Ordinary Crush Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 180
  • ISBN: 1-56970-813-4
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Ordinary Crush

Ordinary Crush Vol. #01

By Julie Rosato     December 21, 2007
Release Date: August 22, 2007


Ordinary Crush Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hyouta Fujiyama
Translated by:Andrew Marshall
Adapted by:

What They Say
Nanase and Heiji are supposed to be two the only straight guys in a school where 90% of the students are rumored to be gay (or bi). When a simple White Day exchange of chocolates starts to go awry, however, sometimes the consequences are unavoidable.

The Review
How straight can you be when you attend a school that’s 90% gay?

Packaging:
Packaging continues in the usual way from this publisher, the most notable features being the A5 size and dust jacket. June uses the original cover art, featuring Nanase and Heiji. Honestly, this isn’t the most attractive cover out there – it’s an early book of Fujiyama’s and so the art is a bit rough, and the unnecessarily varied font colors detract from what is an otherwise nicely-colored image. June’s uninspired font choice and pink branding along the bottom certainly don’t help, either. Inside reflects the typical June quality, although the print occasionally suffers from muddiness.

Artwork:
Fujiyama’s artwork should be recognizable to English readers by now, with a small flood of her titles hitting the market. She has a very pleasing style and is among my current favorites. This is an earlier book, so things are a little rougher, but she does a good job distinguishing between characters and what is most impressive is how expressive they are. In this particular book, the artwork often carries the story much better than the narrative. There is some nice work with angles and point of view, but proportions can be a bit long and the art sometimes feels flat in panels with a lot of white space. That said, Fujiyama’s characters are really where it’s at and she definitely improves over time. Art reproduction looks a bit dark at times and the cropping often present in June books is more noticeable on occasion here.

SFX/Text:
SFX are translated using both overlay and subtitles, and generally look good. Fonts are used well and the translations don’t overwhelm the artwork. I didn’t notice any major errors and script flows well enough. Honorifics are included.

Contents:(please note the following may contain spoilers)
It was just a cover story to distract a persistent would-be girlfriend – at least that’s what Nanase thought when he agreed to “go out” with his kohai Heiji. But as any BL reader knows, when the population at a prestigious boys’ school is 90% gay (or bi), even a straight guy like Nanase is fated (doomed?) to fall in love! And so the tale of Nanase and Heiji unfolds.

This happy couple becomes the talk of the school, thanks to the Heiji’s constant PDA and the teensy weensy fact that the two were supposed to be straight. But what’s a romance without a little competition? Mizusawa, a freshman from Heiji’s middle school and Okouchi, a sempai of Nanase’s, team up to cause a rift between them, hoping to capitalize on their newfound gayness. Since this isn’t a particularly angtsy book, their bond, however prone to comedic misunderstandings, is not so easily broken. It’s a good thing there are plenty of other guys around to console the losers, isn’t it?

A couple of short bonus chapters and a side story involving the freshman Mizusawa follow the main body of the story. Also included is an unrelated short story about a stubborn man and his doting android.

Comments
The real highlight of this book is that it introduces the setting of Kinsei High, a 90% gay school, which is linked to several other works of Fujiyama’s. Personally, I love when authors overlap or cross-over, and with Fujiyama’s books it’s a little like having an entire series of loosely-related side stories. This story may begin with Nanase and Heiji, but it doesn’t end there. In fact, their story here is quite short, with the chapters devoted to them only taking up half the book. Heiji’s persistent affections win Nanase over quickly with very little angsting about, and this was clearly not a story that was initially expected to run out a longer storyline. Don’t let this deter you though – they’re a cute enough pair and Fujiyama’s gift for creating likeable, individual characters coupled with the school’s very nature provide endless other possibilities. Fujiyama’s work only improves with time, so pick this book up to see where it all starts, but expect to see men from Kinsei again.

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