Friday, February 13, 2009

Wagamama Kitchen by Kaori Monchi review

Wagamama Kitchen

Author/Artist: Kaori Monchi

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M – 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Grade: C

Wagamama Kitchen is the home to two stories. The first is about Takashi, a high school student who moved in with his brother so he could find a childhood friend that he fell in love with. There was quite an age gap between the two so the guy he's looking for is now an adult. It turns out that Wakana is closer than he thinks. Wakana saves Takashi from a couple of students who try to pick him up. Wakana claims that he's not the man that Takashi is searching for. Things get even stickier when it turns out that Wakana is a chemistry teacher at the same school that Takashi will be attending.

The second story is about Kumaki. He works as a copy machine repairman and has a crush on one of his customers. Kumaki is gay and has fallen for straight Naoto. There seems to be slight attraction on both sides but Naoto is a firecracker and you never know what emotion he's going to show next. Will they get together?

I'm still on the fence in regards to this title. I found myself somewhat disturbed by the first story because of some of the shotacon aspects of the story. That's just not my cup of tea. If we dealt with just a teacher and high school student relationship that wouldn't bother me but there are some flashbacks that give you the idea that Wakana was sexually attracted to a young Takashi. I will admit that the final part of this story was cute though. In the second story I appreciated that we had a gay character. Of course it met many yaoi stereotypes (you know straight character deciding that he can sleep with another man and still say he's straight). But Naoto was a little too violent in his emotions and how he dealt with them for me.

The art isn't too bad. It's kind of sketchy, which is enjoyable from time to time, but not bad, yet there seems to be a heavy reliance on screen tone. The pages can be kind of busy with the art, screen tone and bubbles all in one. I know I'm not making much sense, but I'm struggling to wrap my mind around this volume. It has its positives and negatives. I've read this volume several times and I still can't decide if I like it or not. Another thing that I've struggled with is I wonder if Naoto and Takashi are brothers because the brother in the first story looks like Naoto. Hmmm…

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

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