Barefoot Waltz (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Danielle Van Gorder
Review Date: Friday, January 02, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In these sweet and tender stories of romance, there's plenty of light romance to go around, but not much in the way of angst.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Romuco Miike
Translation: Melanie Schoen
Adaptation: Melanie Schoen

What They Say
Novelist Azuma is pretty love-shy, especially when it comes to the part-timer, Katsumi, at his publishing house. When Azuma professes his love a little too forcefully one night, he fears he has ruined his chances completely. But fate is a fickle mistress, and two years later, Katsumi turns up at his door...
The Review!
Packaging:

DMP's books are usually pretty nice, but this isn't one of their best efforts.  The print quality is decent, but the paper they used for this one is thinner and greyer than they sometimes use, not the high-quality bright white paper I like to see.  It does the job, but it's not up to their usual standards.

Artwork:

Miike's art is gorgeous, wispy and light, but with strong, assured linework rather than flyaway sketchy lines.  Her character designs aren't always as distinct as they could be, especially across some of the stories, and anatomical proportions are sometimes a little off, but she makes excellent use of negative space, and screentone.

Text/SFX:

All sound effects are subtitled on the page in a font similar to the original.  The translation flows smoothly without any notable rough spots.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):

Abe is a loner, a writer who prefers to live on his own with as little contact with others as possible.  He met Nakahara two years earlier, seduced him, and then kicked him out the next day.  He's shocked to find Nakahara show up at his door out of the blue, and this time the seduction happens the other way around.  Somehow, Abe agrees to let Nakahara stay, and gradually adjusts to having someone else living with him, even comes to depend on it.  But when one of Nakahara's former lovers comes to pay a visit, their peaceful days may come to an end.

In "Good Sky Sunny Day," Yoshizaki and Nirehara are both members of the track team, but since he was injured Nirehara does little but take pictures of the other members of the team.  As the two get to know each other, Nirehara is inspired to take up training again - and falls for Yoshizaki.  "Cowardly Hand" is the story of two old friends who had the chance to be more, but passed it up again.  Three years later, they have another opportunity to make things right between them.

In a twist on the old love triange story, "Goodbye, Winter Days" is the story of two lovers, Keisuke and Rin.  They've been friends with Yoshika for years, but when she confesses to Keisuke and Rin happens to see it, her unhappiness pushes him to make a difficult decision.  "Take My Hand" is a high school love story of a different twist, where an awkward chance encounter introduces Yokoi and Morinaga.  Finally, "What Should I Do With This Love?" is a workplace romance with two adult men who can act surprisingly childish.

Comments:

These stories are all sweetly romantic, no high drama or real angst to be found.  It's a very calming book overall, the sort of thing that you read when you just want a smile, with every story having a more mundane fairy tale ending, everything coming together perfectly as two lovers connect.  It's hardly new or original, but it's so well executed that it doesn't even matter.  I was very happy with this one, and would easily recommend it to new and old BL fans alike who are just looking out for that happy ending.



Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 18 and Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
MSRP: 12.95
Pages: 192
ISBN: 978-1569705957
Size: A5
Orientation: Right to Left