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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

[Previous entry: "Book review: The Man Who Doesn't Take Off His Clothes, vol. 1"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "Manga Review: Close the Last Door"]

10/24/2006 Archived Entry: "Manga review: Rin!"

Story by Satoru Kannagi
Art by Yukine Honami
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.

Review by Ginger Mayerson

"Rin!" This Shonen-ai manga is utterly adorable. With a story by Satoru Kannagi (Only the Ring Finger Knows) and art by Yukine Honami (Desire), how could it be anything else? I was very glad when I heard that this was the creative team on this book because I loved the are on "Desire," but didn't like the story very much. Although I was completely bewitched by the story in "Only the Ring Finger Knows" (I am the way I am because way back in 2004 Isaac Lew put a copy in the first box from Digital Manga and I've been a sucker for Shonen-ai ever since), I've run hot and cold on the artwork (I like Hotaru Odagiri's art in "Time Lag" better thank OTRFK, which came two years later). Anyway, Kannagi and Honami on this manga are like Rodgers and Hamerstein, Astaire and Rogers, Gin and Tonic, they are, to sum up, a helluva team.

It's a cute story with a dash of romantic angst and archery zen about two guys who don't realize they're in love until a third party gets interested in one of them. Then they fight and make up and live happily ever after, I suppose. The main characters are Katsura and Sou, who've been friends since childhood. Ostensibly, Katsura is only a year younger than Sou, but instead of sixteen, he looks about eleven. Does this bother me? Not really. Not as much as it did when the love interest in "Desire" looked like he was eleven instead of sixteen. But there was a lot more sex in "Desire" than there is in "Rin!" There's no sex in "Rin!" just some smooches. Oh, wait, there's some groping in an extra story at the end, but Kannagi didn't write that story, Ms. Honami did.

I liked this book a lot, even if I found the pace a little leisurely. The characters spend a lot of time confessing things and then even more time reacting to those confessions. I thought Ms. Honami did a wonderful job visually capturing the little plot swells and lulls. There's no huge climax to this story, just a nice mellow "ah" at the end that made me smile beatifically.

I did archery in High School and I loved it. I even had my own bow for many years. So I very much enjoyed all the archery stuff in this book. Much of the action takes place in and around an archery competition and there are a few discussions about the zen of archery. Not in depth discussions, just the guys talking through archery stuff. This gives the book an added dimension; where so many yaoi manga are focused hard on the boys' romantic problems, this one gives a little insight into the arts and culture the boys live in (while they're working out their romantic problems).

This is a very civilized manga by two stellar talents in the manga biz. The Juné imprint of Digital Manga, Inc. has done it's usual stellar production job and the pink and green dust jacket is quite adorable. The back cover blurb calls it "... a tale of awkward romance." Heh. Aren't they all awkward romances in Shonen-ai?

Secret Note to Archery Boys: there is nothing in this manga that would scare you, and practicing archery doesn't cause homosexuality more than, well, anything else. So it's safe for you to read this manga, and I encourage you to do so. Your good taste and open-mindedness will impress the people around you (and moi!). I also encourage you to always be gentlemen, always practice safe sex, if you have sex, and to remember that no really does mean no. Thank you for your attention.

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