Spring Fever Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Briana Lawrence
Review Date: Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Release Date: Friday, August 31, 2007



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yugi Yamada
Translated by:Michelle Ma
Adapted by:Adrienne Webber

What They Say
Yusuke Onishi easily gets crushes on everybody and anybody, but never succeeds in love. That is, until the day he meets and falls in love with his new neighbor, a mature single parent. Yusuke has finally met his match - but his match happens to be a guy!

Includes bonus story "Wildman Blues," the story of two childhood friends who become reunited... and then become torrid lovers.


The Review
How do you seduce a guy whose changed your diaper when you were a baby?!

Packaging:
Deux Press is still pretty new to the boy's love scene, but fear not, their line of manga isn't hard to spot at all. The front cover has the Deux logo in the top left-hand corner (which is just the word "Deux" in cursive). The spine has the letter "D" on the top of it, and the back has the logo with the phrase, "Where fantasy becomes Obsession," underneath it along with their website.

The two main characters of "Spring Fever" are on the front cover of this book, one holding the other in his arms with flowers lining the bottom right-hand corner of the book. The back cover has a picture of Yu, Takami's son, with flowers in his hair. There is a lot of use of green and pink for all of the text, either outlining the white letters or used to color the text itself.

Artwork:
Yugi Yamada has a distinctive art style with her characters, but this manga in particular has a lot of moments that stand out because of what's going on in the background. For example, Yusuke has a tendency to have flowers and sparkles behind him whenever he expresses his love for Takami, which is a sign that he has fallen in love yet again.

There aren't too many full blown sex scenes in these two stories because they're fully illustrated where they matter the most. In "Wildman Blues," we never see Naoki and Yada completely having sex; we'll see Naoki laying in bed afterwards. We do, however, get to see Naoki and Ayu having sex because it's their story and it's about the two of them getting together. The same goes for Takami and Masaaki in "Spring Fever," who we'll see in a bedroom together via flashbacks, but the full blown sex is saved for Yusuke and Takami. Any sort of flashback or important moment (like when Yu gets kidnapped by his uncle in "Spring Fever") has the frames outlined in black to emphasize the scene more.

Text/SFX:
Japanese honorifics in this story are translated into "mister" or "misses." Any kanji used for sound effects is translated, but the kanji still remains on the page. Something that surprised me is that when a character is saying something as an afterthought, the kanji for it remains on the page with the translation in small text.

From what I saw while reading, there aren't any grammatical errors in the manga at all (or if there are any they aren't glaringly obvious). I also found it interesting that the older characters, like Takami, introduce themselves with their last names first. The younger characters, like the ones that appear in "Wildman Blues" address each other with their first names first, so their relationships feel more informal.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Spring Fever
The story starts with Yusuke Onishi having a very bad day, vowing to "kick anyone's ass" who approaches him. He ends up meeting Takami Hirokazu with his son, Yu, and immediately Yusuke forgets his troubles and falls head over heels for Takami. Unfortunately, Takami is about 20 years older than him. As if that weren't enough, Takami use to live next door years ago and he use to babysit Yusuke when he was a child. He also mistakes Yusuke for his older brother, thinking he's 24 when he's really only 18.

Yusuke tries to get closer to Takami despite the age difference and despite the fact that Takami, once upon a time, changed his diapers for him. But Takami has a lot going on in his life. His wife has recently passed away and he has to raise a child all by himself. There's also Masaaki, Yu's uncle, who had an affair with Takami while he was married to his sister. Now he wants Takami and Yu to come with him so that they can be a family, and even kidnaps Yu to get Takami to come back to him. Just when Yusuke finally thinks he has Takami right where he wants him, he wakes up alone and finds the older man leaving with Yu, still not able to forgive himself for everything that's happened.

