Thursday, May 4, 2023

A Condition Called Love - Volumes 1 and 2 (Manga Review)

A high school girl sits in between her boyfriends legs
    A few more volumes are going to be needed to really assess "A Condition Called Love." So far, I've read the first two volumes. Basically, it's a high-school romance between a guy who loves hard and a girl who isn't sure she's interested in love. They decide to have a trial relationship, and by volume 2, she's interested in continuing to see where it goes. The art is decent. Just a straightforward Shoujo series on the surface.
    However, I am either intrigued or concerned about how they depict the boy and his actions. In some ways he could be seen as a very loving boyfriend who dotes on her. But it comes off as obsessive and a bit creepy to me. That could be good if it decides to really explore his past, maybe there's trauma there, maybe he's overcompensating, or maybe this series becomes dark like "Kare Kano." That would be really cool to see it dig in.

Doughnuts under a Crescent Moon volume 4 (Manga Review)

Two adult women holding hands smiling and in love
10/9/23 - There was a comment below that had me really thinking, and I responded to it. But I haven't been able to let it go, because while I think the commenter raises some good and very true issues with my perspective, I also think that the quality of my own writing didn't express what I was trying to get across. So with that, I've edited and added to this review to better represent what I meant. So that the edits don't undermine the original commenter, I have left anything I'm removing in the post but with strikethroughs. Anything I'm adding from the original are now colored blue so you can all see what was changed. I appreciate whenever a comment has me doing so much introspection. In this case, it was a mix of unpacking my own bias mixed with realizing that a fast-take no-edit post probably didn't do my underlying issue with the series/volume any help. On to the edited review:

Whelp, "Doughnuts Under a Crescent Moon" volume 4 (the final volume) manages to take a very mediocre manga and absolutely destroy it with a major "fuck you" conclude it with an unexpected and poorly set-up character-based explanation at the very end. 
    Basically, I spent all but last page or so of this 4 volume series thinking/hoping/expecting that it was about two adult women's burgeoning understanding of themselves and desire to be in a relationship with each other. I'm always hoping for that because there either isn't much romance Josei being written or just isn't that much being translated (or a combination). So I'm pretty desperate for adult lesbian representation that isn't too trashy (written by men?) or too emotionally dark. Sometimes I just want that nice "cup of evening hot chocolate" type lesbian romance (I don't even know if that metaphor makes sense, lol). And while Doughnuts (my American brain cannot adjust to it being spelled that way - come on, it's DONUTS! amiright!?!?! lol) does deliver on the LGBTQ representation in its own way, it didn't deliver on its final reveal in a literarily-solid way (now I'm just making up words, so sue me!). If you don't want spoilers, don't read the rest of this post.