June by Digital Manga Publishing Has New Titles for the Summer!

For Immediate Release -> New Yaoi Titles Hit Shelves this Summer!

Gardena, CA, February 2, 2007 – Juné by Digital Manga Publishing, one of the industry’s most innovative manga licensing and publishing companies, has announced two new yaoi titles for summer.

“We are really excited to have another Fumi Yoshinaga title in our line-up” explains Eric Rosenberger, Sales and Distribution Manager. “Antique Bakery made the American Library Association’s 2007 Great Graphic Novels for Teens List and we hope to see more DMP and Juné titles make the cut in the future,” adds Erica Jeng General Manager of Digital Manga, Inc.

Don’t Say Anymore Darling

Written and illustrated by: Fumi Yoshinaga

Rated 18+; MSRP: $12.95 – July 25, 2007

Kouhei is a doctor at the local university hospital who has lost touch with his high school friend Tadashi. While Kouhei grew up to become a successful young doctor, Tadashi became a jobless, poor-as-dirt, flaming gay writer. But one lonely night, at his wits end, Tadashi sends Kouhei a text message and receives a reply. Of course Tadashi has secretly harbored feelings for Kouhei for a long time. But when he finds out Kouhei is getting set-up for an arranged marriage…

Not Enough Time

Written and illustrated by: Shoko Hidaka

Rated 16+; MSRP: $12.95 – July 25, 2007

Shoko Hidaka’s breakthrough comic is a collection of eye-opening love stories. Yousuke suddenly shows up on the door step of his old high school buddy Tanigawa after years of no contact. While the two had a budding relationship back in school, things fell apart and they decided to part ways and search for their true love. However, it might be that their relationship in the golden days of high school was what they have been looking for all along.

For more information, visit www.junemanga.com.

Lovely Sick #1 by Shoko Ohmine Manga Review

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Title:  Lovely Sick #1

Author:  Shoko Ohmine

Publisher:  DramaQueen

ISBN: 1933809000

May Contain Spoilers

Naoyuki, the victim of a crippling accident, is the ward of Dr Ryouichi Sumi.  During the five years that he’s been Naoyuki’s guardian, Sumi has made the boy completely dependent on him.  Sumi’s lover as well as his patient, Naoyuki struggles for freedom.  He doesn’t want to be a burden to Sumi, but the doctor is taking his duty as physician, and 24/7 care, seriously. 

I didn’t care for this one too much.  The narrative was a little confusing with the switches between Naoyuki and Sumi’s viewpoint.  There wasn’t a lot of chemistry between them, and they were both inaccessible to the reader. At first, Naoyuki was portrayed as a demanding, ungrateful brat, but his attitude abruptly, and without much explanation, changed midway through the book.  Ryouichi was a control freak, and he manipulated Naoyuki into relying solely on him.  It seemed like they spent way too much time arguing about whether or not Sumi had the time to pick Naoyuki up from school.  Sumi’s meddling friend Kuma didn’t really have much purpose in the book other than to complain about how needy Naoyuki was, and to chastise Sumi for letting the boy be so clingy

I did like the art.  The character designs were very attractive, and the author’s clean, uncluttered panels kept the pages turning.  Too bad the story bogged it down.  The book is nicely put together, with DramaQueen’s usual high production values. I wish all of the publishers’ books liked this good.

Grade:  C

Rated for 18+

Kissing by Teiko Sasaki & Shoko Takaku Manga Review

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Title:  Kissing

Author:  Teiko Sasaki

Illustrator:  Shoko Takaku

Publisher:  June

ISBN:  156970922x

May Contain Spoilers

Kazushi and Haru have been friends since grade school.  Now college students approaching graduation, Kazushi confesses his love for Haru and claims a kiss.  Taken aback, Haru begins to avoid his friend as he attempts to sort through his confused feelings.  They’re both guys, so he can’t possibly return Kazushi’s feelings.  Or can he?

This was a sweet, well-paced romance.  Haru and Kazushi are such close friends that they act like a couple, sharing food from each other’s plates and offering emotional support for all of life’s ups and downs.  When Kazushi tells Haru that he’s in love with him, Haru feels like he’s been in a car wreck.  Confused and embarrassed after sharing a kiss with Kazushi, he begins to avoid his friend and spaces out during his classes.  He now feels awkward with Kazushi, and can’t even look him in the eye.  Will this be the end of their friendship?

