Love Circumstances (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways...
Writer/Artist: Aco Oumi
Translated by: Melanie Schoen
Adapted by: Melanie Schoen
What They Say
Somehow, over the summer, Yamaguchi ended up going out with his best friend, Takagari. But now that they are together, something has really been bothering Yamaguchi: why does Takagari love him so much? Is it his shaggy hair that begs to be petted? His often stubborn personality? Or the way he blushes when lavished with Takagari's umm... affection?!
Either way, Yamaguchi's insecurities are really putting a strain on their relationship. Seems like he is pretty nervous about fulfilling Takagari's more carnal needs when his mind is pre-occupied with other things. While Takagari would like for nothing more than to drag Yamaguchi to the nearest cupboard and have his way with him, it seems like our seme is going to need a little bit of help to calm his nervous little uke.
A good chunk of the manga focuses on Yamaguchi and his friend turned lover, Takagari, as Yamaguchi wonders why Takagari loves him so much. Sigh, why can’t people just be happy with the love they have? If he’s your best friend, aren’t there already loving feelings between the two of you? Whatever the case, most of the manga is about the two of them and the rest focuses on other couples.
Yamaguchi and Takagari
Their story starts with Yamaguchi’s sister freaking out when she sees her brother’s friend turned boyfriend, Takagari, kissing him in the doorway. But the new relationship does have its problems -- don’t they all in boy’s love? Yamaguchi isn’t comfortable with the relationship, worrying over how “girly” he acts around his new boyfriend and wondering what Takagari sees in him. This prevents them from going any further into their relationship, and leads to Yamaguchi turning to Takagari’s cousin for advice. This does lead to an amusing conversation where Onda -- Takagari’s cousin -- tells Yamaguchi, “he’s happy enough to suck your dick, so don’t worry too much.” That made me giggle. On a more serious note, Onda does tell him that Takagari is the one who’s worried because “Yamagoofy” hasn’t said those three magic words: I love you. But despite having this conversation, he still isn’t able to express his feelings, so Onda sends his own boyfriend, Hotaka, to hopefully talk some sense into Yamaguchi. It’s a bit more successful... they do have sex, at least, so that’s a start?
The next couple of stories are short stories between the two of them, mostly about Yamaguchi still struggling to say “I love you” and being embarrassed about the way he acts around Takagari. Meanwhile, Takagari often wants Yamaguchi and openly admits his feelings. Late night study sessions, embarrassing moments in their classroom, and hot sex in the summer heat fuel these last couple of stories that are literally a few pages each.
Mizusawa and Torai
These two businessmen work together, but Mizusawa doesn’t care for Torai at all. The two of them use to be classmates, but Mizusawa doesn’t like the type of person who has money and who can have whatever they want, making them arrogant. But Mizusawa is surprised to see Torai at his door one day, admitting that he’s in his apartment building for a more... interesting... job. It turns out that Torai is an escort, using the money to pay off some stocks that went south. He could go crawling back to his parents for the money, but as he says, “I still have my pride and a man pays back his debts.” I suppose working overtime at the office doesn’t pay well enough? In return, Mizusawa admits that the reason why he doesn’t care for rich boys is because a girlfriend he had been living with had an affair with one. As they start to grow closer to each other, the two of them share a night together. Mizusawa enjoys the feeling of having someone pursue him after such a long time, and Torai just enjoys feeling Mizusawa.
Hayami and Fujiwara
The two boys have been dorm roommates for six months, and Hayami has fallen completely in love with Fujiwara. Unfortunately, Fujiwara already has a girlfriend. As usual with these type of situations, the target of the love affections is completely oblivious, saying things like, “I hope things work out for you with the person you like,” and, “I really like the time we spend together.” One day, Hayami sees a friend of his and asks about Fujiwara’s girlfriend. His friend is immediately concerned, thinking that he likes the girl and warns him to stay away from her. It turns out that the girl fools around with quite a few guys and enjoys toying with them. This leads to Hayami rushing home to see Fujiwara trying to drink away his sorrows, having been dumped by his cheating girlfriend. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the two of them end up sleeping together, but the sex is -- please allow me to spaz for a moment -- absolutely delicious! I mean, wow. Hayami is... really f-ing hot! “Let me turn your world upside down,” he says. Yes, please do wonderful seme! The moment is kind of ruined with the cool and seme-licious Hayami begging Fujiwara to go out with him. Perhaps you should’ve asked him before the sex?
