Sunday, April 8, 2012

Manga Review: Pretty Poison by Yutta Narukami

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Aurora (Luv Luv)
Volumes: 1 (One-shot)

Amazon Synopsis:

He's dangerous, beautiful & addictive... She Can't get enough!

Riyako's dreams of a happy marriage are shattered when her "true love" cheats on her. Heartbroken, she finds herself seduced by the beautiful young Shogo, ending in a night of heated, passionate sex. However, what seemed like an accidental meeting turns out to be much more, as Shogo and her ex-lover are somehow connected! In her vulnerable state, Riyako can't help herself from becoming more and more addicted to the seductive, poisonous bad boy Shogo. He knows just the right buttons to push to get what he wants, and what he wants is more hot sex with Riyako. A suspenseful and lust-filled love affair ensues.


I'm always looking for volumes from out-of-print companies, and that's especially for ones from Aurora and LuvLuv. Mostly because they tend to be smutty josei manga, and I love those. Or, I want to love them. I want to find a really good josei manga, and I would love it even more to have good smut, and I just can't. Usually the story is weak, or the characters are weak, or the art is weak; or maybe even all of them. And it just isn't what I want. And so I am disappointed. And this one wasn't all that much different. Which, honestly, sucks.
So, the first three chapter of this manga are all on the same persons story, Riyako. She's with this guys, who she believes loves her and agrees to move in together with her, while is obviously cheating on her, and he goes out and gets one of his 'friends' to make a move on her and 'console' her when she sees him with another girl. They guy, Shogo, ends up crashing with her for a few nights, even though she acts like she doesn't want his there. And then she gets all upset when she finds out it was all a set up. By the end, though, she's taking care of him again after finding out about his parents and telling off her old boyfriend.
Most of this was a bit annoying. I mean, obviously her old boyfriend was a bit shady, and then Shogo, who she ends up with, isn't very good at consoling her, and instead makes a move on her, pretending to have fallen in love with her as soon as he saw her (which is so obviously a line). He does several things within the story that bothered me, like pushing her into sex and just pushing her in general, which I didn't like. He wasn't particularly nice to her, and so I didn't feel that it made sense for them to believe they were in love so suddenly, when there weren't very many reasons for them to have fallen in love.
Also, I believe he stated, maybe once in the whole thing, that he loved the first guy and was gay, maybe bi? At first I thought he was joking, but he sounded pretty serious. Maybe he was, though, since it was never mentioned again, and didn't seem to be much of a problem? That bothered me a bit, but whatever, I guess?
That story gets a few points for the ending, though, since they decided to give themselves some room to grow, and they end up back together a while after the rest of the story. It wasn't done as well as it could have been, but it was still a good idea. Riyako gets a few points, too, because somewhere within the story, she ties him up because she doesn't trust him, which I haven't seen before and was happy with. That's not a whole lot of points for her, though, since she bought all the lines given to her and wasn't very strong for most of the story.
The last story, Yuji Scores, is about a girl who is in love with her soccer player boyfriend. He asks her to marry him, and she says yes, but later finds out that she isn't quite ready for it. I thought that they weren't quite right for each other, since they wanted very different things in life, and that something would happen with this other guy she knows, but nothing did. Instead, she breaks off the engagement, because she isn't ready for that (which she's not, since he wants a stay-at-home wife who can cook and will follow him around, but she's a bit useless at home and wants to work. Also, she's a bit materialistic, while he's not). In the end, though, they patch things up and she's trying to be more like what he wants.
At the end of the story, she states that someday she's 'going to make an honest man' out of him. I understand that that's supposed to mean they're going to marry someday, but I didn't think it really worked in their situation. Mostly because he's not not honest. He's pretty straight-forward with her, and doesn't cheat on her or anything. I just feel that she could have said something else, and it still could have had the same meaning, but that maybe went better with their situation.
So this one wasn't as good as I'd been hoping it would be. The artwork wasn't bad, but it definitely wasn't amazing. The characters weren't all that strong, nor was the story-line. Some of the smut was good, though, which is nice. On the other hand, though, some of that wasn't even all that good (like when Shogo pushed Riyako). I'm not very impressed, and so am disappointed by that, but mostly because (as I said above) I wanted to like it. I always do, but only few times do I actually like it. I'm still on the look for other Luv Luv and Aurora books, though, because I'm still hoping to find the one that does impress me.

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