Lover\'s Flat Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 210
  • ISBN: 1-56970-808-8
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Lover\'s Flat

Lover\'s Flat Vol. #01

By Julie Rosato     December 24, 2007
Release Date: August 30, 2007


Lover\'s Flat Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hyouta Fujiyama
Translated by:Lindsey Newman
Adapted by:

What They Say
A bit of Christmas merriment leads to a night of passion between Natsu and Kouno. How do the two plan on handling “the morning after?”

The Review
Confessing to your best friend is a complicated thing.

Packaging:
Packaging is as usual for this publisher, the A5 size and dust jacket being the recognizable highlights. This license is from the 2004 reprinted edition, so June uses the newer cover art found on that book – a really gorgeous shot of the two couples featured in the story. June has also managed a good imitation of the Japanese title, but as with the original, its high placement and font size overwhelm the image a bit, drawing the eye away. Inside the print and paper are of the typical quality for June.

Artwork:
I’ve mentioned in previous reviews of this artist’s works how much I like her style, and although this book was Hyouta Fujiyama’s debut comic, the roots of her amazing artwork are clear. The flaws here relate mostly to proportion and tones that are occasionally too dark or overwhelm the artwork, but the panel composition and expressive characters are the real treats of her style. The feeling of “life” comes across better here than in some other early books of Fujiyama’s, too - probably helped by better backgrounds and shading. The bonus story, added for the reprint of this book in 2004, really showcases some of her artistic improvements.

SFX/Text:
SFX are translated using both overlay and subtitles. While the SFX translations look fine on their own with regard to size or font, the choice of method is inconsistent, sometimes even within the same panel. It’s not a major complaint, but when this happens the translations tend to unnecessarily crowd out the artistic use of white space.

The script and voice read fine in general, but stumbled with an awkward phrase once or twice. There was also an error (or inconsistency, if we’re to give the benefit of the doubt) in the very first line, where it states that Natsu was a transfer student. This creates some confusion because Kouno was actually the new student, a fact referred to later in the chapter and later in the book as well.

Contents:(please note the following may contain spoilers)
On the cover are four gorgeous guys looking rather pleased with themselves, but this isn’t a story of a kinky foursome or even an angtsy love-square; it’s a set of collected stories about two couples in the same apartment building.

The first are high school students – a transfer student named Kouno, who lives on his own in a one-bedroom apartment and Natsu, his classmate and secret crush. The first chapter is your typical friends-with-benefits type of story; Kouno seduces Natsu in a drunken frenzy and things get complicated as Kouno becomes more and more attached, eventually lashing out as the grief over his seemingly one-sided feelings boils up to the surface. They make up, of course, when Natsu confesses that he too has come to love Kouno. In a later story that spans two chapters, Natsu finds a letter to Kouno from his first love, which sets in motion a lot of jealousy, misunderstanding and general angsting about as we learn of the circumstances which led Kouno to move to Tokyo and why he’s so intent on keeping his relationship with Natsu a secret at school.

The other couple shares the room next door. Kei’s a college student living with his childhood friend and secret crush Nao, who works as a park-timer. Like Kouno and Natsu, Kei’s crush doesn’t remain secret for long here, and so the focus of their story is on Nao’s struggle to come to terms with his feelings. Truthfully though, his volatile reactions to Kei have less to do with his friend’s sudden confession and more to do with his insecurity and anxiety over his own inexperience. Eventually though, the two work through their awkwardness and are just a really cute couple.

Comments
Kouno and Natsu make a great pair to read about. Though their development is kind of inconsistent because of how this book is written, the changes in their relationship are no less realistic. Natsu’s easy acceptance and confidence set him apart from the more cautious Kouno at first, but their struggle with vulnerability and the fear of loss in the second story give them more dimension as characters. Their relationship has a lot of angst, but also a lot of strength by the end.

Of the older couple, Nao is the more interesting character, and so not surprisingly the scenes center largely on him. Honest and straightforward, Nao’s a spunky uke if there ever was one, and the pain of his being a (nearly) 19-year-old virgin is more hysterical than it ought to be, but it’s really his own internal struggle that makes their story shine. His interactions with the younger Kouno and Natsu throughout the book are fantastic, too.

In short, this was a really enjoyable read. The characters are endearing and entertaining and the switching off between couples made for interesting correlations in their stories. There’s a good combination of drama and humor here, but it’s the feeling of contentedness that oozes from these two couples that stays with the reader at the end. I just love when a book makes me feel good, too.

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