Love Quest (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Patricia Beard
Review Date: Friday, January 09, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A very slender premise is surprisingly entertaining. While the main story is suitable for the "whole family" of BL readers, the second story is bound to push buttons for some.

Features
Writer/Artist: Lily Hoshino
Translation: Mari Griffin
Adaptation: Mari Griffin

What They Say
Rejected by the girl of his dreams for some guy named Moriya, Kazunori Akabane is royally ticked off when he unknowingly collides with his rival in the school hallway. Unexpectedly, the accident warps Akabane and Moriya to a magical realm full of wizards, princesses, and monsters! But much to Akabane's chagrin, the key to the classmates' survival in this world is.. the exchange of their bodily fluids! Can Akabane ever get used to the idea of swapping spit with a guy!?

The Review!
Packaging:
Yen Press has produced an attractive volume for its very first BL release.  Lily Hoshino's beautiful art work is reproduced with clarity and legibility, even the finer line drawing is crisp.  Yen has included a color page of Kazunori and Moriya to compliment the cover artwork, while the Georg-sama and Earl grace the back cover. A two-page afterword along with a CD report on the Mr. Flower Bride recording joins a one-page advertisement for the Mr. Flower series as additional material.

Artwork:
Lily Hoshino's art is distinctive and the range of emotion that she gets out of her drawing is extensive. There's a lot of subtlety and nuance in her character expression and this amplifies the sexual impact of her work, regardless of its graphic content. Tone is very judiciously used and the use of light and dark is balanced. 

SFX/Text:
SFX are translated, both in romanji and English equivalent. The text reads well with no noticeable grammar or spelling errors.
 
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

"Gay...every last one of them! Geez!"
One can't blame Fumiko Harada for such an outburst
, but it is her rejection of Kazunori Akabane for Satoru Moriya that sets things in motion. By obsessively dwelling on his rejection for this mysterious Moriya, Akabane is drawn into an alternative world by Marion-sama, a warrior looking for power-ups though the exchange of bodily fluids by beings from the other world.  Of course, Akabane does not arrive alone.
But it's not just monsters that Marion-sama has to fight off.  Much as in an RPG, Marion-sama has a trio of more human opponents - a warrior such as herself, none other than Fumiko Harada, the magic user, Earl, and their leader, Georg sama, who seems to only have eyes for Earl, giving rise to Fumiko's frustration and outburst.
With a wink and a nudge, Lily Hoshino takes some BL tropes and restages them in an amusing short.

The short story Pheromone is a very graphic one about a young man who convinces a classmate to undress and submit to his sexual advances, all driven by the way he smells.  Really.  That's it.  

Comments:
The stories that comprise this volume are an unusual and uneasy mix, though both share a commonality in that the stories are very slight. The narrative is not the point with either of them.

Love Quest is a one trick pony, but it's a nice trick with a talented pony. Although some readers may find fault with Hoshino in not delivering more background to Marion-sama's quest and to the lack of a more full and definitive ending, Hoshino does not wear out her welcome with this tale. She delivers only what you need to get the point. And it's a small point, she wisely doesn't overburden it with too much detail.

I will admit that Pheromone stopped me in my tracks.  It was almost a whiplash experience after reading Love Quest.  Much as in Love Quest, there isn't much of a story here, the pretext for the action is very slight.  But its graphic frankness was very surprising after the relative innocence of Love Quest. 

Lily Hoshino's talent for sublime expression across a range of emotions is what delivers the sexual wallop in Pheremone, not any depiction of organs or sexual congress.  One could take these out and the effect would be the same.  It ain't the meat, it's the "e"motion.  BL readers will find a very subtle sexual coercion to this story as well as a youthful character design in Narushima.  If either of these could be offensive, you might want to skip this story.

Love Quest won't be for everybody, but if you're in the mood for something light and different, this could be a worthwhile diversion.



Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: A
Age Rating: 17 and Up
Released By: Yen Press
MSRP: 12.99
Pages: 176
ISBN: 978-0759529489
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Love Quest