HERO・HEEL Vol. #03 - Mania.com


Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translation Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 18 and Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1569707289
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: HERO・HEEL

HERO・HEEL Vol. #03

By Julie Rosato     March 20, 2009
Release Date: December 30, 2008

HERO・HEEL Vol. #03
© Digital Manga Publishing

Never content to let Sawada or Minami see their determination through, the third and final volume of Hero Heel continues their sadistic cat-and-mouse relationship.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Makoto Tateno
Translation: Sachiko Sato
Adaptation: Sachiko Sato

What They Say
Minami chooses Katagiri over Sawada not to forget, but to move forward. However, after suddenly receiving a kiss from Sawada, who he was supposed to have forgotten, Minami's heart is severely shaken! Feelings grow complicated as filming and Minami's relationships reach a climax!

The Review!
The show is half over and Minami has finally moved on. He's with Katagiri now, and his determination to forget Sawada fuels his pride to surpass him as an actor. In this way, Minami really comes into his own, channeling his real feelings into his performances. Sawada, too, has his pride, and is back together with Takagi. But why, then, has he started making moves on Minami in private? How can Minami forget a man who won't leave him alone? Much like their show, this relationship has become about two sides refusing to lose to the other. And it is against this same backdrop that their relationship plays out: as the show draws to an end, the two enemies must work together, eventually becoming friends and equals in the face imminent separation. Only then can they see each other's worth. I won't spoil the details, but I'm sure you already saw them coming anyway.

Where the previous volume was a train wreck, this one cleans it all up in a nice and tidy package. But it's a little too tidy. Where's the pain? The angst? Oh, it's probably still there -- Minami is just as weepy as ever (did one night with Sawada really turn him into such a baby?) and Sawada is still the meanest guy around, until everyone realizes how he was suffering all along, all broody and tortured -- but having been so inundated, I'm a bit numb to it. There can be too much of a good thing.

Tateno does deserve credit for her manipulations of cast and reader. The characters are written almost too well; they play their parts so perfectly that we, also, believe the fronts they put on. We're led to believe Minami really does get up the gumption to forget Sawada and focus on his work, that he finds comfort in Katagiri's arms, just as we believe Sawada, for all his tortured seme stereotyping, really won't ever let Minami in. Katagiri's possessiveness and Takagi's earnest loyalty don't leave much room for us to believe that they'd support the attachment shared by their partners. But, how then, do we accept their acceptance of it? Or that Sawada and Minami become a blissfully happy couple, at the climax of their show, after all those swept-aside feelings? The tenets of BL normally allow for this, but Tateno made all that came before so difficult that the "happy ending" comes too easily. It could be genius, or we could have just been taken for a ride.

While this was a decent volume by itself, the series as a whole barely rates above average. The juxtaposition of real life and TV show components made for a lot of interesting correlations, but this is BL and it really all comes down to the romance. If you like the teasing quality of overly-angsty, will-they-or-won't-they romances, then there is plenty to like in this series, and at three volumes it's got a nice chunk of story to go with. And it's certainly pretty to look at, as far as Tateno's work goes. However, you should consider passing this round if it bothers you to be jerked around at length by characters that are alternately weak, sadistic, and egotistical.


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jnager 3/13/2012 5:07:22 PM

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