Author/Artist: Lily Hoshino
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: M – ages 18 and up
Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Kazunori Akabane has just had his heart broken. He confessed his love to Fumiko Harada just to be told that she was in love with another student at their school, Satoru Moriya. Unbeknownst to either Akabane or Moriya their destinies will soon be entwined.
After Akabane confessed and was turned down all he could do was complain about Moriya to a friend of his. He's never even met Moriya but he hates him intensely. While having a fit out in the middle of the street he runs into someone. Next thing he knows he's being sucked into an alternate universe with the dude he ran into. While still trying to figure things out a girl in a skimpy bikini shows up to save them from a monster. But it seems that for her magic to work properly is an exchange of bodily fluids must be made. The easiest way of course is for these two young men to share a kiss. But Akabane's mood turns from confusion to anger when he finds out that this other guy is none other than Moriya. Will they be able to make it back to their home world or will Akabane be forced to kiss his rival forever?
In Love Quest there is also a short one-shot story called Pheromone that is a sweet PWP (Plot, What Plot) that is really quite visually graphic that kind of surprised me, which it really shouldn't because I've seen just as graphic stuff in other stories. But there isn't much published by Lily Hoshino and what we do have from her isn't graphic at all.
One thing I have noticed about Love Quest is that this story made a little more sense than some of Hoshino-sensei's other work. But there was still a little lacking. We know that Moriya has a thing for Akabane because he says that he's been in love with Akabane for a long time. But we don't know why, there's no back-story. We are introduced to Georg and Earl, the antagonists in the story, but we really don't know who they are and Earl really looks like a girl (which I have noticed is nothing new with Hoshino-sensei). It seems that Harada (Akabane's crush) was also summoned to this world but we don't know her purpose either. It mostly focuses on the right here, right now of Akabane and Moriya's relationship. That said I was still drawn into the story. I think it has to do with Hoshino-sensei's art style. She draws apple-cheeked boys with doey eyes and they really are beautiful. Some may not like her because of things they've seen in some of the other releases. She does have the tendency to draw her guys very feminine like. But in Love Quest the only boy who looks like a girl is Earl and we don't see much of him. It was rather refreshing reading something by Lily Hoshino-sensei where the characters looked like guys (a nice change if I do say so myself).
This is my first Yen Press title that I've ever checked out. Yen Press seems to focus on the manhwa side of things but they do from time to time release manga titles. Since I haven't ever read any of their titles until Love Quest I have to say, man do they have an amazing product! The books are very flexible but boast brilliant white pages. They have a full color cover sheet and have done an excellent job in translation. I loved how the sound effects were translated. They presented the romaji (the phonetic translation of the kana symbols) and then in parenthesis they included what we are used to here in the west. Awesome! Even though this is my first look at Yen Press I can tell you that it isn't going to be the last. Later on this year they are publishing two more Lily Hoshino-sensei titles (Mr. Flower Bride and Mr. Flower Groom) that I will definitely be picking up. Since the manhwa side of things hasn't seemed to catch on (but I've dabbled in it a little) with Yen Press' quality I may have to pick up some of their titles and become more familiar with what they are bringing to our shores.
Check out Love Quest because it doesn't resemble any of Lily Hoshino's other works that have been published in English. If you were turned of because of some of her other stories due to her girly looking men (which is what turned me off to some of her work, but I've had to change my opinion somewhat due to her gorgeous art style) this is definitely one to pick up. Even though the story was lacking in many spots you can't help but be captivated by the fantastical story and inventive art style.
***Review Copy purchased through Amazon.com***