Lovely Sick Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: DramaQueen L.L.C
  • MSRP: 12.50
  • Pages: 185
  • ISBN: 1-933809-00-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Lovely Sick Vol. #01

By Julie Rosato     December 20, 2006
Release Date: July 31, 2006

Lovely Sick Vol.#01
© DramaQueen L.L.C

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Shoko Ohmine
Translated by:Jessica Wang
Adapted by:

What They Say
A lover's possessiveness can make the beloved feel extra special. For high school student, Naoyuki Akiyoshi, that special brand of loving is given 24/7 by Ryouichi Sumi, who is not only his lover, but is also his primary doctor and legal guardian.

As Naoyuki matures under Sumi sensei's care, he begins to push against the protective boundaries that Sumi sensei has created. Sometimes, change can lead to a deeper bond... and a new beginning.

The Review
DramaQueen has another good-looking release here. Great printing and quality extras like the dust jacket and color plate really make the grade here. On the cover Sumi-sensei embraces Naoyuki, looking much like they are portrayed in the early chapters of the book: Sumi appears possessive, Naoyuki defiant, and both a bit smug. This isn't the original coverart, but is instead from a two-page chapter spread inside, which is unusual for this publisher thus far in their catalog. The logo, too, has been changed into something a bit fancier (if somewhat unfitting), but the colors all look nice together and are a good deal less garish than the bright pinks of the original. DramaQueen's usual page of translation notes is absent from this book, though there are still a couple of on-page footnotes provided.

Attractive but average is how I would describe the artwork here. There isn't anything bad about it at all, but it doesn't particularly stand out either. The characters are handsome and distinct from one another but somehow inorganic and unable to really draw me in. It could just be that I kept feeling like I'd seen them before, as though they had been modeled after others rather than represent an artist's unique style. Proportions look good and there is some nice composition at times, but panel work is nothing special and backgrounds are mostly lifeless and empty. DramaQueen's reproduction looks great and the varied tonework comes though nicely, but the overall look here is one that lacks warmth and life. Although it's worth mentioning that improvements towards the end did gel things a bit better, bringing a little more detail and emotion to the pages.

DramaQueen continues to set a good standard with the text elements. Honorifics are used and the script reads smoothly without any major errors. Character personalities seem to be conveyed fairly well, though I did have trouble following who was speaking at times. SFX are translated using the overlay method with a variety of fonts that are generally well integrated without compromising artwork. There are quite a few SFX in this book so this is no small feat, although it was a tad distracting to see them occasionally reading right-to-left. This is hardly a major complaint however, and overall this book represents another fine job by DramaQueen.

Contents:(please note the following may contain spoilers)
Naoyuki Akiyoshi lost his parents to an accident that also left him crippled when he was 13. Now 18, he's spent the years in between living with his doctor and assumed-guardian Sumi. The two are also lovers -- and rather possessively so. For those that like relationships to be on equal footing (or at least close!), Sumi-sensei won't be very appealing in this volume. Propositioning a 13-year-old patient who's just lost everything to an accident is hardly suggestive of a decent physician, and training him to be totally dependent on his new lover is selfish, cruel and emotionally debilitating. Eventually we're shown that Naoyuki does have some streaks of independence within him and also strong feelings for Sumi, although I'm not so easily won over, given his upbringing.

This book starts out more like a series of vignettes, with the chapters being somewhat stand-alone events. First we're introduced to their situation and shown how Sumi-sensei has made Naoyuki dependent on him, indulging all his whims -- much to the consternation of his fellow doctor Kuma-sensei. Sumi makes it pretty clear he likes it that way, though. Eventually Naoyuki realizes he should be less demanding and wants to become more independent, both for himself and for Sumi. This leads to a Christmas Eve fiasco, and a jealousy inducing misunderstanding on Valentine's Day.

Then when Sumi has a conference in Kyoto, Naoyuki thinks it will be a good chance to get out on his own and spend some time with friends. Naturally this doesn't go very well either, and he ends up fleeing into the arms of his lover once again. It's a little disturbing to see how completely unable Naoyuki is at handling himself without Sumi around, but this chapter had some cute moments at least, bringing in some of the humor and closeness you'd expect to see in a relationship such as theirs.

Next up it's summer and it's off to the beach. Here the book really starts to find itself though. Naoyuki finally seems ready to become his own person, and we glimpse a side of Sumi more real than his usual jocular, sardonic posturing. While probably impossible without the help of supporting cast members Kuma and girlfriend Ritsuko, Naoyuki and Sumi's relationship finally begins to take on a life and shape that makes sense (in the BL universe sort of way). Frankly, up until this point Kuma-sensei was carrying the book for me, but things are coming together better now and the seeds of angst (plot?) planted at the end have made me curious about what is in store for the relationship between Sumi and Naoyuki.

It took me a bit to warm up to this story. The vignette approach makes it somewhat disjointed at first, needing a few chapters to find a groove to settle into. In the early chapters Naoyuki alternates between being overly selfish, moody, and self-pitying, and Sumi-sensei's "dominant seme" tendencies border on really creepy. Worse though was the ambiguousness as to who was more manipulatively possessive of the other, making neither of the characters particularly likable. However, Ohmine appears to eventually settle into a relationship that feels a bit better; Sumi is still possessive and Naoyuki still dependent, but that they also reciprocate these traits out of their love for one another becomes more apparent to us. I liked the final two chapters here a great deal more than the first three; the fourth chapter was funny and the fifth actually seems to be working toward advancing a plot, and both were a little more emotionally revealing. Once Ohmine toned down the character's unappealing attitudes, other things (like artwork and expression) fell more into place as well, and so this definitely comes away feeling very much like a "first volume." Fortunately for this reader the improvements show enough promise to warrant picking up the next.


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