Close the Last Door Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 204
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Close the Last Door Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     October 30, 2006
Release Date: September 13, 2006

Close the Last Door Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yamada Yugi
Translated by:Melanie Schoen
Adapted by:Melanie Schoen

What They Say
What would you do if your crush of many years suddenly got married?! After attending his beloved Saitoh's wedding, broken-hearted Nagai gets a little too drunk for his own good and lands himself in a hotel room with the bride's guest, Honda. To top things off, just when he thought he was getting over things over things he finds out that newlywed Saitoh's bride has run away. What will become of this developing love-triangle?

The Review
DMP generally does a good to great job with presentation and Close the Last Door is no exception. But for some reason this release had me take notice in a couple ways. The cover art was one example of a positive. This has to be the first time I have seen guys smoking and drinking on a cover! In an age where cigs turn into gum and crosses turn into slabs, experiencing a cover where guys are guys was refreshing (even if the parental advisory was not on a sticker but on the cover itself). Opening the book up to a dust jacket featuring a mangaka bio and a kitty picture!

The print inside looked fine. I did not have issues with tone or the inking much. At the same time, I was not sure about the alignment. It is possible that my copy was cut very tight but when I see text cut off on the outsides I am not so confident. No extras but there is a 20+ page long extra chapter.

Yamada's art is wonderful. The character designs are a mixture of strong looking guys in suits and cute bishonen that could easily be seen in puppy ears instead of business attire. There is little that can be said about men in black. They can essentially look the same. However, Yamada details these men through unique expressions and body language. Each character has a role and that is presented well in the designs. And Yamada draws women also. The ladies have style and personality. And like Yamada's men the girls have good looking sense of form and proportion. Beautiful people all around that don't threaten my manhood... Sweet!

Yamada also does a fine job with backgrounds. Settings are drawn in effectively. You can quickly and quietly get the feel of the train station izakaya. You can see the designs of a mid range restaurant salarymen go to. Then Yamada presents the comfortable apartment with simple designs that do not distract from the intimate moments the characters share. That's how setting should work - stealthily.

The translation for Close sounds very good. To start off the translation tends to use last names when the cast communicates with each other. It gives a good feel for their relationships when honorifics are not available. The rest of the translation is lively yet casual. DMP has done a solid job with how personalities come through in the translation as well.

SFX might get some attention as DMP handled these in a unique way. They are all subbed using a small font as not to compromise the art.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Every guy has a buddy. You know the guy you hangout with. The guy you go drink with. He is the same guy that lets you crash at his place when you're wasted. The guy you real into when you are in need of an ear or the guy you call when you need a partner at the batting cages. Almost every guy has a boy friend. If you look closely the guys know that is the relationship they share. However you might have to really have a good eye to find out when boy friend crosses over to boyfriend with guys like this.

Saitou-san has been friends with Nagai for what seems like forever. Nagai was always like that cute little puppy in the office that needed to be coddled by everyone. But Saitou took Nagai under his wing. Like a big brother he taught him the ropes. Took him drinking and became his best friend. Basically Saitou did what any experienced colleague should do for a rookie in need. I mean an excuse to go drinking should not be taken lightly.

Much more happened along the way, though. There was a bond that grew. There was a fondness that each ultimately felt for each other. The both knew they could not act on that feeling also. Best friends and co-workersat that; what would the office think? Cannot imagine what Nagai's fiancé and Saitou's GF would think.

A messed up wedding and a lot of beers later and that changed. The broken hearts of two grown men could be mended by Asahi alone. Kisses, touches and holding can help a lot. Making new friends, starting new loves and accepting your feelings will help much more!

Salaryman can have much harder lives than we can give them credit for. Just because they punch into their desks early and punch out late every night does not mean they do not have drama throughout the day. And their nights are never dull with all the boozing and women. Yet for some reason the story of the salaryman seems to have hardly made a dent on the manga scene over here.

DMP might be changing that. Close the Last Door is a solid example of a riman title. The standard elements include guys in business suits, lots of drinking in izakaya and the occasional encounter with an OL. Outside of that everything is wide open. Even seeing an office is not mandatory but hearing about what happened in the office is.

Close takes the reader outside of the office into the personal lives of three paper pushers. After years of relying on each other, their lives are going in opposite directions. The things that brought these two together will soon be gone. But there is more to that. The time spent and the moments shared will become a part of the past. The relationship might die. And what kind of relationship was that? What was the value in all that? And what if the future does not have the same or greater dividends? A good salaryman is never going into business without getting something in return. So whether it is only business or simply pleasure (or a mix of both) the relationship has to have results for all parties involved.

The characters in Close struggle with accepting the value of their relationships. One of the leads does not understand the costs of not taking action until his partnership was over. That happened a few times to him. Another was waiting to see his investment pay off buy buttering up his client for a while. Still others were looking at future payoffs from deals that never panned out; while others were doing inside trades as they secretly planned to run off with the CEO. So you see, the office person's life can be filled enough betrayal and drama as the next ninja story. The outcomes are very different here though. There are no costumes (outside of the business suits) that separate us from them, so the relationships feel real. You can understand why these characters would turn to each other for comfort. You can see why these characters drink their sorrows away. And most importantly you know exactly why these characters have to close the last door when together.

But you wonder why they don't lock the last door! Maybe the consequences aren't that real in love and comfort after all?

Close to me works because it does most things in a simple but convincing manner. The guys aren't stunning but I can definitely feel their attitude. There is passion and it builds up in a manner that it does drive people sorta crazy. That's what I want in a love-triangle... A reason to gossip about it with friends at the izakaya.


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