Sunday, February 1, 2009

Solfege by Fumi Yoshinaga review


Author/Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga

Publisher: Juné

Rating: YA – ages 16 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Drama Romance

Grade: C-

Kugayama is an elementary school music teacher. He's fairly apathetic towards his job and his students. Being a rich kid he has that luxury. He's just floating through life until a former student approaches him looking for help in getting into a music high school. Seeing Tanaka's enthusiasm for music brings purpose into Kugayama's otherwise boring life. Soon Kugayama finds himself attracted to the younger man and Tanaka relies on Kugayama for more than music lessons. Their relationship soon moves into a sexual one. Kugayama knows the danger of entering the relationship but he's so egotistical that the relationship continues. As soon as their relationship is discovered by Tanaka's vocal coach he ships him off to Italy to study, also to break off the taboo relationship that the two were embroiled in.

I think Juné loves Fumi Yoshinaga. It seems that the majority of Yoshinaga's works are published by Juné. I know that she has many fans out there in the world and I will admit to liking a couple of her titles, but I still can't bring myself to being obsessed with her work. I'm always willing to give her a shot though. Solfege is going to go down in history as a typical yaoi title with a formulaic story and highly stylized art that you either like or you don't. The uke has the dominant seme type personality – cold, egotistical, and forceful. The seme has the traditional uke personality – inexperienced, naïve, and trusting. Yes, the roles are flipped but it is still very typical which makes it a bit mundane for me. There isn't enough to the characters personalities for me to connect to them. They're either too dull or egotistical for me to feel for them.

Any time there is a manga with music and music education you've got my attention. With regards to Solfege I hemmed and hawed and couldn't decide if I wanted to purchase a copy of it. At Yaoi Club they were having a mega sale and so I figured that I would buy it because it was only a couple of bucks. In my honest opinion I paid what it was worth. I'm pretty sure that I will never read it again. Because I'm not a fan of Yoshinaga-sensei's art and the story wasn't strong enough to capture my attention I don't really need this manga in my collection.

I know that I'll probably have an angry mob amassed on my lawn because here is another Yoshinaga-sensei title I didn't really like, but just know that I don't think poorly of everything she's done. Normally I am so drawn into the story I am able to overlook my lack of passion for her art, but this time around this title has to go into my "Hey, I read it and now I can go on with my life" pile. The reason why I didn't give this a lower grade is because I do like sensei's chibis and this is one story and one story only in this manga. If you like Yoshinaga-sensei chances are you've read this title and loved it. But if you're like me and admire her storytelling this is one of the more lackluster titles and if you don't read it you aren't missing anything. But hey to quote LeVar Burton at the end of Reading Rainbow "Don't take my word for it." If it sounds interesting and you are leaning towards reading, go right ahead, don't let me stop you. You might like it.

***Review Copy purchased through Yaoi Club***


Narutaki said...

This was a title I read at Yaoi Reading Day a while back and one of my first looks at Yaoi...I HATED THIS BOOK! :)

Kris said...

Yeah, I'd be a little disturbed at boys love if this was one of my first experiences with yaoi. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one out there who wasn't too fond of this title!