Kiss All the Boys Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
By:Danielle Van Gorder
Review Date: Thursday, June 12, 2008
Release Date: Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Translated by:Joe Greenholtz
Adapted by:Joe Greenholtz
What They Say
Meet Tetsuo Atarashi, age 32. Occupation: porn comic writer. Marital status: single. Sexual Potency: ...None. Given such circumstances, it seems only natural that all Tetsuo wants is a kiss strong enough to get him back to his "A-Game." Unfortunately, life deals a strange hand when his long estranged, biological and gay son, Haruka, comes knocking on his door! If a kiss with the "opposite" sex cannot cure him of his impotency, perhaps a kiss pumped with raging testosterone can take him down?!
With nicely bright paper and excellent print quality, Aurora continues to impress. The line reproduction is crisp, the blacks are quite dark, and screentone reproduction is excellent. Color pages would be nice, but other than that I have no complaint.
Kano is a master of her craft, and this book really shows why. Her characters are all visually distinct, and they're nicely varied in type, too. The boyish salaryman looks like a slightly boyish adult, while Haruka is unmistakably young. She really excels at nuanced, subtle facial expressions, and managed to convey volumes with a slightly widened eye or downturned lip. Readers who aren't drawn to her gruffer designs are likely to be delighted by the art here. Really, the art here is gorgeous.
The translation here is excellent, with a natural flow to it that few other books can match. All sound effects are subtitled on the page, most in a font that matches the original. Aurora frequently leaves smaller Japanese text in speech bubbles, with subtitled translations nearby, which sometimes leaves the page looking a little cluttered, but it's much cleaner here than it was in some of their other books. There were a few points where it looked like they made the decision to simply replace the Japanese because of the page layout, which is probably the reason for the overall cleaner look.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Tetsuo has problems. For one, he's impotent, completely unable to get it up. For a porn comic artist (not to mention a man in his prime with nothing wrong mentally), this is a rather serious problem. If that wasn't enough, a youthful indiscretion left him a father - while he's never had much to do with the kid, when the boy's mother goes to Paris for work, Haruka decides he wants to stay with his dad. But things are strained between the two, to say the least. After Haruka discovers Tetsu's "research materials" for work, Tetsu decides to retaliate by digging through Haruka's stuff, and discovers rather more than he had bargained for. As it turns out, his son's gay!
After crying on Michiro's shoulder, Tetsuo decides to take matters into his own hands, as it were, and fix his impotence problems by catching a porn flick at a nearby theater. He helps out a timid salaryman who's rather hesitant to go outside - and then ends up doing rather more than that! Shocked at his own behavior, Tetsuo is determined to put the whole incident behind him...until he discovers that the bashful salaryman is his new neighbor Momoyama! And while Tetsuo wants to pretend the whole thing never happened, Momo is more aggressive than his earlier behavior indicated.
Haruka has troubles of his own - not only with trying to gain his father's understanding and approval, but also with the boy he loves, the rather shy Tama who has problems of his own. Can the two of them come to some sort of understanding in the midst of Tetsuo's chaotic love triangle?
The cover copy had me thinking that there might be some incest here, but that was one thing that was thankfully absent. What I wasn't prepared for was how genuinely funny this book was - Tetsuo's over the top reactions, the absurd situations, Momo's deceptively shy blushes - I was giggling the whole way through. And there's more to it than just that - the broken father/son relationship between Tetsuo and Haruka, the innocent relationship that's budding between Tama and the rather less innocent Haruka, and even Michiro's incompletely hidden feelings add up to a book that's fabulously well written and executed.
Humor that just works, well realized characters, and a story that leaves the reader guessing but dying to know more - it's hard to go wrong with this combination. I'm eagerly awaiting the next volume. Highly recommended.
Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Aurora Publishing, Inc.
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Kiss all the Boys