A solid and interesting entry into the boys’ love genre.
Writer/Artist: Hinako Takanaga
Translation: Not Listed
Adaptation: Not Listed
What They Say
After fleeing Tokyo trying to escape a personal crisis, hapless Itaru winds up drunk and passed out on a neighborhood trash heap. His misery is documented by prickly cameraman Kouki, who works for a local cable station, and soon the two end up roommates and co-workers. But with a company full of quirky characters, including a perky, winsome crossdresser, and their own personalities to contend with, will Itaru and Kouki ever truly understand one another?
The packaging on this book is overall fairly solid. The front and back covers each contain simple images of Itaru hanging onto Kouki (different images, but the concept is the same in each) which fit well with the feel of the book. The logo for the book is shown on the front and back covers, and the back contains a short summary of the contents, which blends well enough and isn’t overpowering. The cover is nice and glossy, and the paper quality feels solid. The translation on the book is solid and reads smoothly, and honorifics are kept. However, only a handful of the sound effects are translated, which is frustrating to see.
The artwork is competent, but not overly exceptional. The characters are drawn in a somewhat rough, sketch-like style that works with Itaru but not so well with everyone else. It works, but it just looks a little generic.
Like any good boys’ love title, Liberty Liberty! Opens on our hero Ikaru… collapsed drunk in a trash heap… while Kouki is videotaping him. In his drunken anger, Ikaru breaks Kouki’s camera, passes out, and wakes up shirtless in Kouki’s apartment. Oh, and it would seem Kouki gave Ikaru a sponge bath while he was asleep. (The creepy nature of this scene is actually rather hilarious and ends with Kouki’s cross-dressing coworker Kurumi walking in on Kouki pushing a near-naked Ikuru down onto the bedding to get money out of him.)
The plot quickly sets itself up in a fairly standard manner, with Ikaru needing to pay Kouki back for the camera he broke, and thus helping out around the TV station where Kouki works. Ikaru also needs to stay with Kouki as he has nowhere left to go, having run away from his home and college. Things proceed naturally with the two main protagonists at odds with each other (Kouki just wants Ikaru to hurry up and pay him back), yet on occasion showing kindness to one another.
Around halfway through the story, Ikaru learns that Kouki had feelings for Kurumi in the past. Strange feelings well up inside Ikaru, and he soon abruptly blurts out his love for Kouki. Continuing on this bold path, Ikaru goes so far as to kiss Kouki, who leaves, flustered. Ikaru, upset, decides to try makeup to make himself more like Kurumi to help him win Kouki over, which of course results in Kouki coming back to a rather awkward scene. The rest of the book is then spent wrapping things up between the two and even giving a nice little epilogue.
As someone entirely new to the boys’ love genre, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by Liberty Liberty! The title takes on a very light tone and never seems to go too far, and everything seems to progress pretty naturally. The characters are play their roles well, with the gruff Kouki and the somewhat shy Ikaru, as well as the off-the-wall Kurumi, and the situations they’re placed in make for some great laughs. The balance between romance and comedy is nicely maintained, and the characters even develop a decent bit of depth for a one-volume series. The relationship itself also stays rather tame and things never go beyond a simple kiss, which makes this a good title to ease into the genre with, as well. Overall, this is a great title and one that I’d recommend to anyone, boys’ love fan or no.