Wildman Blues
If you've read "Glass Sky" and even "Laugh Under the Sun," you know who Naoki Suzuki is. This is the first story he's appeared in, and it deals with his friendship (and love) with his best friend, Ayu. The two of them were pretty close in middle school, but things changed in high school with the harassment Naoki was dealing with for being gay. One day, Ayu found Naoki in bed, naked after an encounter with a classmate of his (Yada--we find out more about his relationship with Naoki in "Glass Sky"). Ayu was desperate to help Naoki, but Naoki begged him not to tell anyone, especially his mother who he didn't want to burden. In a horribly painful turn of events, Naoki ended up forcing himself on Ayu, making his best friend hate him and never speak to him again.

Years later, they run into each other again, and the two start to become closer to each other. One night, Ayu comes to Naoki after being dumped by his girlfriend. After much drinking Ayu starts blurting out all of the mixed feelings he has for Naoki, and before they realize what's happening they wake up in bed together, naked, the next morning. Much to Ayu's surprise, Naoki tells him that it isn't too late to pass off the previous night as a mistake if he wants to, but at this point Ayu has realized that he has feelings for Naoki. But after the incident between the two of them in high school, Naoki doesn't think he deserves to be with someone like Ayu and continues to push him away. Unfortunately for Naoki, Ayu isn't going to take no for an answer.

Comments
Well, it's finally happened. There's now offically a Yugi Yamada story I'm not worshipping in an alter somewhere. I didn't enjoy "Spring Fever" as much as I thought I would, which upsets me because I'm a big Yugi Yamada fangirl. I really wanted to like this story! It's not like I hated it, I just felt that too much was happening in such a short amount of time. It definitely should've been it's own manga for all of the content it was trying to deal with, maybe even with multiple volumes like "Shout Out Loud." The 20 year age difference (especially with Takami being in Yusuke's life when he was a baby) alone was enough to carry the story, but then we had the death of Takami's wife, the affair he had with her brother, the kidnapping of his son, and the female love interest with Yusuke.

I didn't care for Takami too much as a character because he had a tendency to push Yusuke away, but then cling to him when Masaaki came around because he could never face him. He just seemed very irresponsible for being the adult in the relationship, especially when he left Yu alone in the middle of the night to go out with Yusuke after an encounter with Masaaki (which, of course, leads to the kidnapping). The whole Masaaki/Takami plot was resolved too easily, in my opinion. Masaaki walked away too quickly; if he was willing to kidnap his own nephew then there's no way he should've just ended things after a punch to the face and a conversation in the middle of a playground. That just made the kidnapping feel too extreme for his character, I expected him to be a bit more... psychotic? To try harder? To be a bit more forceful? He simply came off as a tool to get Takami to cling to Yusuke after refusing him, because as soon as he came knocking on the door Takami was more than happy to have Yusuke rescue him and jump into his arms.

"Wildman Blues," on the other hand, I loved to death. I've loved Naoki as a character ever since I read "Glass Sky." I loved the fact that his stories dealt with being gay, not just being in love with another boy. This story does the same, only we get to see it in both Naoki and Ayu's point of view. The scene where Naoki forces himself on Ayu to push him away is just painful to read, especially when Ayu calls him a fag and Naoki smiles, saying, "That's right. I'm a fag." I love the way their relationship progresses, from middle school, to high school, and then to present day. We get Ayu's point of view first, up to the point of the incident in high school, then it switches to Naoki's point of view as he deals with his guilt for hurting the only real friend he had during the hard times in his life. I was so happy when Ayu didn't let Naoki push him away again, and when they finally got together I almost put the book down and started clapping. I'm not sure, but I believe Ayu is the boyfriend Naoki has in the epilogue of "Glass Sky" and in "Laugh under the Sun," which would show that they stayed together.

All and all, I'd say that this book is worth the purchase, but moreso for "Wildman Blues." "Spring Fever," again, isn't horrible, I just expected more because of all of the issues that continued to pop up in it.



Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Aurora Publishing, Inc.
MSRP: 12.95
Pages: 192
ISBN: 978-1934496039
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Spring Fever