Spell by Hyouta Fujiyama Manga Review

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Title:  Spell

Author:  Hyouta Fujiyama

Publisher:  June

ISBN:  9781569708064

May Contain Spoilers

When college student Takamasa Natori is dragged to a mixer by his friend, Takeda, he never expected to fall in love.  He meets Junpei Kisugi, and the two immediately hit it off.  Abandoning the party, they head over to a bar for a few drinks.  As their friendship grows, Takamasa is surprised by his tumultuous feelings for Kisugi.  Has he finally fallen in love?

I liked this look at Takamasa and Kisugi’s friendship as it slowly blossomed into love.  Their road to romance wasn’t without its bumps, but the situations seemed natural and the resolutions to their problems were believable.  Takamasa, after meeting classmate Kisugi, is bewildered by his feelings for the other man.  When he learns that Kisugi is bi-sexual, he’s confused about their relationship.  After initially avoiding his new friend, he realizes that he’s being a fool, and comes to accept Kisugi for who he is.

As they continue to hang out together, Takamasa learns that Kisugi is dating an older man, and that throws him into utter confusion.  Why is he bothered so much that Kisugi is dating someone?  It’s not like he’s attracted to him, or wants to have that kind of a relationship with him.  Or does he?  It’s that kind of inner turmoil that made this book so compelling; Takamasa at first denies his feelings, and then, after he is forced to face that fact that he’s in love with Kisugi, he just can’t bring himself to share his feelings with him.  Instead, he drives himself nuts making excuses for not being direct with Kisugi.

Takamasa’s childhood friend, Yasuha, has secretly been in love with him for years.  When  she first learns of Kisugi, she’s bewildered why Takamasa would be spending so much time with him.  She’s hurt as their relationship suffers and a perplexing void begins to yawn between them.  After glimpsing Takamasa and Kisugi in an embrace, she’s mortified; how could this be?  She’s loved him forever and he’s too blind to see it.  Yasuha’s position isn’t helped by Takamasa’s family.  Whenever they can’t track him down, they turn to her and expect her to nag him into contacting them, and he starts to look at her as a bit of a harpy.  How sad to have your romantic aspirations sabotaged by your crush’s clueless family.

The art, while not stunning, was serviceable.  The character designs are a little clunky, and there’s not much attention given to background details.  The page layouts were interesting and kept the romance moving along.  The cover is cute, with Kisugi playfully sprawled over Takamasa’s shoulders, and this illustration prompted me to purchase the book.  The production values are high; the book has a removable dust jacket, the paper is a nice, sturdy stock, and the oversized volume fits nicely in my hands.   

Grade: B

Rated for Mature Readers

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