Mania Grade: C
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- Manga Series: Tea for Two
- Issue: Volume 1
- Rating: Mature (18+)
- Original Story and Art By: Yaya Sakuragi
- Publisher: Blu
- Price: $12.99
Manga Review: Tea For Two, Volume 1
Nadia's thoughts on the Yaya Sakuragi Manga
By Nadia Oxford
May 22, 2008
Tea for Two, Volume 1(2008).
It's necessary for yaoi manga reviews to be a little gauche because the genre has to be judged by different standards than the norm. There are only two questions to consider: Is the story original and worth following?
The answer here is often “No.”
All right, so does the content, er, get your rocks off?
This is where a yaoi manga has a chance to distinguish itself, and it's also where Yaya Sakuragi's Tea for Two fails. The story, which is set in a high school Tea Ceremony Club, is admittedly unusual, but it's not enough to break the manga out of the C-grade yaoi mould.
Madoka Tokumaru is a rambunctious teenager who lacks grace and social skills suitable for polite company. Hoping to knock some culture into her clumsy brother, Tokumaru's sister signs him up for the school's Tea Ceremony Club. Tea ceremony is much like it sounds: It involves the solemn preparation and serving of a traditional green tea. Not surprisingly, Tokumaru's brash ways and sweeping movements are ill-suited for the precise, ages-old ceremony, and the club's president, Kazuma Hasune is properly appalled about his new member.
Tea for Two progresses predictably. Tokumaru is outgoing and loud; Hasune is quiet, dignified and perfectly suited for the old traditions. The two are mutually attracted without much fanfare or reason, and the events between them progress as steadily as...well, a tea ceremony. The story also throws in obligatory tension and misunderstandings between the two lovers, and there is some genuinely funny comic relief going on (particularly Tokumaru's first day at the Club and his reaction after drinking matcha tea).
But there's not much in the way of character development beyond what's expected in a manga about an odd couple falling in love. The art and character designs are indistinguishable from literally thousands of other manga. The sex scenes, what few there are, are typical and stale. Yaoi can always benefit from new ideas (which may be tempting fate; you can get pretty creative with a matcha whisk), but Tea for Two isn't destined to be a pioneer in the genre.
Yaya Sakuragi's yaoi title isn't bad, but simply average. In such an over saturated genre, however, you want to be careful about how you spend your money. To be fair, perhaps this is just an awkward start and future volumes will involve plenty of excitement and teabagging.