Glass Sky Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Briana Lawrence
Review Date: Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Release Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2007



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yugi Yamada
Translated by:Digital Manga Publishing
Adapted by:Digital Manga Publishing

What They Say
Everyone thought Naoki was a little flamboyant and he was used to getting teased for it. But when Yada glanced at him he felt something he never had before! Ten deftly written short episodes explore the pathos, confusion, drama, passion and humor of coming out and find one’s true self. Forbidden desire, hidden lust, jealousy and acceptance collide in this collection of wonderfully drawn, bittersweet short stories of teenage romance by author Yugi Yamada!


The Review
Ten captivating stories about life, love, and being true to your feelings.

Packaging:
The soft, sketchy colors and the cigarette kiss between two beautiful boys definitely did a great job in grabbing my attention. The title of the manga appears on the top of the cover, the kanji spelled out underneath it and a reflection of the English text fading into a water colored sky. The back cover proves to be just as beautiful as the front. The picture on the front is continued and we see the two lovers standing by a small body of water, one of the cigarettes falling towards it, and their reflection in the water shows the two of them kissing.

Artwork:
Yugi Yamada does a great job in expressing all of her characters’ feelings, whether it be a close-up image of their faces when their upset or drawing little dots for their eyes when they’re confused. The humor is done with the classic anime style sweatdrops and the occasional overdramatic shoujo sparkles and flowers. The sex scenes are amazingly well done with glimpses of body parts being kissed or touched, close ups of passion filled faces and sweat covered bodies. There are definitely enough of them to warrant the 18+ warning and plastic wrap.

The characters all have distinctive features that set them apart from everyone else whether it be shorter hair or a scruffy, unshaven chin. The settings are always fleshed out; the convenience store in “But I’m Young” and even the common school settings that are featured in a few of the stories. After putting the book down I can still remember what everything and everyone looks like in all of the stories of the anthology.

And a large portion of the characters smoke at some point, Yamada definitely has a thing for good looking guys who smoke.

Text/SFX:
All of the Japanese honorifics are kept in tact and any kanji that appears throughout the story is translated as you read. All sound effects are either written out in English or the kanji is translated. Any inner monologue is either written in a text box (for overall narration) or written outside of a speech bubble (when the character is thinking about something as he’s speaking). There are also moments where the author, in very small text, will tell the readers something about a character outside of the panel.

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

But I’m Young
The story focuses on a trio of teenagers who all work in a convenience store together. Aoki, the main character, works with Hiroyuki and his girlfriend, Miyakawa. Often times, when the store is too quiet, Aoki and Hiroyuki randomly decide to go in back and have sex. At first it was just out of curiosity and boredom, but now their sexual encounters are heating up and real emotions are starting to stir between the two of them. Naturally, with Hiroyuki having a girlfriend, this causes quite a mess.

Could it Be Love/Too Embarrassed to Say
Just when Kojima drunkenly blurts out his love for Sakamoto something disastrous happens: Sakamoto can’t get “it” up in bed! The next story, Too Embarrassed to Say, continues the story of Kojima and Sakamoto without the erectile dysfunctions. Less humorous and more plot-driven than the previous part, this installment deals with Kojima being too embarrassed to say his feelings out-loud for his boyfriend.

That’s All From Me/That’s Enough for Today
Kousuke and Ichirou are two divorced, middle-aged men who haven’t seen each other in 15 years. A chance meeting during a performance of Kasa-Go (a comedic monologue about two men fighting over a game of “Go”) has them reminiscing about their romantic encounters in high school. Old feelings once thought to be buried away begin to resurface, but is it too late to give it a second chance? That’s Enough For Today is a continuation of the previous story.

Our Symphony
Two students, a piano, and a bold declaration of want and desire.

The Teacher I Love
Tomoyuki and Tetsu have been together since high school and have been going strong for seven years. Now Tomoyuki is a high school teacher and Tetsu struggles with the fact that his once very passionate boyfriend seems to have turned all of his attention to his students.

Guys, Girls
A story that shows a rather interesting way to discover one‘s sexuality.

Glass Sky/Extras
The title story of the manga comes last in the anthology. Naoki is always being hassled at school for being a “queer” because of his pretty boy looks but he never lets the harassment bother him, even when he gets beat up. Yada, one of the boys in his class, comes to his rescue one day but his kindness makes him a target of gay bashing. Instead of defending himself or denying the accusations he takes his frustrations out on Naoki, beating him up in front of everyone then, much to Naoki’s surprise, having sex with him when no one is around. The “Extras” section is a class reunion of sorts, taking place years after the original story and showing what happened to the characters.

Comments
“Glass Sky” succeeds in having a range of stories that’s sure to please anyone who decides to pick it up. While there are, at times, some common plot devices and neatly wrapped happy endings, Yugi Yamada still adds her own twists to each story and makes the entire anthology a good read.

There are two stories that stand out to me. That’s Enough For Today and it’s use of the Kasa-Go performance is one of the most original ways I’ve seen two men fall back in love with each other. The dialogue between the two of them as the Kasa-Go performance progresses is beautifully done and the manga does an amazing job tying in the play with their relationship. The title story, Glass Sky, is one of the few stories I’ve read where a character deals with being gay. Most stories in the boy’s love genre have two guys fall in love but neither one discuss the possibility of being gay; they’re simply in love with a member of the same sex. “Glass Sky” not only discusses being gay but it also goes into gay bashing, a powerful issue that is rare to find in the genre. At most, stories will have characters being playfully teased, but this one goes into great detail about the hateful things people do to individuals who are gay.

“Glass Sky” is full of unforgettable characters and incredible story-telling. If you haven’t read anything by Yugi Yamada now is certainly a good time to get hooked on her art style, stories, and beautiful men.



Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
MSRP: 12.95
Pages: 200
ISBN: 1-56970-775-8
Size: B5
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Glass Sky