Title: How to Capture a Martini
Author: Makoto Tatemo
Publisher: Doki Doki
May Contain Spoilers
He was my lover in high school, my upperclassman – beautiful, malicious Shinobu. He was also the one who took away everything, whether it was my first kiss, or my first time! Then, after the graduation ceremony, he completely disappeared. Four years have passed since then, and right when I thought I’d already forgotten all memories about him, he suddenly appears in front of my eyes, more beautiful and charming than ever… Now, even though he’s willing to open his body for everyone, the only thing he gives me is his cruel words. But no matter what, I still want to be by his side!
Poor Naoyuki! He was dumped when he was in high school, and he still hasn’t recovered, four years later. Even now that he has a cute girl friend and is in college, his heart still belongs to his high school sweetheart. A chance encounter with Shinobu gives new life to Naoyuki’s conflicted feelings. Naoyuki’s heart still belongs to Shinobu, and as he revisits his overpowering feelings of betrayal and confusion, he can’t help but be tormented by the same question he asked himself four years ago; why did Shinobu abandon him so abruptly, without even a word of goodbye?
How to Capture a Martini is packed with intense emotions, as Naoyuki tries to make sense of Shinobu and the distance that he’s put between them. Didn’t their relationship mean anything to him? Naoyuki is pushed into a spiral of despair as Shinobu flaunts one lover after another in front of him, coldly brushing Naoyuki away and demanding that he mind his own business. Tensions escalate between the two men until they reach the breaking point. Neither is immune to the traitorous yearning of their heart, even when they firmly tell themselves that they are finished with the other. There is an invisible bond between them, and they just can’t seem to break it, no matter how hurtful they act towards each other.
Fans of Makoto Tateno won’t be disappointed with the story and the complicated relationship that threatens to consume both Shinobu and Naoyuki. Shinobu is so focused on driving Naoyuki away that he engages in unwise and dangerous behavior designed solely to hurt Naoyuki. There is so much angsty melodrama, punctuated by emotional outbursts and self-recriminations, that it’s hard to put the book down. It draws you in as the two men and their conflict deepens and intensifies. You want them to find some common ground, but as Shinobu lashes out again and again at Naoyuki, you wonder if it wouldn’t be best for them to just give up and go their separate ways.
I thought the final resolution was a little too easily won, especially considering Shinobu’s previous behavior, but overall, I enjoyed the topsy-turvy romance because it was so intense. Makoto Tateno’s illustrations skillfully capture each longing glance and look of wounded pride. The character designs are soft and fluid, with lean, attractive men spilling off of every page. The eye-candy fires on all four cylinders here, giving the reader a visual treat. The Doki Doki gang does another great job bundling up this title. Not only is How to Capture a Martini an emotionally charged read, it will also look good on your bookshelf.
Review copy provided by publisher