Moon and Sandals Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 1-56970-824-X
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Moon and Sandals Vol. #01

By Danielle Van Gorder     March 15, 2007
Release Date: February 28, 2007


Moon and Sandals Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Fumi Yoshinaga
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
Adapted by:Bambi Eloriaga

What They Say
As a newly appointed high school teacher, Ida has yet to gain confidence in his abilities. His insecurity grows worse when he feels someone intensely staring at him during class. The piercing eyes belong to a tall, intimidating student: Koichi Kobayashi. What exactly should Ida do about it? Is it discontent that fuels Kobayashi's sultry gaze... or could it be something else?

The Review
Fumi Yoshinaga's premiere work has finally been translated!

Packaging:

Like all DMP books, The Moon and the Sandals has a larger trim size, and dust cover that really help it to stand out. The cover is fairly simple, Kobayashi and Toyo (complete with Yoshinaga's trademark look of reluctance) up close against a yellow background with sunflowers. The back cover has a simple image of Mr. Ida and a simple layout that works well. The art reproduction looks good overall - the blacks are acceptable and line work is, for the most part, crisp.

Art:

Yoshinaga's art might be familiar from titles like Gerard & Jacques or Antique Bakery, although as her debut work, The Moon and the Sandals isn't quite as polished as her later offerings. The art and panel layout is overall very minimalist, with sparse backgrounds where they are included at all, and fairly simple screen tones, but it's a style that is used to great effect. She has two art styles she swaps between when it comes to the character design - her standard style, as on the cover, is fairly detailed and really beautiful. She also uses an even simpler style where all line work is the same weight, and faces become blocky and simplified (and sometimes lose features entirely). This is more frequent in this title than it is in her later works, to the point where it became almost distracting at a few spots.

Text/SFX:

All the sound effects are translated, some by replacing the original effect entirely, and others with translation on the page near the effect. I'm not entirely sure how the decision was made to go with one or the other, but my guess is that any effect in a sound bubble (including slamming doors) was replaced, as well as others where the impact on the art was minimal. For larger sound effects, or where they were well integrated into the art, the subtitling method was used.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):

Koichi Kobayashi is in love with his history teacher, Mr. Ida. Mr. Ida, on the other hand, can't figure out why Kobayashi keeps glaring at him in class. After working up the nerve, Kobayashi goes to Ida's apartment to confess - just in time to hear the tail end of a lover's quarrel between Ida and another man. This other man wants Ida to go to Kyoto with him, but Ida refuses, because he really wants to continue being a teacher.

Kobayashi starts visiting more and cooking for Ida, but Ida doesn't seem to notice his feelings and seems to be waiting for a phone call from a certain someone. After kissing Ida, Kobayashi confesses his feelings, just in time for Ida's lover, Hashizume, to make an appearance. Turns out he turned down the job in Kyoto, and wants Ida to live with him. Kobayashi runs off into the night, after realizing that he really can't compete.

Fast forward to a while later - Kobayashi is slowly coming to terms with his rejection, and Ida and Hashizume are still house hunting. They keep running into difficulties because people just don't seem to want to rent to two men who aren't related to each other. This is causing a strain in their relationship, because Ida just can't seem to figure out what the quiet Hashizume is thinking. They fight, and after Hashizume leaves Ida reminisces about the past and how their relationship started. Once Hashizume returns, they make an important decision.

The story switches back to Kobayashi, who exchanges lunches every day with a girl in his class named Rikuko Narumi, who also helps him study. But with exams coming up, she has an accident and ends up in the hospital. She suggests that Kobayashi could get study help from her older brother in exchange for meals, a suggestion he enthusiastically accepts - until he meets Toyo Narumi, the sole member of the mountaineering club, who has a bit of a nasty personality. Gradually, Kobayashi and Narumi get to know each other better - things go smoothly, until the day that Narumi asks Kobayashi to visit Riku in the hospital, where she confesses her love. Kobayashi gently refuses her, and then finds Narumi waiting when he leaves her room. To his surprise, Narumi isn't angry - he's actually very kind about the whole situation, which is when Kobayashi realizes that he's fallen in love with Riku's older brother.

Eventually, Narumi figures it out, and confronts Kobayashi. Kobayashi confesses that he has fallen in love with Narumi, but wants to wait for his answer, and spends the next several days aggressively pursuing Narumi. But, of course, it doesn't go smoothly - Narumi has some sad memories from his past holding him back, and there's the fact that he's Riku's older brother to consider as well.

Comments
The book overall has a very bittersweet tone that I just love. There's love, there's loss, there's acceptance and moving on, and regret about the past - it's all here, and it all feels very real. While this is Yoshinaga's premier work, it still manages to be very polished, and as well written as her later titles. A theme that seems to carry through the book is that it's hard to follow your heart without hurting someone, intentionally or not. The characters are extremely well defined, and have you genuinely caring about them as the story progresses. Despite a number of setups that could have ended up terribly cliche, The Moon and the Sandals manages to feel fresh. If you're looking for the sweeter side of BL, this is your book.

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