Kazushi was so cute!!  He’s the perfect guy, and it figures he only exists in a comic book!  He’s hard working, thoughtful, and concerned for his family and friends.  He even remembers Haru’s birthday every year!  So what if it’s only 3 days apart from his?  Haru, what is wrong with you?  Get over yourself and grab this guy!

To add a bit a angst to the tale, Haru has to reject his friend and whine about why they can’t just be friends.  Still, he becomes flustered every time he sees Kazushi, and his heart beats faster with his confusion.  When he learns the real reason Kazushi has all those jobs, he is ashamed and embarrassed for taking his friend for granted.  Why didn’t Kazushi ever confide in him, and let him share some of his burden?

As graduation approaches, they both begin to make plans for the future.  I liked this aspect of the story.  As they suffer through job interviews and conferences with college advisors, they both struggle with the realization that their time together might be coming to an end. 

The art is simple and graceful, with special emphasis given to facial expressions.  Kazushi is self-assured and just plain hot, while Haru is prone to flashes of embarrassment and painful self-reflection.  Like the plot, the illustrations flow pleasantly by, never making  too many demands on the reader. 

This was a cute read, with likeable characters.  I even enjoyed the side story, which proceeded the events in the Kissing, and showed how clueless Haru can be.  Poor Minota. I don’t think he got any respect in the entire book.

Grade:  B

Rated for Young Adults 16+

White Guardian by Duo Brand Manga Review


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Title:  White Guardian

Author:  Duo Brand (Haruka Akatsuki & Nobuyoshi Watanabe)

Publisher: DramaQueen

ISBN:  1933809243

May Contain Spoilers

Linth, the prince of Landa, is returning home from years of studying aboard  He is determined to return his county to its glorious days of the past.  Ruled by an indifferent king, Linth finds the court filled with corrupt officials concerned only with their own well-being.  As he slowly gathers loyal followers to his cause, he uncovers a plot to overthrow his father.  Will he be able to discover the identity of the traitor before it’s too late?

It’s a wonder that our prince can get anything accomplished considering how much time he spends in amorous pursuits.  Disguising himself as a common soldier, he is saved by General Sei during a crushing defeat at sea.  Arriving at the General’s private quarters to thank him for saving his life, he soon finds himself ravished by the lecherous commander.  Seeing the sparkle of patriotism shining in his eyes, Linth quickly forgives his intrusion, and even names him General of the imperial guard.

Back at the castle, Linth meets Baron Touri, Sei’s former lover.  Burning with jealously, Touri waits until our simple minded prince is alone, and accosts him in revenge for him stealing the General’s affections.  This cruel act is also quickly forgiven; the baron’s concern for the kingdom prompts the prince to recruit the rapacious Touri into his ranks.  Huh?  You foolish prince!  Both of the men you trust the most have so little regard for you that they both overpowered and violated you!  No wonder the kingdom is going to hell in a hand basket!

Both Linth and, sadly, Sei are rather wimpy when confronted with Touri.  Sei seemed commanding and forceful, until he turned into a stammering idiot whenever Touri was near. 

I thought the art was much better than the story.  There’s just something about a man in uniform, brandishing a sword, that gets my blood racing.  Too bad the characters spent so much time undressed!  I found the story much more interesting when the plot revolved around court intrigues, rather than who was defiling the prince’s royal personage.

DramaQueen did impress me with the quality of this book.  The dust jacket is lovely, with illustrations of Linth on the interior folds.  There’s a color page of Linth and Sei, and under the dust jacket, the cover has a humorous comic strip with Sei.  While I was disappointed with the contents, DQ gets a thumbs up for another nicely packaged release.

Grade:  C

Rated for Mature Readers 18+

But, I’m Your Teacher by Row Takakura Manga Review

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Title:  …but, I’m Your Teacher

Author:  Row Takakura

Publisher:  Kitty Media

ISBN:  1586558056

May Contain Spoilers

but, I’m Your Teacher is a yaoi anthology.  There are two chapters featuring shy substitute teacher Yahiro and his sexy student, Koga.  Yahiro initially attempts to resist Koga’s charms, but he is soon head over heels for his student.  He agonizes over their relationship, knowing that it’s wrong, but unable to break it off with the younger man. 

