Embracing Love (aka: Haru wo Daiteita) Vol. #03 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Be Beautiful
  • MSRP: 15.99
  • Pages: 202
  • ISBN: 193344004-X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Embracing Love (aka: Haru wo Daiteita) Vol. #03

By Julie Rosato     April 13, 2006
Release Date: March 01, 2006

Embracing Love (aka: Haru wo Daiteita) Vol.#03
© Be Beautiful

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Youka Nitta
Translated by: Translated by:
Adapted by:

What They Say
The romantic adventures continue as Iwaki and Katou engage in a ten day sexual romp that leaves them both exhausted, and eventually effects Iwaki's day job as an adult film star. But things take a turn for the worse when Iwaki finally confesses his love for Katou...a statement the impossibly beautiful blonde does not want to hear...and neither does Iwaki's mortified family!

The Review
The rollercoaster ride continues for Iwaki and Katou, and I just can't get enough.

BeBeautiful uses the original cover image of Iwaki and Katou and places it over a new pale teal background. The colors still have a slight variance that does not do the cover art justice, but at least look a bit better matched this time around. The logo design, which includes the Japanese title, is nicely done, though. The back cover has an illustration of Iwaki and Katou swimming underwater together, taken from one of the chapter openings. In addition to the author's afterward, "interviews" with Katou and Iwaki are included as extras here. Also included are BeBeautiful's usual character profiles and ads for their other properties.

Youka Nitta's sleek, sexy style continues to serve this series well. There's been a gradual softening of edges from the harsher, longer lines of the early chapters, particularly noticeable in the faces of this volume though the result hasn't really altered the characters' designs. Instead it seems to reinforce how the characters are softening as well. Backgrounds continue to have more presence in this volume, making the panels a bit more full. Panel layout continues to be fairly dynamic, increasing both in number and density. The art reproduction is still not without its flaws, however. Printing is solid but dark, which sometimes detracts from the lovely use of tones or makes small details and backgrounds less distinguishable. The margin cropping that plagues all of the books from this publisher is still an issue, so there continues to be some loss of art off the sides.

SFX are translated in-panel using the subtitle method. There are fewer scenes heavy with SFX this time around, so there is slightly less clutter with the translations here. Again there are a couple minor grammatical/editing mistakes (i.e. omission of words or typos), but overall the translation reads smoothly and emphasis is used well here. Katou's "Iwaki-san" continues to be the only honorific left intact and all others are clearly being translated. The production job for each of the volumes so far has been decent overall but still manages to be imperfect in areas so easy to score.

Contents:(please note the following may contain spoilers)
As this volume opens we find that Iwaki and Katou have not missed their chance to be amorous since our last encounter with them. In fact, they've been engaging in so healthy a round lately that Iwaki needs a break! As we've come to expect, Iwaki isn't very well at expressing himself however, and it comes as no surprise when his attitude, paired off against Katou's persistence, sparks another grievous misunderstanding between the two. A bit of soul-searching later proves that it's the strength of Katou's determination that Iwaki needs (and wants) most of all. As every big argument brings a tender resolution, Iwaki and Katou make up, tearing down another of Iwaki's self-imposed walls and (naturally) engaging in some spectacular sex. While Iwaki is still oversensitive to the intensity of the feelings they share for one another, it's fortunate that Katou is so completely smitten that he's able to take in stride all the drama Iwaki dishes out.

Some time later Iwaki decides he wants to get serious about the future. He's got a plan " to build a house for himself and Katou " but he's too scared to let Katou in on it just yet. Getting help from Sawa and meeting secretly with the contractor invokes a surge of jealousy within Katou however, and Iwaki is forced to come clean. Though Iwaki denies it has anything to do with him, Katou understands what Iwaki can't say out loud. Moving day comes and it proves to be an emotional one for the two men. With a little help from Sawa and Yukihito the new house becomes a home in just one short day. Having understood the significance of the whole affair, Katou returns Iwaki's sentiments in the form of a ring. Aww! This chapter gives us the contenders for the cutest scene in the volume - a toss up between their "wedding night" and Iwaki trying to hide his porno collection! Either way, Katou is just too cute (as is Iwaki - despite his presumed mortification at my saying so)!

Not long in their new home, tragedy strikes. Having been so long-estranged from his family, Iwaki purposefully neglects to inform them of his new address, but the sudden death of his mother makes him realize the folly of his pride. Katou convinces Iwaki to go home to confront, grieve and reconnect with his family. Back at his home, however, we see that Iwaki isn't the only member of the family with a stubborn streak. His brother, Masahiko, is unforgiving and cruel and refuses to accept Iwaki's relationship with Katou. It looks to Iwaki as though there can be no reconciliation, but Katou is nothing if not persistent, and he manages to facilitate a breakthrough. Emotional words from his father awaken some understanding in Iwaki, but it's the strength of the pair's emotions that strikes a chord with Masahiko. Iwaki and his family may yet have a ways to go before all the hurts can be mended, but it turns out things might not be so hopeless after all.

Though some of the chapters here are a bit short on story in favor of sex scenes, there are lots of sweet, emotional moments nestled within. Katou is slowly getting Iwaki to open up and to realize his own self more, and in the process has grown dangerously attached to his lover. To break their bond, which has become so ingrained in their being, would be so devastating that I now find myself holding my breath through every one of their arguments for fear of it happening. Iwaki clearly loves Katou, but is still afraid to believe that they can make it together for the long haul. His defenses are slowly being stripped away though, and a shy, vulnerable new life is being exposed. I love how Iwaki gets in such a huff over Katou's oft-mockery of their emotional moments -- what he misses in his embarrassment is how much more alive he becomes, even under such lighthearted (but sincere) administrations of Katou's. Watching this story unfold is like witnessing a metamorphosis, and it's amazing how, despite this being only the third volume, things happen so rapidly and with such conviction that you almost forget how difficult their struggle has been, or how terrible they started off. It's going to be a most dreadful wait for the next volume.


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