A yaoi manga with an emphasis on an emotional rather than a physical relationship. Still a little typical, but has its sweet spots.
Writer/Artist: Toko Kawai
Translation: Leona Wong
Adaptation: Leona Wong
What They Say:
After an accident, Kishimoto was forced to give up his dream of becoming a pianist. After his lover dumped him, Kiriya found himself spiraling into depression. The two bonded over their unhappiness, and before they knew it they'd developed a physical relationship. But could this diversion go in an unexpected direction?
What We Say:
Just Around the Corner features some very pretty and colourful jacket art. The illustration on the front cover features lots of detail and conveys the main characters' personalities well: Kiriya is clearly ready to go along with whatever life throws at him and Yuuya, leaning against a brick garden wall, is just a little dazed and confused.
The opening page features some exclusive colour artwork from Toko Kawai. It's a bit unspectacular, the usual yaoi fare with two bishonen falling into each others' arms under a sakura tree shedding its blossoms. Still, not a bad addition. The same picture appears on the back cover, which is a bit redundant.
The end of the manga contains a couple of translation points, though nothing nearly as thorough as the typical translation notes found in Del Rey's manga. There's an About the Author on the inside jacket and the manga makes note of the original magazine it was serialised in, which is nice information to have.
The opening image of Yuuya and Kiriya more or less reflect the flavour of the artwork through the rest of Just Around the Corner: standard yaoi fare with delicate-featured boys who can be hard to tell apart from the trillions of others belched from the same mould. Backgrounds are pretty sparse and sketchy. It's nice enough to look at, but not spectacular.
The sound effects in Just Around the Corner have been left in Japanese with English translations written up against them. It looks neat without being distracting. The translation and localisation is likewise done well. Main characters Kiriya and Yuuya exude a lot of yaoi stereotypes (though it's a bit of a reversal to have the older, more confident Kiriya take the submissive role in the relationship), so a lot of their dialogue is of the angsty/romantic variety.
Kiriya is a high school teacher on the verge of suicide after a bad break-up. Yuuya, a high school student, has likewise lost his spark for life because of an injury that leaves him unable to play the piano. A fateful meeting brings the two together and into a relationship that's loveless, but not lacking in sex.
When certain revelations endanger their physical relationship, Yuuya not only becomes desperate to hold onto Kiriya—he wants the older man to admit he loves him, too.
The yaoi genre isn't lacking for stories about teachers falling for “mature” students and the peril that follows. Just Around the Corner is more of the same, though there's admittedly more of a romantic than sexual focus on the story. If you just want a squishy and warm love story between two males, Just Around the Corner is a good way to go. If you don't expect any dramatic plot twists, it's a cute little story about the triumph of love, the torture of hope, etc etc.
One interesting choice on Kawai's part was to make the younger Yuuya the seme—the dominant one—in the relationship. That's not to say Kiriya doesn't string his student along often. After all, the story is about Yuuya's attempt to win Kiriya's heart, even though Kiriya is only interested in the sex.