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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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06/29/2008 Archived Entry: "Josei Review: Real Love"

Real Love
Story and Art: Mitsuki Oda
Published by Luv Luv Press
ISBN-10: 1934496146
ISBN-13: 978-1934496145

Review by Kris

Real Love by Mitsuki Oda is a release from Luv Luv Press. Luv Luv specializes in josei manga, erotic manga featuring heterosexual couples that is aimed at women. Real Love features three stories that focus on two separate couples.

The title story "Real Love" and the stories "Baby" and Love Star" are an interesting mix.

Shun and Shu are fraternal twins who are unlucky in love. Shu can't seem to keep a boyfriend and Shun has had a girlfriend for over a year but doesn't seem to think that he really has a girlfriend. After classes one day she gets dumped by her boyfriend and then runs into an ex that is spouting some cheesy lovey-dovey lines to some girl. Sucks to be Shu! The next day her ex, Naomichi, approaches Shu to let her know that he was filming a scene for the film club. He seems to be harboring some feelings for Shu. When Shun hears that Naomichi has reappeared he gets his undies in a knot and lets her know that Naomichi will break her heart again and that he, Shun, will always be there for her. It turns out that Naomichi was a fairly well known actor by the name of Sunao Sata. He stuck up for Shu and Shun in high school once and she fell in love. Naomichi was also the first guy she slept with. But like many egocentric men out there Naomichi had a problem with cheating. Shu fell in love with Naomichi, not Sunao Sata. It looks like Shu still has feelings for Naomichi as well, but doesn't know how to approach the subject with her brother. Do they, Shu and Naomichi, get together? Why is Shun always so angry and nasty, especially towards his girlfriend Miki?

The second and third stories, "Baby", and "Love Star," tell the tale of Hikari. She wants to be a rock star. She writes her own music and performs on the streets for spare cash. One evening some strange guy asks if he can perform with her. She reluctantly agrees and it turns out that this guy is really pretty good. The next morning she wakes up, with the strange man in her bed. Of course she freaks and he tells her that they went out drinking with the money they made performing. While Hikari is in the bathroom, the guy comes across some lyrics. They get ready to leave and he finally introduces himself. Kin, the stranger, tells Hikari that she needs more love in her songs and then leaves. Hikari has bad luck with guys and figures that Kin in no different. Will Hikari fall for Kin? And who is this Kin guy anyway?

Real Love by Oda-sensei was one of my first josei titles. I'm so used to reading yaoi and boys love titles that the hetero nature of the sex caught me off guard. I know that probably sounds strange, especially since I'm straight myself. "Real Love" could have used a little more substance to the story instead of the reliance on sex. "Baby" and "Love Star" were much better and I enjoyed them immensely. There was a little more substance in character and story. The art was very cute and unique. At the very end, there is a section of four panel comics written by Oda-sensei on how she found inspiration for this book from her real life experiences. Luv Luv did a good job. No frills, just manga. Luv Luv is related to Deux Press and Aurora Publishing. Do I recommend this tome? Hmmm... If you don't have a problem with seeing naked breasts and hetero sex, but not nasty looking stuff that is written for men, check it out.

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