Monday, December 15, 2008

Clear Skies! vol. 2 by Akira Sugano and Etsumi Ninomiya review

Clear Skies! vol. 2

Author/Artist: Akira Sugano/Etsumi Ninomiya

Publisher: Juné

Rating: YA – for ages 16 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Grade: B

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

The Obinata household is still a boisterous den of testosterone. Taiga feels that his grip on the family is beginning to loosen. It seems that Shuu has charmed his way into the hearts of the Obinata family men (if you are curious feel free to read my review of volume one or the novel). Since Taiga and Shuu have known each other since high school their relationship has yet to come to light. It turns out that Taiga fell in love with Shuu but he didn't feel that the feelings would be returned so the two painfully parted ways. Of course with the nosy relatives this past was eavesdropped on (Taiga and Shuu were having a loud argument in the family home with notoriously thin walls).

Since it's summer the neighborhoods are bustling with festivals and the neighborhood that the Obinata family lives in is no different. During the festival many secrets come out. We learn the story between Yuuta and Shuu and how they came to be adoptive son/father. Yuuta also learns that Mayumi, the youngest of the bunch, seems to have the most level head and seems to be on top of things going on between Taiga and Shuu. Taiga is struggling with his past with Shuu and the fact that his first (and only) love is married to his sister. But trouble seems to be in the cards for the mish-mash family living in the Obinata house and this secret could tear everything apart.

I found myself anxiously awaiting this second volume because I really enjoyed the first volume. The second volume, however, is much more somber than the first. We get into the nitty gritty details of Shuu and Taiga's past and the fact that these two failed miserably when it came to communicating their feelings. But we are dealing with men here, and if I know one thing men don't seem to have innate communication skills (but have no fear these skills can be learned, I'm not trying to men bash, I promise.) This is a great series to start out with if you are interested in wading out into the world of BL (boys love). There are a few kissing scenes but that’s it. If you are looking for something more hardcore you'll have to look elsewhere. The story over all is very sweet, cotton candy, and fluff. Sometimes fluffy stories fill a void from time to time. The characters are great especially Mayumi and Yuuta. In my opinion they are two of the most interesting. I think I like Mayumi because I can relate to him, me being the youngest child in my family as well. I could see a lot of myself in him. Yuuta was also interesting because of his past. You can't help but feel for him and be glad that he met Shuu when he did.

Overall I really enjoyed this series and I recommend it highly, especially for BL newbies! I think that when you read this manga series along with the novel you get a clear picture of the world created by Etsumi Ninomiya-sensei and Akira Sugano-sensei. It's an enjoyable world indeed! I know that in Japan there are more stories that have been written (and in the English translation of the artists notes these stories are hinted at) that deal with other members of the Obinata clan. I hope that one day we'll be able to read these in English along with Clear Skies!

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

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