Thus I went straight down towards the manga section to see if there were any new $1 titles to buy ;D
(actually, I hit the kids section first because I’m trying to read little kids books to help boast my vocabulary. Hey, it worked with English! Why not Japanese? :P).
I have to note here that it makes me sad to go down to the manga section now because my local Book Off recently downsized their Japanese manga selection. For example, the shojo section used to take up two rows of shelves. Now it’s confined to one row with fewer shelves and it has to share space with the yaoi section. The Hana to Yume books used to have a whole shelf dedicated to their volumes but now they live on two shelves…meaning there’s only like…50 books of random Hana to Yume things (realize that since a series can have like 10 books in it, that means there are only about 6 series on those two shelves). It’s pathetic :(
Despite the depressing state, I did manage to find 5 $1 manga that I was interested in (well, 4 $1 manga and a $1 kids book). Here is a mini…talk whatever about one of the manga I got: Futsuu no Renai (or An Ordinary Love). When I pick up a book at Book Off, I like to randomly flip through the pages instead of starting from the beginning. This was the first page I landed on:
Me: (o w o) the fuck?
My first thought was that I had picked up some yaoi shiznik and that’s not how I roll. However, when I read the speech bubbles (because I wanted to know wtf was going on here), the main guy is like “uh…there’s nothing here.” Then he starts flipping out and runs away, internally screaming HE’S A SHE!
So….that was enough to get my attention :J Thus manga bought! Let us proceed to talk about the plot. The main guy is the “girl” on the cover. All he wants in life is to date a girl and have a nice normal relationship. However, because he looks like a girl, only guys are interested in him. We start the story with a man telling our main guy Kazui (who is currently waiting for the bus) that he would like to go out with him. Kazui promptly tells the man that he’s a dude too so no (love that the other patrons waiting for the bus all freak out because they had thought Kazui was a girl. Kazui: I’M WEARING A BOY’S UNIFORM! Them: We just thought you were a weird girl like that). The man is like, oh, I know. I know ALLLLL about you, and proceeds to list all these facts about Kazui which freaks him out.
Kazui: WTF?? How do you know all this!?
Man: because I love you
As the man is talking, Kazui looks at him in jealousy. For you see, the man is a bishi. A real man (not really but more manly looking than Kazui). Just as Kazui is thinking “some people just have all the luck”, the man kisses Kazui.
Kazui: dkasfjt i;olaugiahgliao;sigha;lguoaighi;lsgju! *kills*
Thankfully for the man, the bus comes, stopping Kazui from further beating the shit out of the man. Kazui hops on the bus and gives the man the finger. The man smiles (lol) and mutters how they’ll see each other again.
Flash to school. Kazui isn’t feeling well so he goes over to the nurse’s office. But I guess the nurse has some nice honkers so Kazui deliberately falls into the office in such a manner that his hand just inadvertently touches her chest (Kazui: hur hur) <- yeah not sure why but whatever. However, when Kazui’s hand doesn’t feel his gummy prize, he’s like, wut? Then he finds himself being kissed. Him: wut? So what’s going on? Why, it’s that strange man from the bus stop! What a coincidence! What are you doing here kind sir? <- this is what Kazui’s fists are saying as he beats the shit out of the man. Turns out the school nurse is off on maternity leave so this fellow has taken her place. His name is Akira ~
omg, Kazui…you were going to feel up a pregnant lady?)
Kazui is in pain still but he’s like, fuck this shit, and leaves. Or at least he attempts to. Akira tries to stop him. Even though he’s a pervert, he can tell something is wrong with Kazui medically. However, Kazui tells Akira he ain’t going no where near that nurse’s office as long as Akira is there. Kazui just wants a normal love. No dudes. With a girl. So take your homo shit and find yourself a BL to star in, son. Akira tells Kazui he doesn’t see a problem with them dating. They’d be normal. Kazui flips. Akira is a pretty boy and Kazui looks like a girl. On the outside, yeah they may look normal but no. Because of his looks, Kazui has been in a lot of shit – getting chased out of bathrooms, being felt up by creepy old men, yadda yadda (yeah, Kazui is kind of random in his conversations lol). That’s when Akira is like, WELL, *PULLS DOWN ZIPPER* *GRABS KAZUI’S HAND* *PLACES HAND ON CROTCH REGION* HOW ARE THEM APPLES?
Kazui: D: *screams*
Kazui stops his freaking because his hand is not touching Akira’s coconuts.
THAT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT THERE.
In panic, Kazui flees. Akira isn’t a dude. Akira is a woman!!!!!
And that’s how their love story starts.
Futsuu no Renai was like…some weird ass crack. You have Akira, who is a girl that for some reason wants to be a guy. I’m not sure if the reason was explained. I don’t remember. Anyway, she’s so dead set on being a guy that she had her boobs removed and is getting daily shots of male hormone (to the point where she can grow a beard). So she’s basically all dude, except for her vajayjay. Then you have Kazui, who is pretty much a girl, save his dick. He looks like a girl. And let’s face it, he acts like a girl. But he wants to look like a dude.
The interesting thing with these two is….how do I say it… they don’t really have any gender roles? Akira is the guy in the relationship and Kazui is the girl, but there are times when Akira is the girl and Kazui is the guy. So it’s like funny because Kazui will run off crying like a shojo girl but in another chapter, it’ll be Akira crying like a shojo girl. Or you’ll have Akira being the man in one chapter and in the other, it’s Kazui. It’s interesting…and weird.
As weird as Futsuu no Renai is, I actually enjoyed it. I love BL jokes and this was full of them. For example, one male classmate ties up Kazui and tells Kazui he knows how to have sex, dude style – he learned from his sister’s BL manga xD Even in 1999, BL’s presence was strong! Then there’s good life lessons in here – it doesn’t matter what you look like or your gender, love who you want to love. Or, if you truly love someone, don’t force your love on them (lol, as I write this, I’m reminded of how Akira and Kazui met. But at least Akira didn’t tie up Kazui and threaten him with BL manga haha xD).
But I do have one problem with Futsuu no Renai – its pacing. Like shit son, did we rob a bank and are trying to make it across the border before the cops get us? Otherwise, slow this pony down! I didn’t even realize Akira and Kazui were dating. One chapter Kazui says he’ll go on a date with Akira to thank him for saving his dying ass, the next chapter, Akira pulls out a wedding dress and tells Kazui she hopes to marry Kazui after he graduates and Kazui is all KYAAAA ~
Me: …what? You guys just had one date! Did I miss something?
Then the last two chapters have a love rival for Akira and a love rival (or sorts) for Kazui. Followed by a DONE!
Me: … @ w @
But in the end, I was amused. And hey, I only paid $0.60 for that entertainment.
Funny fact about this manga – it’s an early work of the manga-ka who later drew Shinobi Life! To think, she started her career with crotch touching lol!