Monday, January 4, 2010

Manga Review: Love Hurts

Love Hurts is a recent release from Tokyopop that comes from the mind of manga-ka Suzuki Tanaka. If you've never heard of this one before, don't worry. Love Hurts is a rather obscure yaoi title that was originally released in Japan in 2004. The book is a collection of four short stories focusing on young boys in interesting situations and often painful relationships. After all as Nazareth sang about, "Love Hurts".

The first of the stories here deals with a couple where one of the guys, Sumi-san, spends his days playing video games and not doing much else. He's an addict and it's a habit that's putting a strain on the relationship with his boyfriend, Koji. Well, one thing leads to another and there's a panel that shows another guy knocking at their door looking for money that Sumi-san owes him. It's a decent amount of money and Koharu just isn't taking no for an answer despite the fact that there's no answer when he pounds on the door.

Koji reluctantly answers and is quite the sight once he's brought into focus. He's covered in blood and Sumi-san's body is lying bloodied on the floor. Putting two and two together Koharu naturally looks at Koji as the perpetrator, but in all fairness he takes things way too casual. I mean, if you were to talk into an apartment and saw a dead body on the floor you'd naturally freak out, call the cops, or do something dramatic. Well, it's not handled that way at all here, and the conversation gets even weirder when a stranger happens by and forces his way into the apartment to see what's going on.

The second story features a student living with his teacher, whom he happens to have a crush on. The situation is kind of awkward because only he feels that way. Making matters worse is the fact that they fight all the time and things get downright physically abusive. One might say that signifies they have strong feelings for each other, though I would argue that. Whatever the case, the teacher's hot temper causes him to beat up someone else and the situation goes from bad to worse when one of his female students pours salt in the wound.

Moving on, the third tale is about some people from a village with super-powered guys. There's some superhero mischief here, and some crime fighting, but mixed in is a story about two people who fall in love. The last short story here is about a girl who can hear alien voices, and the guy who adores her despite her peculiarity. This final bit doesn't exactly keep up with the yaoi theme, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, is it?

Tanaka has imbued Love Hurts with a lot of personality and packed in plenty of detailed artwork. Because of her efforts this is a decent little collection of stories that will please fans of the yaoi genre. It's not outstanding in any way really, but it's good enough for a recommendation if you're interested in the genre. Admittedly it's really not my cup of tea, but there was plenty to appreciate here and I look forward to other works by Tanaka in the future.

Maki Rating:

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