Sugar Milk Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1-56970-744-9
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Sugar Milk

Sugar Milk Vol. #01

By Briana Lawrence     May 14, 2008
Release Date: April 08, 2008

Sugar Milk Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Jaryu Dokuro
Translated by:Matthew Johnson
Adapted by:N/A

What They Say
"For as long as we could remember, we had always been together. So it seemed only natural to assume it would last forever... But it might actually be by my fault that it all started to slip away." With seven heart-wrenching stories, this is Jaryu Dokuro's first book.

The Review
This is definitely a good start for a manga-ka's first work. Sugar. Milk. Doggies. Boys. What more could a person want?

The covers, front and back, definitely made me want to grab the book and read it. The front cover is full of colors, like it was splashed with paint in some areas, then flowers and vines were created from the mess of black, green, and purple. There's two guys sitting on the cover, eating suckers together, one wearing a large jacket with a skull on the corner, the other wearing a green vest with snakeskin boots. The back of the book shows the characters of the first story in an almost sketchy style. It's almost like looking at a roll of film because the picture is repeated over the back cover and onto the sleeve jacket of the book.

It's a bit hard to describe the art style in this manga. It's a bit... sketchy? Messy? It's a very interesting, kinda cool art style that sort of reminds me of Lily Hoshino's style, creator of "Alone in my King's Harem" and "My Only King." The ukes in Dokuro's work aren't as girly or outrageously beautiful, but they do have the tendency to cry pearl-sized tears and have large eyes and round blushes on their cheeks.

The text in this manga seems larger than usual, especially when inner monogolue is going on. As usual with DMP, sound effects are translated into English with the original kanji kept intact on the page. If it's something written in kanji that isn't a sound effect (such as a sheet of paper with names written on it), the English translation is off to the side in a textbox. At times, inner monologue would not be in a textbox, instead it would be written directly on the page in bold text.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
What's Your Name?
The main story is the first one up in this anthology. Shinta Yamada has just been dumped by his girlfriend after she tells him that she's fallen for someone else. Afterwards, Shinta goes through his days at the convenience store he works at pretty bitterly, but things change for the better... when he's tackled by a large dog one day on the street. Before the slobber can sink into his skin, the owner pulls the dog away... and Shinta finds himself falling in love with the man.

In the middle of a school tour, new student Shunsuke ends up watching the boys basketball team as they practice. He meets Satoshi Inoue, one of the players on the team, and just when he starts to think that the guy is pretty cool the jerk mistakes him for a girl in boy's clothing. Talk about embarrassing! What's worse is that no matter how hard he tries to hate the guy he can't stop thinking about him... which the guy overhears as he sleeps at his desk one day. Embarrassing moment number 2! But much to his surprise, Satoshi confesses his feelings for him and asks to go out with him. Is being fifteen always this crazy?

The Lingering Scent of a Rainbow
Ryu Yoneguni always manages to take his teacher by surprise with his actions and words, opening his normal gray world to a large array of bright colors. But it's wrong for a teacher to love his student, no matter how special the student is, but can Masashi really hold back his feelings when he finds out that Ryu is going to be transferred to a better school?

Two stories that tie in with each other. Sho and Taichi have been friends for as far back as they can remember, but one drunken night Taichi asks his bisexual friend, "How do homos have sex?" Fueled by alcohol and lust, the two end up sleeping together. Taichi assumes that things will go on the way they always have, but he's left heartbroken when he comes home to find Sho gone.

Waiting For Winter
Tetsuji Nakamura is a freelance photographer who, lately, has his eyes on only one subject: Yoichi, a man he found on the street two years ago. But as the years pass, Yoichi is changing before Tetsuji's eyes and it's getting harder to capture the Yoichi he loves on camera. Then one day, while the two are on a road trip, Yoichi poses a question that changes the nature of their relationship: do you fear change?

New Years Eve
The final story of the anthology focuses again on Sho and Taichi.

It's hard for me to find a boy's love anthology I like. I always end up liking only a few of the stories, or just one, but I never like all of the stories presented. I guess this is actually the main advertisement of an anthology: there's sure to be something that you'll enjoy. But it gets a little frustrating when out of a large amount of stories I only end up liking a minimal amount. It's like buying a new CD because you like a song you heard on the radio, but when you listen to the entire album you only like 2 or 3 tracks out of 14. It's getting to the point where sometimes I read the words, "seven heart warming stories," or, "ten tales of love and friendship," and put the book down, ruling it out by default.

Much to my surprise I actually enjoyed every single story in "Sugar Milk." The characters were fresh and the different plots, even if some had been seen before, were incredibly well done. For example, the teacher/student plot has been approached about 5.5 million times in boy's love, but there was something amazing, almost magical, about the relationship between teacher and student in "The Lingering Scent of a Rainbow." And even the short, cute stories like "What's your Name" left a smile on my face.

The best thing about this anthology is that when each story ended it felt... over. At times, in boys' love anthologies, the stories leave me feeling a bit unsatisfied because they feel like they end too quickly, or they start out strong then fall flat in favor of getting two (or more) hot guys in bed. This time around I was quite pleased with how all the stories ended. They felt complete, in fact, the entire anthology feels complete and I am very happy with the entire body of work. If this is just Jaryu Dokuro's first I certainly can't wait to read more.


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