Overall, the book was entertaining, with stories that featured likable characters.  I enjoyed Honey Happy Baby, about Tomoya, who gets stuck babysitting his niece while his sister is out of town.  He and his new boyfriend, Tsukasa,  are soon caught up taking care of the baby.  I enjoyed this one because their relationship deepened during their childcare adventures.

Bloom was about Nozomu and his new step-brother, Sudou.  Handsome Sudou is the most admired guy in school, and he thinks Nozomu is adorable.  As the two get to know each other, their friendship begins to deepen into love.  It was a light-hearted, fluffy story.

I wish the last chapter had not been included in the book.  The View Through the Lens was about a sex offender who now gets his jollies photographing young men.  Ick, ick, ick! 

Grade:  C+

Rated for 18+

Time Lag by Gothoh & Odagiri Manga Review

Title: Time Lag

Author:  Shinobu Gothoh & Hotaru Odagiri

Publisher:  June

ISBN:  1569709211

May Contain Spoilers

Satoru Tendou  loves Shirou, and every year for the last two years, he has confessed his hopeless love to him right before school break.  Shirou coldly rebuffed him each time, and Satoru is bewildered by how cruelly Shirou now treats him.  At one time they were best friends, until Satoru, confused by his feelings, put some distance between them.  When a letter arrives from Shirou that was mailed 3 years before, Satoru suddenly understands how Shirou feels. Is it too late to mend their friendship?

This was a sweet, angsty read.  Satoru’s confusion about how he feels for Shirou causes a chasm between them, and when he finally musters the courage to confess his love for his childhood friend, Shirou accuses him of playing a cruel joke on him.  Since his best friend has abandoned him, something that happened, Satoru admits, because of himself, he can only sigh longingly after him. 

Shirou is a track star at their high school, and Satoru follows him with his camera, putting his heart into snapping pictures of the athlete for the school paper.  Lovingly framing each shot, it’s obvious to everyone that Satoru harbors feelings for Shirou.

Into the scene walks handsome Seiichi, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper.  Seiichi chastises Satoru for still carrying a flame for the frosty Shirou.  To further complicate Satoru’s life, he has a confession of his own – he’s in love with Satoru!

At first I wanted to slap Satoru for still having feelings for the awful Shirou, but after belated letter arrives, the reason for his hard words and uncaring attitude is revealed.  Satoru agonizes through the entire book, first because he believes that Seiichi and Shirou are attracted to each other, and then because he finally understands Shirou’s reaction, but he doesn’t know how to approach his former friend. 

I liked the art in the book.  The characters were all very attractive (of course), and despite the occasional emotional muddle, the story is visually  easy to follow.  There are lots of close-ups of our characters, burning with embarrassment or dazed with confusion.

In terms of hot boy on boy action, there is none.  Our couple does little more than share a tender kiss.  If you’re hoping for a little skin to be revealed, you’re doomed to disappointment.  If you are in the mood for a sweet romance, this might fit the bill.

Grade: B 

Rated for 16+

Because I’m a Boy! by Asia Watanabe Manga Review

Title:  Because I’m a Boy

Author:  Asia Watanabe

Publisher:  Kitty Media

ISBN:  159883021x

(Probably doesn’t)  Contain Spoilers (because that implies a plot!)

I purchased this book because the title sounded cute, and the back blurb made me believe it was about a Shinto priest in training and his childhood friend.  Imagine my dismay when I discovered that the story consisted of only 16 pages!  This was supposed to be the beginning of a “captivating story of romance and sexuality in full bloom.”  Nothing was allowed to bud in this stinky book, let alone bloom! 

There are eight stories in this collection of crap, and most of them are distinctly lacking in anything that resembles a plot.  Hot and steamy sex without the benefit of a plot is boring, especially if the characters are as crudely drawn as these.  I’ll have nightmares for days over the illustration on page 144, where the character reminds me of a praying mantis lying in wait for some unsuspecting bug to wander within striking distance.  If I had the energy, I would scan it and insert the image [here], but then it would befoul my hard drive and haunt me for the rest of my days.

Unless you are stuck on an uncharted island, or stranded on a remote mountain top with nothing else to read, avoid this waste of time. 

Grade: D

Rated for 18+