Embracing Love Artbook Vol. #01 - Kiss of Fire - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Pages: 98
  • ISBN: 1-56970-901-7
  • Size: 8 1/4
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Embracing Love Artbook Vol. #01 - Kiss of Fire

By Julie Rosato     October 04, 2006
Release Date: September 01, 2006

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

What They Say
This is a full color art book dedicated to yaoi by Youka Nitta, creator of Embracing Love. Inside are lavishly illustrated pictures of Youka's work.

The Review
Let me start out by saying this is a beautiful book. I can't honestly say as I'm surprised, given the treatment of similar works by DMP, but for anyone who missed out on the original Japanese release of this book, this is an absolutely worthy substitute.

Kiss of Fire, the accompanying artbook to Youka Nitta's series Haru wo Daiteita (released in English by Be Beautiful as "Embracing Love"), is presented here in a fashion nearly identical to the original 2004 Biblos release. The book is softcover, but has thick, durable covers and a glossy slip jacket. Under the slip jacket is a silver-embossed cover with a close-up of Iwaki's image on the front, and Katou's on the back. Inside the pages are of heavy stock, full of whole, vibrant colors. The parental advisory warning on the front cover is thankfully only a sticker, however one might consider a warning that it was a little difficult to remove.

This book contains approximately 100 pages of various images of the pair, ranging from cover art to bonus work like CD covers, calendar pieces and original doujinshi. In addition to the full-page artwork, there are also several pictorial mini-comics (drawn for inclusion in the artbook) which remind us why we love these guys so much. One such comic is sexually suggestive and another definitely mature in nature, warranting the shrink-wrap and advisory sticker.

There is some very sexy artwork here. Lots of bare chests and bellies, lots of playful and romantic embracing, lots of intense stares. While most of the illustrations feature the men together, there are several individual shots as well, some very reminiscent of pin-up art. (A propos to their careers, perhaps?) "One Night Gigolo," the image from the cologne ad in volume two of the manga, remains one of my favorites, though there are plenty of other lovely compositions to admire. Since most of the content consists of existing artwork it's interesting to see the progression and improvement of the newer images.

Perhaps a reference for only the most hardcore of collectors, the only thing missing from this release is a small bonus booklet that came as a first-printing exclusive with the original release. Included instead, (and strictly a DMP addition), are reproductions of four letters found inside the book. These letters, written in character by Katou to Iwaki, are printed in Japanese on colored stationary, with an envelope to hold them.

The overall production of this book is terrific. The colors really look good, doing Nitta's work more justice than the manga covers released so far in English. The printing is vibrant, solid and clean. There is very little text in the book, the letters being the primary source. So as not to alter the artwork, DMP has chosen not to overlay their text and has instead included a small translation on the page nearby. I was also glad to see that the index of images has been fully translated, a nice touch that is sometimes overlooked.

Though the number of artbooks being released to the English market has begun to pick up, I usually still prefer the original versions for quality reasons. However, this release mirrors the Japanese edition so well that I am glad to have it. (It's also a bargain at $25 (retail), given the status of the Biblos original!) Any Boys-Love fan could easily enjoy a book that collects so beautifully the prints from this series, and as such shouldn't hesitate for a moment to add this book to their collection. The only drawback is how badly it makes one wish for the manga's domestic release to be continued, post-haste!


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