Mania Grade: C
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Text/Translatin Rating: B
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Released By: AW Productions
- MSRP: 10.99
- Pages: 184
- ISBN: 1-59883-069-4
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
Thunderbolt Boys Vol. #01
By Danielle Van Gorder
May 17, 2007
Release Date: January 30, 2007
Thunderbolt Boys Vol.#01
© AW Productions
Adapted by:N/AWhat They Say
Kodaka Natsui, a naturally beautiful young boy, and a drop-dead gorgeous rich kid named Ritsu Yasaka both work as models. One day, their agency requires both boys to attend an overnight retreat. Kodaka decides he wants to become a man worthy of Ritsu, so he begins to undergo training under Ritsu's valet... in more salacious ways than one! When he finds out what's going on, Ritsu can no longer suppress his overwhelming desire.The Review
What happened to the real volume one? For that matter, what happened to the story?Packaging
The cover boasts a cute shot of Natsui and Ritsu that makes it clear who's in charge in the relationship. It's a really eyecatching piece that shows off Tojo's art well. One complaint is that Natsui's skin really blends in with the background, making him fade away rather than stand out. The paper and print quality aren't the best out there, but they're still better than a lot of what's on the shelves. Extras are minimal - there's a single afterward from the artist, a guest artist page, and an ad for the next volume on the inside of the back cover, but that's really it. While it's something that may be corrected in later printings, the first printing has a page from later in the book replacing an early page (and also in its correct position), which might cause some confusion. There are also some page sizing problems that resulted in several speech bubbles being cut off and hard to read.Art
Asami Tojo's art is beautiful, with clean lines, extensive use of screen tone, and dramatic layouts. Her character's eyes are remarkably expressive and have quite a bit of variety, which makes differentiating her sometimes too similar character designs easier.Text/SFX:
The adaptation isn't the smoothest I've read, and seems to suffer slightly from being too close to the original translation. As nitpicks go, it's really pretty minor. Sound effects are not translated at all.Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Before the story even starts there's a page with character decriptions and two paragraphs of background information. And, somehow, Tojo manages to cram more into those two paragraph than many writers put in an entire volume. How the characters met, their shared history and how they became a couple, how they became models, and the origin of the...conflict that starts out the book. Which left me as a reader wondering - why wasn't all this in a volume of its own?
With character introductions and story setup out of the way, and all those pesky extra detailes dismissed, the story starts with Ritsu and Natsui recounting, in graphic visual detail, how a photographer was able to get embarassing pictures of the two of them in an, er, intimate moment, and trying to determine what they should do to save their careers as models.
Their agency decides that the two boys need to get out of the public's eye for a while, and sends them to camp, along with Shigure and Nanao, two other models for the agency. But not without a dose of angst as Natsui wonders what Ritsu's feelings for him are, and thinks that their relationship might be related to what may or may not have been a past suicide attempt on Ritsu's part - it's hard to tell what the real story is there.
Also accompanying them to the camp is Ritsu's tutor Kirihara, who clearly thinks that Ritsu is superior to the other three boys. As a result, Ritsu gets a separate room and separate lessons, which leads to more angst. Kirihara decides he needs to find out what it is that Ritsu sees in Natsui (a process, apparently, that requires handcuffs and demonstrates how painfully naieve Natsui really is), which leads to conflict between the boys. Of course, everything works out in the end, why not?
The rest of the book is almost exclusively dedicated to Shigure and Nanao and their developing relationship, against a backdrop of a festival, kidnapping, a non-consentual gang bang, and a dramatic costumed rescue.Comments:
This book is full of pretty boys posing in pretty ways, conflicts that are introduced and then whisked under the rug to make room for the next perhaps not fully developed conflict or character, and a great variety sex scenes that, while not fully detailed, certainly qualify this to an 18+ title. Frankly, the story is a mess and there's just no making sense of it, but if you don't try to take the book too seriously there's a good amount of humor to be found here, intentional or otherwise, and the artwork is simply beautiful. There's truly a little bit of everything here, even if it isn't all connected very well.