Maybe I'm Your Steppin' Stone Vol. #01 (

By:Danielle Van Gorder
Review Date: Thursday, April 24, 2008
Release Date: Thursday, February 28, 2008

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Shiuko Kano
Translated by:Leona Wong
Adapted by:N/A

What They Say
Kousei seems pretty popular with everyone - the other construction workers, the clerk at the convenience store where he buys his porn magazines... just about everyone except his ex-wife. But the many secret admirers that Kousei has are just looking for an opportunity to step up to the plate.

Kenji Hirose, the clerk at the convenience store, has become a doting uncle ever since he realized that his niece and Kousei's son attend the same nursery. When the nursery Sports Tournament leaves Kenji injured, he is more than willing to take advantage of Kousei's nursing ability and just wait for the opportunity to pounce!

The Review
Who can say no to more hot, sweaty construction workers?

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

Kenji is a clerk in a convenience store who's fallen hard for Mogi, an older construction worker who dotes on his young son. When they meet by chance at the daycare that Kenji's niece attends, he quickly realizes that he can seize this opportunity to spend more time with Mogi. When Mogi takes Kenji home after an accident, Kenji gets all he wished for, and more than he expected.

When he starts wondering about Mogi's past and meets his sexy ex-wife, Kenji starts to worry about their relationship and what exactly it is that they have together. His age really shows in this chapter, contrasted against Mogi's much greater experience.

Back on the construction crew, there are vicious rumors swirling around loner Shunji Nakano. Yasushi Meijiro has problems of his own, but still doesn't like him much. When Yasu catches Shunji making moves on a sleeping Mogi, he takes advantage of the situation and blackmails Shunji for his body. He quickly starts developing an attachment to the antisocial Shunji that's possibly even more unhealthy than his existing relationship, but Shunji's standoffishness makes it impossible to tell if he's just going along with the situation to protect his secrets, or if he's developed feelings for Yasu as well.

Even after their relationship has progressed, Yasu doesn't know much about Shunji's past - just the persistent rumors that swirled around about him murdering someone when he was younger.

There's a side story to round out the book dealing with highschoolers Hotta and Kosaka. One day after school Hotta managed to catch Kosaka in a compromising position, and he's been unable to get him out of his head ever since. When Kosaka collapses in class one day, Hotta takes the opportunity to help him out, and finds out that there was more to the story than he first though.

All of the characters are fun and well-executed, but Mogi was by far my favorite. His relative maturity and his bright-eyed adoration of his son make for a nicely realistic contrast to Kenji's more youthful enthusiasm. Yasu and his internal conflicts get some good screentime, but Shunji seems to be enigmatic for the sake of being enigmatic, and wasn't quite as believable, even after the truth about his past was revealed.

This is the sort of book that's going to appeal to all sorts of BL fans - it's well written, with interesting characters that get at least a little character development, and it's dead sexy. Really, it's hard to go wrong with hot, sweaty construction workers, and Kano manages to strike a balance here that just works. The art's gorgeous, the story entertains, and if there's one aspect that might not work for some readers it's that the story gets a little more hardcore than much of what's released over here - especially the side story, which includes some sexual torture, not exactly the lightest of fare. Readers looking for something harder than your typical BL fluff should be happy with this one.

Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: 801 Media
MSRP: 15.95
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1-934129-13-5
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Maybe I Am Your Steppin\\\' Stone