Lost Boys Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 168
  • ISBN: 1-56970-924-6
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Lost Boys Vol. #01

By Julie Rosato     July 01, 2006
Release Date: June 21, 2006

Lost Boys Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kaname Itsuki
Translated by:N/A
Adapted by:

What They Say
One evening, a boy named "Air" suddenly appears at Mizuki's window, forcibly transporting him to Neverland. Having grown up most of his life without his own father, Mizuki wants nothing to do with being a surrogate father to Air and the other children, but unfortunately stuck without a way out of Neverland, he has little choice but to stay. As he spends time with Air, however, Mizuki is gradually charmed by his boyish innocence.

The Review
If you've got a soft spot in your heart for Peter Pan or the innocence of youth, you'll probably get a kick out of this story, but it's a bit light on the fairy dust.

This book is presented in a big A5 size, with a beautiful glossy dust jacket, complete with author profile on the inside flap. DMP uses the original cover art of Mizuki catching hold of Air against a blue sky and rainbow. The gold-colored logo and the new pink "June" imprint label bar on the bottom both match nicely with the pastel colors of the cover. Inside is a heavier, whiter paper stock than DMP has historically used, which is something I've noticed in some of their other most recent releases. The book is much denser as a result and the printing looks really crisp and bright, although it could just be that the whiter paper really serves to accentuate the solid contrasts of the art style. The author's postscript and ads for upcoming June titles close up the book.

This title has a nice, contemporary look to it. The lines are thin but distinct and everything is very clean and attractive. The tonework is very precise, used mostly for shading, and there are plenty of solid inks for contrast in the backgrounds, hair, and clothing. The characters are well proportioned and look normal - no chins of death or other freakishly weird attributes here - but neither do they stand out as impressive. The adult(-ish) characters (Mizuki, Reux the fairy, the pirates) are pretty much your standard bishie fare, and the lost boys are cute with their small, boyish faces and whimsical clothing. The printing and art reproduction appears quite crisp, as mentioned in the packaging section.

As mentioned in my initial review of this title, SFX are used rather sparingly but the translations (mostly subtitle method, some overlay) look great. There is nice variance with font and style and rarely do they disrupt the panel flow. The translation reads fine and feels appropriate, although the typos present in the galley were not corrected for this final version. Thankfully there were only a couple.

Contents:(please note the following may contain spoilers)
One night a boy named Air and his fairy friend Reux are out looking for a father for the Lost Boys of Neverland when they come to Mizuki's open window. Mizuki looks just the part to Air, and spoiled brat that he is, won't take no for an answer. Mizuki wakes up in Neverland, feeling pretty put out by his abduction and not the least bit happy about being charged with fatherhood when he himself grew up without one. It's a pretty sore spot for him, actually.

The lost boys take a liking to Mizuki - he's strong, protective and even stands up to Air - but no matter how nice it feels Mizuki knows he should leave. He even knows the secret of fairy dust, but he's forgotten how to dream and thus cannot fly. Air wants to make nice with Mizuki though and even braves an encounter with the dread pirate Captain Vanity to prove it. (This naturally leads to a cross-dressing rescue adventure, a fabulously uke pirate, and a tender moment between Air and Mizuki.)

But Air doesn't just want Mizuki to stay, he wants him to remember his dreams -- for both of their sakes. Little by little Mizuki becomes charmed by Air's vulnerability and efforts and starts to care about him. But when Reux tells Mizuki of a magic mirror deep in the forest that could help him get home, he knows he should investigate. The mirror turns out to be both a test and an answer, and things circle back around to Mizuki's angst over being chosen as a father figure and Air's purpose in existing.

Eventually Air helps Mizuki to realize what he wants most of all, but to achieve it means leaving Neverland. A bit of eminent-separation anxiety ensues, (as does a surprise love confession!), but it comes so late in the book that it mostly feels like wasted potential. It's also a little bit creepy. In the end Mizuki gets what he has dreamt of all along, (and a little something more), and this time he'll not forget it.

Afterwards there's a sexy and amusing (but all too short) bonus story about Captain Vanity and First Mate Al, which is probably my favorite part of the book.

A love song to Peter Pan, this is more a story about a young man finding his heart than it is yaoi. The artist even jokes about it in her afterward (perhaps aptly titled "An Apology"). There are suggestive implications and some light kissing in the main story, although there is a tiny bit more action in the bonus story about the pirate captain and his first mate (which was a bit of a recurring gag earlier in the book). From a yaoi perspective the pirates are the more entertaining prospect, but sadly they have only a handful of pages.

As to the story itself, there's love in the labor but its execution is average. Transitions are rough and despite some sweet moments and seeds of angst that characteristically fit the bill for Boys-Love, there just isn't the time to develop the romance realistically. The relationship is slow-paced, weak and mostly a tease (if we're even to believe there will actually be one at all) -- more than a love vibe, Mizuki projects a big-brother feeling. (Except, perhaps, at the mildly creepy ending.) It's probably better that way given the assumed age difference between the characters, but even if you like that sort of thing, I'd wager it's too tame to be satisfying. The humor is cute but predictably caters to genre in-jokes and even the "sad" ending has a cop-out mechanism in place.

I didn't dislike this book (Peter Pan is always a fun story to revisit), but it's best read for a few chuckles (the pirates, really) and the message about remembering your dreams and being true to your heart. Since it's afraid to truly take risks, this book winds up pretty vanilla and while the art is nice it's not reason enough to buy if you won't care for the story.


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