Love+Alpha Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Nadia Oxford
Review Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Release Date: Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Anyone out there with a ghost/possession kink? Don't be shy, this yaoi manga is for you.

Creative Talent:
Writer/Artist: Takashi Kanzaki
Translation: Leona Wong
Adaptation: Leona Wong

What They Say:
Two is company and 3 is a crowd. But when the third wheel happens to be a ghost, the results can get interesting. Yuuya is caught in the middle of a supernatural love triangle between Kyosuke the ghost and his childhood friend, Katsuki. Who will he ultimately choose in this tempestuous three-way love?

What We Say:

Packaging:

Love+Alpha certainly promises an interesting time with its three-boy cast groping each other on the front cover. It represents the manga's love triangle conflict easily enough—and implies how it's eventually solved. There's two other full-colour illustrations of the boys on the back and inside covers. There's also a bonus story by Taskashi Kanzaki and a translated Thank You note for the readers.

One strange but somewhat cute addition is a 4koma on the back jacket of the manga that features 801media's shojo mascots.

Artwork:

Love+Alpha's character designs aren't particularly special for the yaoi genre; they're about what would be expected. In fact, it's difficult to tell the three main characters apart, the only exception being Yuuya, who is identifiable because of his black hair.

There aren't particularly many details or work put into the backgrounds, but the sex scenes are depicted well enough.

Text/SFX:

801media left Love+Alpha's original Japanese sound effects unaltered, choosing to put an English translation astride each one. The format works well.

There's not much about the manga's text and transation that's worthy of noting. Yuuya is the typical hesitant uke who quickly discovers that he's gay. His childhood friend, Katsuki, is the overbearing seme. And the ghost of Yuuya's other friend, Kyosuke, is Katsuki's rival in the battle for Yuuya's affections. The dialogue reflects the conflict, but the love triangle is so popular in yaoi (granted, maybe not with a ghost as the third point) that nothing the characters say is especially surprising.

Content:

Schoolboy Yuuya lost his friend, Kyosuke, in an accident. However, Kyosuke still lingers as a ghost and can talk to Yuuya—though he can't touch him. Kyosuke is also visible to Yuuya's childhood friend, Katsuki, who schemes to get Kyosuke's spirit to move on so that he can have Yuuya's undivided romantic attention.

Conflict and possession-sex ensue, with one particularly interesting twist: Katsuki's brother, a temple heir, finds lingering ghosts offensive and strives to put all wandering souls at rest—Kyosuke included.

Comments:

I can't really fault Love+Alpha for being cliche, especially since it does cater to a slightly unusual kink. To its credit, the smut is plentiful and there is an attempt at an emotional story. It's good for collectors who are in it for the sex and don't mind typecasting.



Mania Grade: C
Art Rating: C
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: B-
Age Rating: 18+
Released By: 801 Media
MSRP: 15.95
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1-934129-21-0
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Love+Alpha