MERRY FAMILY PLAN • Sumitomo Morizumi • Netcomics • 18+
The most notable feature of this Boy’s Love anthology is the unusual, cartoony art; the backgrounds are attractively sketchy but the characters, with their stout muscular bodies and round baby faces, are just weird-looking. (”I’ve always believed that my work would be more favored if my drawings looked a bit funny and made my readers laugh,” artist Morizumi mentions in her notes.) In the three-chapter title story, bisexual teenager Shibutani falls in love with his gay classmate Yoshizumi, and the manga follows their relationship from high school to young adulthood and Big Decisions About Life. (”I’ve got to be with a man. But you’re different. You can marry a girl like a normal man and have a happy family.”) The other stories range from “Blue Burial,” a short piece about a young airline pilot haunted by a ghost, to the unpleasant “The Smile Under the Mask,” about a young boy who has had a fetish for masks ever since an experience with his childhood dentist. As Morizumi herself seems to recognize, the most effective stories are the funny ones, such as “We Were Lucky Enough to be Born as Men,” about two boyfriends who have been having oral sex for awhile but are afraid to take the, uh, plunge. Another typical throwaway gag shows the “tissue fairy” hovering over tissues stained with you-know-what. Moments like these are imaginative, but the mix of moods makes for a strange anthology, and the rough, childish art drags everything down, from the otherwise touching title story to the always-peculiar sex parts. (Curiously for a yaoi book, there’s even a straight sex scene.)
** (two stars)
Since we didn’t have a winner yesterday, we have two winners today — Edwina C. of Indiana and Sol. G. of Texas. Congratulations!
Robert D. sent this small but succinct photo of himself with his manga, including the first three volumes of Ghost Talker’s Daydream! Congratulations, Robert! We’ll send you more manga right away!