Unsophisticated and Rude
Author/Artist: Momoko Tenzen
Rating: M – 18 and up
Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance, School Life, Anthology
*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at http://liheliso.org/. Check it out! ***
Momoko Tenzen-sensei seems to have a thing for schoolboys. Unsophisticated and Rude is an anthology chock full of high school and college guys.
The book gets its title from the first story in the collection, Unsophisticated and Rude. Satoshi has a crush on Nao-sempai, a member of the same basketball team. What he doesn't know is that his best friend Hiroto also has a thing for Nao-sempai. Who will Nao-sempai choose? Pretender is about Katase and Manaka. These two attended the same junior high and have a lot in common now that they are in high school. Katase fell in love with Manaka but kept it hidden even after Manaka confessed to him. Will these two ever get together? The third story is by far the best in the collection, Midori Vivid in My Eyes. Takamiya "rescues" the campus eccentric from a caterpillar attack. Sonoda is so grateful to (and taken by) Takamiya that he begins to shower him with expensive gifts. Takamiya doesn't know what to do because he's finding himself somewhat attracted to Sonoda as well. Will Takamiya be able to look beyond himself and accept Sonoda's attention? Second Love focuses on Haruno and Uenaga. At an elementary school class reunion (they have those?) Haruno recognizes everyone but Uenaga. It seems that despite Haruno's amazing memory he just can't place Uenaga. The two again strike up a friendship but not remembering Uenaga annoys Haruno and Uenaga doesn't want to bring up the past either. Will Haruno remember the past and if he does will the new friendship end because of it? The final story is I Want to Be Your Number One. Not only is this story the oldest of the collection but it's also the most formulaic. Tomo and Yukihiro have friends for a long time. Now that they're older Tomo seems to be making the moves on Yukihiro. The thing is Yukihiro doesn't know if Tomo is joking or is serious. When push comes to shove will Yukihiro be able to recognize Tomo's true feelings as well as his own?
This is the first anthology collection that I've read from Tenzen-sensei. The only other one that might come close is Manhattan Love Story but those stories are all interconnected so it really doesn't fit in does it. That is one of the things that I like about Tenzen-sensei, she has the tendency to focus on one story for a volume of manga. But even in anthology mode I still enjoy her work. The stories have the usual BL feel to them and are somewhat predictable but because she creates beautiful characters, lush backgrounds, and a feel of pure romance I feel that she does a great job. She utilizes fine lines, thick lips, and windswept hair to make all of her characters absolutely stunning. Be they women or men they all inhabit a very attractive world. The art has a somewhat sparse style but that is what makes it so great. It has a very sophisticated look to it.
This book features Juné's new look. What I mean by that is there is no dust jacket (even though they look great and it's kind of nice that I don't have to wrestle with the dust jacket but every once in a while I miss them.) They've also moved the branding bar to the side with the binding and have designed it to fit in with the look of the cover. No more noxious pink branding bar at the bottom of the book. Good work!
If you like your stories sweet and romantic or are a fan of Momoko Tenzen-sensei you'll definitely enjoy this title. But it is an anthology and if you are a bit tired of them then you might want to stay away. Another thing is Tenzen-sensei isn't terribly explicit, there is sex in this volume and it's steamy but if you like your sex plentiful and graphic then you're probably not going to enjoy it. I really liked it but I'm going to leave it up to you to decide!
***Review Copy provided by Juné***
***Reposted with permission from The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society***