The relationship geometry in this book makes even the ones in Marmalade Boy look straightforward and simplistic.
Writer/Artist: Maki Naruto
Translator: Melanie Schoen
Adaptation: Melanie Schoen
What They Say:
The rumored "tsundere couple," Sentaro Katsura and Sanshiro Sakamoto. Sakamoto's best friend, Yoichiro Takasugi, warns him that if he keeps acting so selfish and arrogant, "Someday Katsura-kun will dump you"! But Sakamoto's darling couldn't possibly do that, right?
What We Say:
This book has Digital Manga Publishing's standard large trim size and full color dust jacket. The print quality is very nice, with sharp lines and dark blacks, while the paper quality is better than most. I have no complaint on the packaging front when it comes to Digital Manga Publishing's books.
The art here is serviceable, but not outstanding. Naruto seems to really excel when it comes to over-the-top facial expressions, and illustrating children, surprisingly enough. Panel layouts are for the most part pretty basic, and backgrounds are fairly minimal.
All sound effects are subtitled on the page in a font similar to the original. The translation flowed relatively smoothly with few rough points. It wasn't the easiest story to follow, but I'm inclined to think that's more of a fault with the source material than with the adaptation.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Sakamoto is slightly spoiled by his lover, Katsura. Katsura buys him whatever he wants, takes time away from work to look after Sakamoto during the week, and generally bends to his every whim. But when a mutual friend warns him that Katsura might leave him if things keep up like this, Sakamoto gets paranoid. He follows Katsura when he goes out on a Sunday, only to watch him meet up with a series of people who are nothing at all like Sakamoto, who assumes the worst.
Once over that hurdle, a new problem comes to light. Sakamoto's father has decided that it's time for him to marry, and has even picked out the girl. And she's agreed to the proposal by proxy! To make matters worse, it turns out that she's the sister of a man Sakamoto hates, and the thought of being related to him is almost worse than having to get married against his will or having to leave Katsura. Wacky hijinks ensue.
This book covers a ton of ground, from couples with their children learning about the trials of parenthood, to a high school student who has to give up time with his lover for the sake of his future. Jealousy, misunderstandings, drama - they're all here, but only in the name of comedy.
When I tried to read this as a continuous narrative, attempting to juggle the various characters and their relationships in my head, this book was an exercise in frustration. It might be easier for someone familiar with the Millennium Darling OVA or the currently unlicensed seven volume series that comes before this and presumably sets the groundwork for all of these relationships, but for someone fresh to the franchise it was a challenge. Even the handy relationship chart provided fairly early in the first volume didn't help - with seventeen characters and what looked at first glance to be hundreds of interlocking relationships (including a few that seemed to contradict), it was more comedy than reference guide, and made the book just seem that much more intimidating.
When I gave up on keeping characters distinct and trying to remember how they interrelate, the book worked much better, and even elicited some genuine laughs at some of the quirkier moments. And, while this is ostensibly a BL title and filled with more same-sex couples than most series can boast, the parts that worked the best were the chapters that focused on the kids. As a standalone book, this really isn't the best choice, unless you're really in the mood for a challenge and a handful of laughs.