Don\'t Say Anymore, Darling Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 188
  • ISBN: 1-56970-799-5
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Don\'t Say Anymore, Darling

Don\'t Say Anymore, Darling Vol. #01

By Danielle Van Gorder     September 24, 2007
Release Date: July 31, 2007


Don\'t Say Anymore, Darling Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Fumi Yoshinaga
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
Adapted by:

What They Say
Kouhei is a doctor at the local university hospital who lost touch with his high school friend Tadashi. While Kouhei grew up to become a successful young doctor, Tadashi became a jobless, poor-as-dirt, flaming gay writer. But one lonely night, at his wits end, Tadashi sends Kouhei a text message and receives a reply. Of course Tadashi has secretly harbored feelings for Kouhei for a long time. But when he finds out Kouhei is getting set-up for an arranged marriage...

The Review
As with any collection of short stories, some work better than others.

Packaging:

Like all DMP books, Don't Say Any More Darling has a larger trim size, and dust cover that really help it to stand out. The cover image is a rather interesting split image of Kouhei and Tadashi, with the title in the upper right in a thought bubble. It's a cute idea in theory, but the execution leaves something to be desired. The art reproduction looks good overall - the blacks are acceptable and line work is, for the most part, crisp.

Art:

Yoshinaga's distinctive art might be familiar from titles like Gerard & Jacques or Antique Bakery. The art and panel layout is overall very minimalist, with sparse backgrounds where they are included at all, and fairly simple screentones, but it's a style that is used to great effect. The real strength of her artwork is in the character's expressions, which can convey volumes without words.

Text/SFX:

All the sound effects are translated, some by replacing the original effect entirely, and others with translation on the page near the effect. I'm not entirely sure how the decision was made to go with one or the other, but my guess is that any effect in a sound bubble (including slamming doors) was replaced, as well as others where the impact on the art was minimal. For larger sound effects, or where they were well integrated into the art, the subtitling method was used.

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

Rather than containing just one story, this volume is a collection of short works without much in the way of a unifying theme. The title story involves the rather complicated relationship between Tadashi, a lyricist always on the verge of starvation, and Kouhei, a young doctor who always seems to come to Tadashi's rescue. They've been friends since high school, despite the fact that Tadashi came out and expressed his love for Kouhei back then - feelings that Kouhei can't return, because he's not gay. There are quite a few comedic moments that keep this story from ever feeling too serious, but watching things come together for the two is touching, despite the short length of the story.

The stories that make up the remainder of the volume aren't quite as solid, and seem to be experimental pieces, Yoshinaga trying on different styles to see what works rather than her usual strong character pieces. My Eternal Sweetheart deals with a boy with a fatal disease who can't ever go outside or leave his house. His brother is a skilled roboticist who builds Arthur whatever he desires.

Fairyland is a story of the future, where seemingly every person on the planet has mysteriously turned into sand - except for two, a youth counselor and a troubled boy who was bullied badly before the world changed. In One May Day, a man marries for the second time, and has to deal with the consequences of his impetuous act. The final story in the book, Pianist, deals with a middle-aged man in crisis, unable to accept what his life has become.

Comments
Fans of Yoshinaga will find plenty here to enjoy, but these stories aren't as powerful or moving as she's capable of. There seems to be too much focus on the "twist" in some of the stories, and she barrels through the narrative on her way there, without stopping to make the reader care about the characters enough to make the twists truly effective. They're great experimental pieces, but very uneven. Some sort of theme would have helped this collection as well. As it is, there's nothing holding it together but the art. Some stories are trademark Yoshinaga character pieces, others are outside her usual style; some deal with homosexual relationships, some with heterosexual, and some with other kinds of relationship altogether. While worth the read, this isn't something I see myself rereading on any kind of regular basis.

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