Lies & Kisses Vol. #01 -

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Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: DramaQueen L.L.C
  • MSRP: 12.50
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 0-9766045-7-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Lies & Kisses Vol. #01

By Julie Rosato     March 16, 2006
Release Date: January 01, 2006

Lies & Kisses Vol.#01
© DramaQueen L.L.C

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Masara Minase
Translated by:J Wang
Adapted by:

What They Say
Separated as children due to circumstances of their parents' making, Tatsuya and Haru meet again at the bar where Haru works part-time. Unaware that Haru is his long-lost younger half-brother, Tatsuya invites the young man out for a drink. Haru, who has forever admired the kind hearted brother of his memories, enthusiastically agrees to the invitation. However -- when the evening takes an unexpected turn… Haru finds himself in a very un-brotherly position!

The Review
Is love thicker than blood?

With this, another excellent release, DramaQueen continues to set the bar for production standards. Like their other releases thus far, this book features a beautiful dust jacket and color plate, great printing, and nice extras. The original cover art is used for both front and back covers and each features Tatsuya embracing Haru. The artwork and color schemes are quite pretty in cool, plum tones and the background and logo have been nicely matched. The author's afterward, translation notes, and a preview for Empty Heart (another work by Minase soon to be released by DramaQueen) close up the book.

The layout for this title is practically cinematic. Nothing is wasted, but neither do things feel packed to the point of bursting. Panels move, even when spare, and there is some nice perspective work here. The artwork focuses largely on up-close character art, for the weight of this story’s emotion rests in the faces of the characters. Feelings are almost completely carried in the eyes and I think Minase does a fantastic job conveying all the angst, desire and anger they feel, despite there not being a lot of actual detail involved. The characters themselves are definitely eye candy; Tatsuya has the handsome-but-a-little-bit-geeky thing going on (I blame the suit and that one unfortunate goofy-print shirt), but has a strong sexy vibe about him and Haru is pretty much always adorable. The love scenes are nicely done and plenty sensual. There are very few backgrounds, but like so many other books of this ilk, there is a heavy reliance on tones and shading. The art reproduction and printing are of the same high caliber as DramaQueen’s previous efforts.

SFX and panel text are translated and overlaid, using a variety of fonts and look excellent. The overlay process has been done very carefully, clearly with every effort to keep the art and flow of the panel intact. The translation reads well with no noticeable errors and the honorifics are intact.

Contents:(please note the following may contain spoilers)
Tatsuya Soga is a young and elite businessman who is searching for his estranged younger half-brother. One night at a bar he falls in love at first sight with Haru, a young waiter playing the piano. They go out for a drink and, naturally, one thing leads to another and the two find themselves sharing a hotel suite. A fledging romance born, everything sounds great, right? Well, it turns out that Haru is actually Tatsuya’s half-brother!

Haru knows of course, he’s been watching Tatsuya from afar, having admired him since he was a child. When they were younger, Haru’s mother was caught in a compromising position that led their father to believe Haru wasn’t his true son, and the two were thrown out of the house. Haru grew up missing his older brother but believing the Soga family hated him, so he just couldn’t bear to tell Tatsuya the truth about his identity.

When Tatsuya learns that Haru is his long-lost little brother he’s beside himself. Not knowing what to do until things cooled down, he distances himself from Haru. Naturally Haru becomes restless, but when he unexpectedly drops by Tatsuya’s place one evening he is rejected outright. Understandably upset, he breaks down, all of the anger and insecurities he’s been feeling coming to the surface. Tatsuya can’t tell him the truth but also can’t bear to think he’s the cause of Haru’s pain so he invites him to stay at his home.

Tatsuya hasn’t forgotten the facts, though, and imposes a no-sex rule, using Haru’s age (he is a minor, after all) as the reason. Having Haru around isn’t easy for Tatsuya though, and Haru himself certainly isn’t making it easy for Tatsuya to ignore his feelings, either. But just when it looks like things are about to heat up again, an innocent meeting with Haru’s ex-stepbrother Kaname blows both their covers! Tatsuya, who was never informed of the circumstances of his father’s divorce from Haru’s mother, is enraged at the thought that Haru had known they were brothers all along and kicks him out.

Haru goes to stay with Kaname and confesses to him that he may not really be Tatsuya’s brother. Meanwhile Tatsuya is finding out these same facts out from his father. Suddenly understanding Haru’s position Tatsuya resolves to get to the bottom of their relation – but not before he gets Haru back from Kaname. He vows that this time he will never let his little brother go, regardless of whether or not they turn out to be related. This may not be as easy as he thinks however, as Kaname isn’t about to accept the relationship that Haru and Tatsuya have.

Haru won’t deny his feelings though and decides to leave with Tatsuya, in hopes of working things out. Back home Haru and Tatsuya get everything out in the open and make up in a really touching scene. Which leaves only one thing left to settle: The truth...

This hot, angtsy warm-fuzzy of a story is quickly making its way to my favorites list. I was worried early on because the opening events moved a bit fast for my liking, but once things got going, I quickly changed my mind. The emotion of the story drew me in deeply but I never once felt beat over the head by anything here. And with some cute, endearing humor to help keep things light, this book has held up particularly well for multiple readings. I also easily grew to love the characters and appreciate their subtleties. On the outside Tatsuya appears to have this impenetrableness about him, and he certainly has the manipulative traits he accuses his father of, but the closer you look, the more vulnerable you notice he is. Haru is much the same; the strength of his independence practically melts away in the face of rejection by the ones he loves.

The characterization of the conflicts is just great, too -- all sorts of things left me debating how I felt about the situation these brothers found themselves in, and yet I kept coming back to a total love for them, rooting them on. In particular, the scene at Kaname’s house was great, one of my favorite parts of the book. (I absolutely adore him!) I personally think the ending would have been stronger without the last short chapter (which is usually worth little more than an extra sex scene anyway), but that aside, everything about this book is planned so that no moment is wasted. This is something that I’ve come to appreciate more with each subsequent reading, and each time I take something new away. Definitely a recommended read for yaoi fans.


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