Sunday, December 23, 2012

Manga Review: Awkward Silence, Volume 1, by Hinako Takanaga

Rating (Out of 5): ~4 (maybe 3.5, but I feel it deserves more)
Publisher: SuBLime (imprint of VIZ Media)
Spoilers?: ~Minor
Volumes: 4+

Goodreads Synopsis:

Reads R to L (Japanese Style) for mature audiences. Satoru is an introvert with a longtime crush on Keigo, a popular boy on the baseball team. But much to his surprise, Keigo comes up to him and asks him out! Satoru is so overcome he can’t respond. Will Satoru be able to get past his shyness, or will he lose his chance with the boy he loves?

Available on Amazon.


I was really surprised by this book, particularly by how much I liked it.
Now, I don’t read very much yaoi. It’s not that I don’t like it, I just don’t really care one way or another, and I don’t usually go looking for it. I mean, the smut is usually pretty good, but sometimes the art isn’t all that good (it always seems so broad shouldered and squared and overly manly, and I just don’t care for that), and, again, I just don’t go looking for it. But, and I know I am very biased, when I heard that VIZ was starting up their own yaoi line, I jumped on that wagon real fast. (Although I was a bit disappointed that so many went directly to digital and not print, given that I don’t have any kind of e-reader and I prefer reading print books than digital, although I understand why.)
And then none of my bookstores would get a single volume in. I was super disappointed, but finally one of them got some in, which is great. And I’d had my eye on this series for a while, if only because the title gave the hint of my type of characters, and I was so right. I’m so glad that I started with this volume, because it was so good. (Also, apparently Takanga is the author of The Tyrant Falls In Love, which I have never read, but have heard good things about...)
My favorite part of this book is the main character, Satoru. He’s awkward, and his expression never changes, no matter if he’s shocked or sad or excited, and he doesn’t know how to express his feelings. He feels awkward saying things aloud, but he doesn’t know how to show them, and he gets a bit frustrated by this. I love this kind of character, but they’re so hard to find, especially in the main role, so I was very excited to read about him.
And, really, Satoru is just adorable. I think Takanaga did a really good job, in a clever way, of showing the reader what he’s actually feeling. Because we get to read his inner thoughts, along with seeing little chibi floating heads next to the inner dialog with the expression and comments of what is happening inside him, even though he’s having a hard time showing it outside. And, I mean, it’s just so adorable; I cannot get enough of it.
The romance was actually pretty sweet, as well. I like Keigo, his love interest; he’s sweet and very insecure about their relationship, but given that he never knows what Satoru is feeling, it’s understandable. They’re a bit of an odd match, but they’re cute together, and they have some very nice sexy times. Granted, I think the sexy times came a bit fast, but that’s usually how it works with yaoi.
Some of the drama that happens seems a bit needless, but I’m okay with it, just because it was sweet and cute, and hopefully will cause them to grow as people and a couple. Throughout the book, they have several little spats, the first one because Satoru doesn’t know how to show Keigo that he really is happy and wants to be with him, and hiding it when he loses something Keigo gave him. That first chapter was probably my favorite, really, with the way that Satoru was so overwhelmingly worried and upset that he threw himself at Keigo, and how he later showed him the sketchbook (among many) that were filled with drawings of Keigo, not to mention that the beginning confession was cute as well.
There are two other plot lines that cause problems, one with a girl and one where Keigo rivals with a childhood friend of Keigo (who I'm sure we'll see again), that are mostly problems because Keigo and Satoru don’t know how to communicate. I’m hoping that they work through that in the coming books, and that the story stays new and exciting, and doesn’t get repetitive.
Mainly, I just really enjoyed this volume, and am definitely planning to pick up the next book, as well as a couple other books by SuBLime, when I get the chance.

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