Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shy Intentions by Syouko Takaku review

Shy Intentions

Author/Artist: Syouko Takaku

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M – ages 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance

Grade: B-

*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at http://liheliso.com/buzz/. Check it out! ***

Yoshiyuki Shirotsubaki is a handsome middle school art teacher. Kaoru Niiya is a furniture designer. These two met in a place people don’t usually cruise looking for a date, the hospital. Yoshiyuki’s mother is suffering from liver cancer, whereas Kaoru makes daily visits to his grandmother. Yoshiyuki comes across as being cold and aloof. He hardly ever takes his eyes off the ground and seems to be very closed off to others around him. Kaoru on the other hand is very personable and people just seem to gravitate towards him. Even though the hospital seems to be kind of a strange place to pick up men, it seems to have worked for Kaoru.

At the beginning of their relationship, Kaoru seems to think that Yoshiyuki is shy and tries not to do anything to jeopardize the situation. Yoshiyuki has a few surprises up his sleeve. He likes pushing things to the limit. The relationship between Yoshiyuki and Kaoru is a good thing for both of them. Yoshiyuki comes out of his shell a little and Kaoru becomes much more sincere and open. Will these men continue to grow, and grow together?

When I first picked up Shy Intentions I had one major question in mind. Was it a question about the plot? No. Was it about the art style? No. What question was it that you had, then? Juné has published several works by Shouko Takaku, but why for this volume did they choose to spell Takaku-sensei’s name "Syouko" this time around? I’ll probably never find out (kind of like who shot JFK). Name spellings aside, this was a nice manga to read. I can’t say that it was magnificent and that it changed my life, but I did enjoy it. Takaku-sensei’s art style is not as clean as some other artists out there and that’s what makes it stand out. If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’ll know that I like artists who have a unique look to them. Takaku-sensei falls into that category. Sensei’s style is immediately recognizable. That’s why I like it. There aren’t many artists that can get away with a raw look to the drawings, but Takaku-sensei is able to pull it off.

The story was gentle and sweet. Yet I felt that there was something lacking, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it. Maybe I’m in need of a yaoi-reading break and that is what is affecting my judgement. Don’t get me wrong all you rabid Takaku-sensei fans, I did enjoy the manga. It was interesting enough for me to continue reading it. It’s a good read if you are looking for something that isn’t too heavy and has a slice of life aspect to it. Plus, this is not a compilation of one-shots. It focuses on one story from beginning to end. Nice!

Juné never lets me down when it comes to their quality. The pages are very flexible which made holding onto the book that much nicer. The dust jackets that come on the books are a nice touch and there is a surprise under the dust jacket this time around. I’ve noticed that since there are some mangaka that print things hidden under the dust jackets I catch myself peeking under them to see if there is anything fun underneath them.

I will recommend Shy Intentions because I do like Takaku-sensei’s art style. It’s a good read for a lazy afternoon where you can chill in your pajamas and have a hot cup of cocoa or coffee if you like (I think that coffee is the most vile drink on the planet).

***Review Copy provided by Publisher***
***Reposted with permission from The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society***

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