Way to Heaven Vol. #01 - Mania.com


Mania Grade: C+

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translation Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 18 and Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1569700280
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Way to Heaven

Way to Heaven Vol. #01

By Patricia Beard     April 15, 2009
Release Date: February 25, 2009

Way to Heaven Vol. #01
© Digital Manga Publishing

And you thought it was prayer!  One character does some kneeling though.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Yamimaru Enjin
Translation: Melanie Schoen
Adaptation: Melanie Schoen

What They Say
Moriya had completely given up on boxing after a gruesome match that also inspired Watase to quit the yakuza after watching. After a traffic accident, the two strangers meet by chance at "ground zero," the gap between life and death. A strange woman mysteriously appears to the men and explains how to come back to life. As a result of this tragic experience, Moriya's attraction to the kind Watase intensifies. But back in the living a different Watase comes out and begins show his true colors!

The Review!
Sporting the new "thrifty" look of DMP volumes, the slip cover that had distinguished the publisher is gone although the trim size remains the same. Also remaining the same are the numerous DMP advertisements included in the volume as well as an author afterword. 

The character designs are very attractive and what one sees on the cover is delivered inside. Yamimaru Enjin's men are men, not boys, and sexy men at that. They're long, lean and full of attitude. There's energy in the panel placement and the story pacing moves well enough although occasionally sabotaged by illogical narrative elements that have a tendency to stop the reader in her tracks.

The text reads well with no obvious grammatical or spelling errors. The translator and adaptor very likely had quite a time with straightening out the time slip portions of this tale and I'm inclined to place the burden of confusing narrative with the original material.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Little did one-time boxer Moriya guess that an attempt to save a wailing puppy falling from a highway overpass would cause his death and that of the man who made an attempt to save him.

But all isn't lost.  An alien, looking much like a cousin of Ulala (Space Channel 5), if not her sister, has a proposition for Moriya and Watase. They can participate in an extra-terrestrial experiment to acquire human energy for which they will be rewarded with time before their "ground zero". This will allow them to "live" a bit longer.  Of course, this human energy is contained in bodily fluids and must be captured and submitted in test tubes for which time will be credited.

If you've stopped laughing, I can continue.

Based on alien evaluation, Watase is determined to be a vampire type with a specialty in "biting" and Moriya is a werewolf type with a predilection for "sucking".  On the surface, this would not seem to make sense, but alien technology has its own logic and finds that Watase is most suited to capturing the blood of virgins with the kind-of-gay Moriya suitable for collecting semen.  Each test tube submitted will gain the duo 0.1 second before impact. (That's a lot of s****** and f****** for salvation, no?)

Are we ready to go on?

Complicating the situation is a timeline that has Moriya and Watase repeating the same day in the past. It's in this repetition that Watase and Moriya find a reason to continue with their scientific objectives.  Watase wants to save his yakuza boss and friend from murder.  Moriya decides to assist Watase out of growing desire for Watase that is ultimately returned.  However, these excursions into the past are not without complications. Not only does Moriya meet up with and have a very sexual relationship with Akutsu, Watase's boss, he is confronted by the Watase of the past, who subjects him to humiliating and degrading sexual experience that has the effect of driving a wedge between Moriya and the current incarnation of Watase.

Can Watase save Akutsu or are Watase and Moriya doomed to repeat the day of Akutsu's death, an event so devastating for Watase?

And what happened to the puppy?

This story is a muddle and it doesn't do to over think the mechanics of how this is all supposed to work. I do admit to getting hung up in the calculations early on and was anticipating lots of varied and graphic sexual situations. (Let's see.  One standard test tube is approximately 25ml/1 oz., and the average ejaculate is.... And at 0.1 second per tube - wow, that's a lot of sexy situations.) well, forget it.  It just doesn't happen.

The Way to Heaven isn't so graphically explicit or dirty enough to make the reader forget or forgive the flawed narrative, and the problems are noticeable right from the outset.  It's obvious that various elements were introduced, found wanting, and then dropped.  The vampire and werewolf designation, for instance.  What was that supposed to be about?  Then there's the bodily fluid collection that forms so much of the first half of the book; it gets marginalized in the second half once the storyline about Akutsu gets introduced.  Even the notion of repeating the same day a la "No Exit" (or "Groundhog Day, if you prefer) is abandoned and modified for no reason when it seems convenient.

Yamimaru Enjin admits to having the goal of creating "erotica".  However, the Way to Heaven is erotic in concept only, the execution does not live up to expectations in this very unusual story. If the reader doesn't get involved in rationalizing the story elements and can enjoy the wonderful character designs and artwork, this romance may not disappoint.


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