Though I’m not quite sure what said eyes are suggesting
Writer/Artist: Momoko Tenzen
Translation: Melanie Schoen
Adaptation: Melanie Schoen
What They Say
Grad student Satoshi yearns desperately for his unrequited love! In a weak moment he hooks up with his classmate Akito! Will Akito's sexual prowess weaken Satoshi's ability to pursue his true love?
The sultry title -- Suggestive Eyes -- doesn’t really fit the giant pink text and matching colored leaves. Add the two cute boys hugging each other on the cover and you have a book that looks like it’ll be full of sweet stories and happy times. The back cover has two more guys, one lightly embracing a man smoking a cigarette and holding a very pretty white kitten in his arms. This isn’t exactly an anthology, but there are two different couples that the manga focuses on who are both a part of the same overall story. The manga takes turns, switching from one couple to the next.
The description on the back pulls away from the warm and fuzzy feeling the cover gives you, telling us that this is a story about a heartbroken man on the rebound. Take that description with a grain of salt though, because the break up isn’t exactly a major plot point. It’s true that Megumu is getting over a break up, but as you read they don’t show you the break up and you rarely see the guy. The whole “not sure if he’s put his love behind him” scenario is kind of lame, to be honest. The book is constantly telling you about this ex-boyfriend, as if trying to remind you that hey, there’s an ex and he’s not over him. There’s -- to steal a term direct from Creative Writing 101 -- too much “telling” and not enough “showing.” The story switches POV between Megumi and Kina, starting with Megumi then flipping to Kina as he remembers how him and Megumi got together.
The manga focuses on two different couples: Megumu and Kina are the main couple -- pictured on the front cover -- and Shibata and Kikugawa are the secondary couple. Megumu is a grad student who just broke up with his boyfriend and begins a shaky relationship with Kina, a student of the professor he works with. And… that’s about it. Now I know that as a fan of this genre I shouldn’t be expecting great literature, and I don’t -- sometimes -- but this couple is ridiculously predictable. Megumu is overly emotional and is easily susceptible to tears. Kina wants Megumu, badly, and is easily susceptible to shoving him against something and declaring how much he wants him. We do get some back story of how the two of them hooked up, the cigarettes that Kina smokes reminds Megumu of his ex. This gives them a small connection -- Megumu broods and Kina is frustrated that Megumu isn’t really looking at him -- but what finally pushes them into each other’s arms is the arrival of that ex we’ve heard so much about. He’s in about… two panels. Yep. That’s it. This makes Megumi upset, which makes Kina drag him away and declare his love for him. And a new couple(?) is born. As if that scenario weren’t horribly cliché enough, their last story has Megumi being jealous over a girl that Kina is hanging out with. Sigh… next couple, please.
Shibata and Kikugawa are a little bit more interesting. Shibata is the professor that Megumu works with and Kikugawa is the “hard ass” professor that, deep down, has a soft side once you get to know him. Now that I say it, they don’t sound terribly interesting either, but their story at least has puppies and a kitty! They do have a more comfortable atmosphere, I must say, because they have been together for so long. It’s a sort of tranquil romance where no one can get through Kikugawa’s hard shell except for Shibata. Their last story takes us back to when they first met about ten years ago, when Shibata got dumped by his boyfriend and grew closer to Kikugawa and… oh, another ex-boyfriend story. But! They also grew closer because Kikugawa had gotten sick and Shibata took care of him!
… yeah, this book isn’t terribly thrilling.
The worst part is that the manga started out pretty good with Megumu waking up and thinking that his ex is still there, or even him staring at Kina’s cigarettes and being reminded of the ex. But at some point all of that is lost to a lot of tears, jumbled feelings, misunderstandings, unnecessary jealousies, and an all around boring plot. Yes, the depression and the moping around over an ex-boyfriend has been done a zillion times in every single genre you can think of, but I can deal with that if its done well. This manga is just… not interesting. It doesn’t hold my attention at all. If the boy’s going to cry over the ex, can we at least know more about that relationship? How long were they together? Was he his first? Did he just leave him? Why did he leave him? How serious was the relationship? All we get is, “We were in the same year,” and, “We use to drink here a lot,” when they see each other at the bar.
The killer, to me, is the last story where Megumu is paranoid when he hears about Kina hanging out with a girl. Really? We’re going to go down that path now, “Suggestive Eyes,” that’s how we’re going to end things with this couple? And what kills me the most is that Megumu is 25 years old. I can sort of accept the high school uke being on edge when his seme is within 50 feet of an attractive girl, but this is a grown man crying over hearsay! So you hear some students talking about your boyfriend with another girl? Go and talk to him about it! Don’t avoid him and cry!
The second pairing, even if they are a bit boring, are more enjoyable to me because they don’t have any unnecessary drama. Even when we see them first meet and Shibata is crying over his break-up, there’s no, “You remind me of him,” or anything like that. In fact, they don’t even have sex and take things slow. The most “dramatic” thing they have to face is Kikugawa not getting close to the stray dogs at school because he’s too afraid to get close to another pet after losing his kitten, and in the end he takes one of the stray puppies anyway. Simple. Not terribly exciting. But its cute and I don’t have an urge to shake one of them until they stop crying.
All and all, this book isn’t worth the purchase.