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N.G!


Cover ImageAuthor: Koide Mieko
Publisher: Wings
Series Length: One-shot
First printing: September 2001

Five-second plot: Not a boxing manga. And yes, I was seriously concerned that this might have been a boxing manga.


Summary: A book of short stories that ran in "South" magazine; they don't really have much in common other than being completely believable slices of real life (Koide-sensei leaves her affinity for the supernatural out of this one entirely). They're all stories about love, but not necessarily love stories. ... okay, my description stinks. Just buy it, it's really good.


Makoto's Notes: Koide-sensei may be my favorite mangaka, but the cover of this book completely threw me. Thankfully, the inside is absolutely wonderful, some of her best character vignettes ever. She muses in her atogaki that she was nervous about writing Boy's Love for South, and that the stories ended up more friendship-based because of it. Whether the stories are platonic or not is up to interpretation, but there's a lot more here worth dissecting than just love versus friendship.

First up is a mistaken-identity piece starring good-natured Osakabe and too-pretty Rin-chan. Osakabe falls for Rin at first sight, assuming Rin is a girl. Actually, Rin just dresses in drag when he goes out to get free drinks and no cover charges. Then things get really messy when Rin's nervous twin sister enters the picture. Rin has a great time on dates with Osakabe, but he can't keep the charade up forever...

Story 2 follows high-schooler Hayato and his young stepfather Masayuki. Hayato's mother walks out on them, leaving a note, money, and a lot of unanswered questions. The two have a lot of issues to resolve, if only those pesky girls would leave Ma-kun alone long enough for them to talk things through! In the next story, popular Ryou's schoolbag is stolen, with his cell phone and wallet inside. When odd and quiet Oumi-kun shows up with Ryou's phone strap in his bag, Ryou has some pretty harsh things to say about it. But maybe they have more in common than Ryou thinks...?

Rounding out the book are a story about an effeminate boy who dresses like a girl and gets harassed at school for it, and the only "standard" BL story of the tankouban, with a sweet pair of childhood friends spending a birthday together. Man, the evil jealous kogals creep me out~!

I found all these stories an easy read, even with minimal furigana. If you can't read Japanese at all, I'd shy away from this book, since it's definitely more dialogue than action. Otherwise, give it a run; Oumi-kun's last line is priceless.


Warnings and Suggestions: Not much offensive here. Story 5 has a little boy-boy kissing and implied sex. Otherwise, it's squeaky-clean and full of sweetness. High-schoolers can learn some important lessons about tolerance and treating each other with respect! Mm, mm!


ISBN 4-403-61642-9