Time Lag Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 184
  • ISBN: 1-56970-921-1
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Time Lag Vol. #01

By Patricia Beard     November 07, 2006
Release Date: June 01, 2006

Time Lag Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Shinobu Gotoh/Hotaru Odagiri
Translated by:Wasabi Media
Adapted by:

What They Say
Satoru Tendou knows that one-sided love is a fate worse than death. A lonely window used to connect him to his best friend, the talented Shirou Sawaguchi. But as the boys grew into a hot-shot cameraman and a track champion, the simple goodnight whispered through the tin can phones of childhood vanished into confused silence. Two hearts once beat together as one...will a surprise from the past allow deep emotions to bloom like the sakura flowers, or will a surprise from another plotting boy pull everyone apart?

Boy loves boy loves boy in the Time Lag rivalry for romance. With every passing school day, a chain of mixed messages threatens to strangle a special friendship born in boyhood. Only two winners can claim victory from the battleground of a love triangle, but nobody will survive the wreckage if it all comes crashing down!

Sincere young man is in love with a cruel jerk. Wait...haven't I read this already?

The Review
Nosebleed Rating 0.1/5 One kiss with a hint of more to come. But it's just a hint. And on the very last page.

This is the typical dust-jacketed volume done up very nicely by DMP with the three major characters in a triangle composition on the cover. Unfortunately, proofreading wasn't up to snuff here and the mangaka's name is inconsistently spelled on the cover. The back cover insert is Satoru and Shirou in a more convivial pose than they take throughout the manga. The back cover blurb is hilariously extreme.

The artwork is very pretty. Character designs are distinct and elongated body style is attractive. The line is regular, which could lead to rather flat and unlively compositions but Odagiri gives vitality to the artwork through dynamic panel placement and screentone competently applied.

Previous DMP BL titles had problems with awkward translations and this title is no different. Too much of the dialog is unnatural and could be easily remedied without affecting the meaning or fidelity to the original. There are no weird concepts or culture dependent phrases to catch them up, so there is really no excuse. DMP needs to work on this. All SFX were provided translation, either directly to the artwork or as a smaller, unobtrusive subtext.

Contents: (Please note that content sections of the review may contain spoilers)
Every spring for the past two years, Satoru Tendou has confessed to Shirou Sawaguchi. And every year he is dismissed by Shirou contemptuously. He considers confessing a third time when he is confronted by Seiichi Hiro, editor of the school newspaper for which Satoru is the photographer. Seiichi doesn't understand why Satoru continues to pursue Shirou after being repeatedly rebuffed. Satoru replies that he cannot help the fact that he loves who he loves.
As photographer for the school newspaper, Satoru attends all the school sporting events including those of track star Shirou Sawaguchi. While it's not unusual for Satoru to be at the National Preliminaries for Track and Field, having Seiichi Hiro there is not an everyday occurrence. Thus, the misunderstandings begin. Satoru sees Shirou staring at the handsome Seiichi and later finds Seiichi in conversation with Shirou. Satoru assumes they are a couple. Shirou sees Satoru with Seiichi, who never attends anything like a sports event, and Shirou assumes that Seiichi is there because Seiichi and Satoru are a couple. Seiichi only wishes he and Satoru were a couple and continues to pursue Satoru.
The misunderstanding is resolved when a long lost item appears. Satoru and Shirou do reconcile, albeit with Seiichi insinuating himself into the relationship.

I have to admit that the blurb on the back cover made me laugh. Too over the top. "Fate worse than death", indeed. (There should be a special Bulwer-Lytton contest for things like this.) And it certainly makes the story sound much more dynamic than it really is.

"Time Lag" is the usual high school angst fest, this time written by Shinobu Gotoh ("Desire") with art by Hotaru Odagiri ("Only the Ring Finger Knows".) While "Desire" was an honest and sincerely felt look at high school romance, "Time Lag" seems very contrived even for this kind of material. The romantic dilemma between Satoru and Shirou is triggered by a misunderstanding. The misunderstanding makes no sense if these two had the friendship that they supposedly had. It seems as if the story were created only to showcase the particular device that the mangaka uses as the source of the misunderstanding.

Even if the premise is unconvincing and the characters are cliché, fans of Gotoh and Odagiri should find enough to enjoy. The artwork is attractive and the story is engaging if one doesn't look too deeply. The mangaka has left enough open that "Time Lag" may not necessarily be the end of story for this couple. And since this is essentially a romance, there are no naughty activities.


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