion, but that is the point after all.   

The M rating isn’t really needed, at least for this volume.  It’s true that Lahti and Kai have sex, but its very subtle and it only happens once.  I think there’s actually more violence in the story than sex, but that’s also pretty subtle… until Kai kills for the first time.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of fighting and beating down going on, but as far as killing goes all we’d get is a shaded hand firing a gun.  But when Kai finally kills, we see the beaded chain going right through the guy’s chest.  Ouch, what a way to go.     

Text/SFX:
The text is pretty standard, with kanji being kept in tact for sound effects with the translations being written underneath them, inner thoughts taking place in a text box or outside the speech bubble, and so on and so on.  There is a part of the manga that has a lack of text where I wish something would’ve been put there: it has small character pictures in the middle of the story for Kai, Lahti, and Maria that’s on the left-hand side of the page.  I think it would’ve been nice to have some character stats on them but its simply a picture, so I’m not quite sure why these pictures are there. 

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So this guy is wearing a jewel that belonged to your now dead girlfriend, do you go after him?  If you’re an idiot… yes.  And Kai is indeed an idiot.  Well honestly, he means well, but infiltrating a gang is probably not the best thing to do, but hey, we wouldn’t have a story if he hadn’t so… here we go!

It’s definitely a technological age in this manga, and I’m not quite sure if I care for it too much.  I don’t mind computers and resources being important, but it’s a bit much when Tonka Truck looking vehicles start to move on their own to attack an opposing gang because the big bad boss hacked the codes.  It’s a little weird to see that AND see a ton of guys beating each other up via classic thug on thug violence. 

So there is a dismal place where four “kings” rule with their gangs.  Lahti is on top of the Sarte and is, of course, the most dangerous man in the city.  There’s also rumors of him being, dum dum dummmmm, gay!  Oh no!  I suppose this IS a boy’s love manga, isn’t it?  Kai joins the gang and manages to prove himself to Lahti and the two of them start to get close to each other.  Which, of course, leads to sex.  Though Kai doesn’t forget for a second why he’s really there, and right after sleeping with Lahti he decides to try and avenge his precious Maria.

Big mistake. 

He fails… horribly, and to make matters worse he learns that the jewel Lahti wears is not the one that belonged to Maria.  So, in conclusion, Lahti didn’t kill Maria.  Oops.  And at this point Kai realizes that he actually has feelings for Lahti!  Again, this is a boy’s love manga, so I already knew that was going to happen.  He can’t stop thinking about him and feels horrible for completely destroying his trust, so he spends a lot of time moping around. 

And this is where the manga starts to get a little… twisted. 

In another mission Lahti and his gang get into serious trouble, but Kai follows after them and saves Lahti from his attacker.  The attacker turns out to be… Maria!  It turns out that she is one of the four kings: Bihaan, the cold blooded.  Let me just take a moment to say that I think its awesome that one of these dreaded kings is a woman… even if… she lied to Kai and tried to kill Lahti.  But there’s still a lot more story to go and the plot is only going to get more and more twisted.  It turns out that Maria planted a transmitter in Kai’s head that sends him false information and memories.  The Maria he saw that day was not the real Maria, in fact, the real Maria killed someone so brutally (an agent of the Sarte) that the woman couldn’t be recognized,  She left the victim there so Kai could believe that Maria had been killed.  As if that weren’t enough, it turns out that Maria and Lahti are twins!  Maria asks Kai to come with her but he actually refuses, shooting Maria and holding onto Lahti.  Maria leaves him her ring, a symbol of the four kings, and tells him that she will find him again and kill both him and her brother. 

The last part of the story reveals Lahti and Maria’s past.  When they were young, Maria was raped (its hinted at, but easy to tell that that’s what happened) and she begs Lahti to kill the man responsible.  He does, and the two of them are seen by someone who tells them that they have great potential and he takes them in, training them to be assassins.  During this confusing time with Maria, Kai meets an old friend named Saya who comes from his original hometown.  She begs him to come back with her, because the city is such a dangerous place.  Kai continues to train with Lahti, however, and the training only gets more and more brutal.  Saya doesn’t like what’s happening to Kai and pretty much begs him everyday to go back with her.  He doesn’t make a decision right away. 

Meanwhile, Maria is busy planning things of her own.  There’s currently a stalemate between the groups and she’s tired of it, especially since Sarte and Mynah (another group) are sharing their resources and becoming equals instead of rivals.  Lahti is informed that Bihaan (Maria) might be making a move and him and Kai decide to investigate the situation.  As Kai follows Maria’s signal he sees that its actually Saya holding a transmitter because she’s working for Maria!  Lahti is taken away by Maria while Kai is distracted, and this is the part where Kai shows that he isn’t just some wimpy uke.  He goes in to save Lahti by himself and he does just that, kicking ass and taking names.  He even kills a man, much to Saya’s horror, and at this point she knows that she can never get the “real” Kai back… not that he was going to go back with her in the first place since she totally stabbed him in the back.  Maria gets away, Saya leaves, and Kai stays with Lahti, the door closing into the darkness as the first volume ends. 

… that was a bit dramatic of me, but seriously, there is a door and it closes on Kai and Lahti. 

Comments:
I’m not quite sure how I feel about this manga.  I do like the twists, really, but at the same time it can be so predictable.  The parts with Kai whining about losing Lahti are just very, very blah.  Of course “he’s just not that into you” anymore because you tried to kill him, you moron!  It’s kinda amazing how one night leads to love even if you suspect that the guy killed your girlfriend.  I do have to admit, I like that the whole “being gay” thing isn’t an issue.  I was afraid that it was going to be a central focus of Kai’s angst since they made it a point to mention that Lahti is gay.  Sure, finding out that you’re attracted to someone of the same sex might be a bit taxing on the mind, but if that were added on top of the Maria angst, the accusing the wrong guy angst, the sleeping with said guy angst, the falling in love with said guy angst, the training to become a killer angst via Saya, the Maria isn’t dead angst, and the Lahti and Maria are siblings angst I think I would’ve had to put the book down.  It was kinda nice that Kai felt more guilty for betraying Lahti instead of going on a “woe is me I might be gay” tangent.   

What surprised me the most is the relationship between Lahti and Maria.  Its very borderline incest (and I think its meant to be), especially since its revealed that Lahti can never have the woman he really wants: Maria.  Though she kinda flirts with him, it seems, or she gets a bit too close to comfort.  And I’m not quite sure where Kai fits into this since both Maria and Lahti seem to want him, yet they kinda seem to want each other?  But I think Maria is just playing with Lahti, knowing that he loves her so she knows that he’ll never hurt her.  It’s a twisted romance and part of me kinda likes that.  And Saya, well… she kinda gets left behind.  Well there’s no “kinda” about it, she DOES get left behind.

All and all I think that parts of this are enjoyable, but other parts are almost a chore to read.  Though it rewards you at the end, because Kai goes from being the whiny uke to the super badass who marches in and saves his big bad seme.  I have a soft spot for ukes who actually do something instead of just sitting there and crying.  You just have to wait for it to happen in this story.  I was definitely surprised that he didn’t cling to Maria, now THAT was awesome.  I thought he’d run into her arms once he found out that she was alive, even if she is an evil little so and so.  I guess in the end it’s the characters that make this manga worth the read and I can’t help wondering what’s going to happen to the three of them next. 

… I still hate the killer Tonka Trucks though.  Don’t care for those at all.      

 

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