There’s a second story with the two of them where Hayami is going back home for a couple of days, leaving Fujiwara alone in the dorm for the first time. But it turns out that Hayami’s parents are getting divorced, something that he didn’t bother to share with Fujiwara. While he’s alone with his thoughts, Fujiwara realizes that he might be in love with Hayami, who just so happens to come back early and hear the pseudo-love confession. Oh, and don’t worry about that whole divorce thing, it turns out that his parents are always making up and breaking up.
Kenzaki and Shinoda
Kenzaki is a distributor of sorts who brings Shinoda’s store different products -- women’s lingerie, to be exact. Kenzaki has feelings for Shinoda, but unlike some of the previous boys in the manga he doesn’t really hide said feelings. He even tells Shinoda that he should go out with him once he finds out that he’s single. But Shinoda -- who suffers from clueless uke syndrome -- waves it off as Kenzaki’s way of telling a joke. One day, Kenzaki finds out that the company he works for needs more money, so he calls Shinoda and asks if his store would be interested in buying more products. This is where the story becomes a bit too dramatic, Shinoda saying that Kenzaki is special to him and how he wishes he could buy more of his products, but he can’t at the moment. All right, that’s cool, business is business and-... why is he crying? It’s not like you’re breaking up with him or something; it’s a business transaction! There’s no reason to cry! And the love confession at the end feels tacked on, Shinoda admitting that he has feelings for Kenzaki and Kenzaki holding his hand and asking him to stay with him forever. And we never get an answer to that question! It just ends right there!
This manga, once you close it, is pretty forgettable. There are some good parts to it, but there are too many moments that are rushed. There’s more focus on Yamaguchi and Takagari’s relationship -- a common occurrence for the main couple in an anthology -- but honestly the rest of the couples’ stories move so fast that they might as well be eliminated from the book. If you’re going to do an anthology, at least give your secondary couples more than 20 pages. And it’s disappointing, because as you read about the other couples you can feel hints to a good story but then it just ends. Torai being a rich escort? That’s kind of interesting, but there’s too many details in that story that just aren’t addressed. Mizusawa and Torai were classmates and Mizusawa couldn’t stand him, Mizusawa was almost engaged but his girlfriend cheated with a rich boy, years later Mizusawa works with the boy he use to hate, and... insert sex scene between them and everything is fixed.
Hayami and Fujiwara had a predictable story, but they still had hot chemistry together in bed. But then we’re given this second story that really didn’t need to be there. Hayami visiting his parents and possibly bringing in angst -- gasp, they’re divorcing, and he doesn’t open up to his new boyfriend -- that’s cured in half a page. “Oh yeah they’re not divorcing,” he says, and that’s about it. And the last couple... completely pointless. Crying over a business phone call? Just... ugh.
So let’s focus on the main couple of the book since they take up so much of it. My biggest problem with them? They use to be friends. Now this scenario has been done before, and has been done well, but this story is just... kinda lame. I wanted to see them as friends and wanted to see that change from friendship to lovers, but instead we get a nervous uke who can’t say “I love you” and a seme who just keeps coming back for more. Where’s the friendship? It’s usually still there somewhere in these “friends turned lovers” scenarios. But there’s no hint of them ever being friends in the first place besides the moments where Yamaguchi tells us, “We use to be friends.” That’s great, can we at least get a friendship flashback or something?
So, in conclusion, this manga isn’t worth the time. It’s got some hot sex, and some humorous moments with shocked faces and sweatdrops, but for $16... you can do better.
Mania Grade: C-
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 18+
Released By: 801 Media
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Love Circumstances