Mania Grade: B-
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- Art Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Text/Translatin Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Released By: Blu
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 192
- ISBN: 978-1-4278-0280-4
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
- Series: JUNE PRIDE
JUNE PRIDE Vol. #01
By Danielle Van Gorder
November 08, 2007
Release Date: September 30, 2007
JUNE PRIDE Vol.#01
Translated by:Kazumi Ohya
Adapted by:What They Say
Far away from the city, deep within the mountains, sits the all-boys high school Shidou Academy. In years past, this school housed only the sons of the most elite families in the country, but these days it welcomes all into its historic halls.
Takumi, a boy from humble origins, prepares to begin his second year at the school. Held back by psychological issues, Takumi's indifferent attitude has garnered him no friends and a reputation as a cold fish. Then along comes Gui, a wealthy and charismatic student born in America. Gui is the only person who doesn't see Takumi as odd, and the two become friends. But how will the two cope when Gui confesses his love to Takumi? And can the couple survive the revelation of the secret behind the psychological problems that plague Takumi?The ReviewPackaging
The cover has a detailed watercolor illustration with Gui and Takumi together in school uniforms, surrounded by spring flowers. Between the volume title, the series logo, the Blu logo, and the parental advisory warning, the cover ends up looking slightly cluttered. The printing is decent, but muddy in a few places.
Included after the story is an interview with the series writer and artist, an afterward from each, and a preview summary of the next volume, along with several one-page ads for other Blu titles.Art
The art is an almost classic shoujo style, focusing on large, detailed eyes and varied facial expressions. It isn't anything particularly unique, but it does have quite a bit of visual appeal. Ohya doesn't appear to be particularly experienced with drawing manga, so her panel layouts tend to be fairly simple, and she shows her roots by using more large illustrations than is usual. The overall effect isn't bad, but it isn't as visually appealing as it could be. Some of the panels feel like they'd work much better as a single page piece, rather than as just one element on the page.Text/SFX:
Sound effects are not translated at all, a very disappointing decision. The translation overall flows well with few rough points.Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Takumi is in his second year at Shidou Academy, an all-boys boarding school. After a rough first year, he seems to have finally found a place he belongs, and someone to love in Gui, his popular roommate. However, Takumi's problems haven't ended there, as a childhood trauma has left him with something he calls human contact phobia, a condition that makes it hard for him to touch other people. As a result, his relationship with Gui is completely platonic, despite their feelings for each other.
When the pair inadvertently skips class and he realizes that rumors about the two of them are going to start up, Takumi abandons Gui to return to class, making Gui feel that Takumi thinks his reputation is more important to him than Gui is. To make things even worse, another classmate made a bet that he could score with Takumi, even using force if he had to - and Gui overheard. Gui, of course, is set on defending Takumi, but doesn't want him to worry either, and kept the entire thing a secret.
His past starts to haunt Takumi even more now that he's with Gui. He wants to get past his phobia and share the truth behind it with Gui, but at the same time he's terrified that he'll lose Gui if he finds out the truth. However, it's clear that Takumi can't move on with his life until he comes to terms with his brother's death.Comments
Originally a series of illustrated novels, the Takumi-kun series is something that clearly has its fans, but the manga feels more like a gift for those existing fans than something that's going to bring in new ones. With so much reliance on exposition of past events that aren't fully explored in the manga to explain the relationships between the various characters, reading this felt more like I was coming in in the middle of a series rather than at the beginning.
That being said, there was enough here to keep me interested enough to finish the book, and I find myself hoping that the novels find their way over here as well. Most of the characterization that was included involved Takumi and Gui, and they're both strong enough characters in their own way to support the book through the weaker moments. The psychological elements were more overblown and angsty than realistic, which hurt the general realism of the story, leaving this feeling overall like something that should be set in a fantasy world of some sorts.
In the end, I'm not sure who the intended audience is supposed to be for this book. General BL fans are going to find enough similar titles with fewer handicaps, and without the novels here to build a fanbase, it's hard to imagine that too many people will be picking this one up for its own sake.