Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Where Has Love Gone? by Ryoku Tsunoda review

Where Has Love Gone?

Author/Artist: Ryoku Tsunoda

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M – for ages 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance, Salarymen

Grade: A

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

Motoi Takayama is a successful salesman at a pharmaceutical company. He admires his co-worker Ryouichi Ishikawa for his perfection in all aspects. He's talented at his job, he's hardworking, and gorgeous. Takayama is gay and he can't help but catch himself staring at the handsome man from time to time. No one knows Takayama is gay and he wants to keep it that way. That all changes one night when a chance encounter with none other than Ishikawa witnesses a make-out scene between Takayama and a man. Takayama is worried about the fallout of this discovery and figures he's as good as fired. Thankfully Ishikawa feels that whatever happened outside of work should stay there unless it is going to affect your performance. As the day progresses, however, things turn all topsy-turvy. Takayama has an excellent day of sales while Ishikawa has a terrible day. He tries to blow off some steam with a lady in the office but she runs off in huff. Since Takayama is the only one left Ishikawa forces himself on Takayama. He doesn't seem to see a problem with it because Takayama's gay, so he likes it right?

Ishikawa's actions made it possible for Takayama to see Ishikawa as a man instead of a God. Whenever Ishikawa needs to blow off steam he immediately approaches Takayama instead of finding a female companion. Takayama tries to convince Ishikawa that even though they are both enjoying the sex now, Takayama is gay and Ishikawa is his type. Will things continue in the way?

When a manga opens up with a forced sex scene you figure that you aren't going to like the rest of the book, at least that's how I see it. But I found myself really liking this manga. The relationship seemed very natural. In other yaoi manga the seme always seems to be the one in control but in Where Has Love Gone? Takayama is the one with the upper hand. He handles himself with grace and poise and continually tries to convince Ishikawa to end things before they get serious. Takayama could easily fall in love and he informs Ishikawa of that fact. Ishikawa is always the one on his toes and is doing all of the chasing.

The art in this volume is beautiful. At the start you don't think it is going to be spectacular but paired with the story makes it so pleasing to the eye that I really want to see more from Ryoku Tsunoda-sensei. The panels are laid out in a way that makes it very readable. The chibis are handled adorably and are sprinkled about without being overwhelming. The use of screen tone is also done well. Sometimes you get manga that rely on it heavily and it make the art so overbearing that it turns out unattractive, but not in this case. Even though Juné no longer feature dust jackets on their books they still feature the larger trim size. I must admit I did have a soft spot in my heart for the dust jacket but the covers are still beautiful. It is kind of nice not having to wrestle with the dust jacket now that I think about it.

I recommend Where Has Love Gone? highly because once you get past the first few pages it really is a great manga. Plus it's nice to see actual gay characters in boys love manga. The plethora of beautiful boys in suits doesn't hurt either.

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

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