Manga-ka: Makoto Tateno
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: November 2007
Synopsis: “The Konoe and Kazuki families have been fighting like cats and dogs for generations. Masaya Konoe and Yuma Kazuki attend the same elite high school and are known to all as arch rivals, but do they really hate eachother? Masaya still cherishes a childhood memory of a time when Yuma shared a ‘treasure’ with him. Now they share a secret attraction. Can they control their passion? Burning desire has a way of erupting into flames!”
Hate To Love You is the premiere yaoi manga of Makoto Tateno, best known for her popular boys’ love series, Yellow. The story is a self-proclaimed Romeo and Juliet type story staring Masaya and Kazuki, future heirs to their family’s respective companies and next in a long line of rivalries between the two groups. The two shared a secret childhood friendship that’s grown to be something very different, but is it love or hate?
The premise of the story is an interesting one on the grounds that the main characters’ love is supposedly doomed from the start. While this seems like a good premise for a story, it is never really gone into past the two constantly pointing it out. A bit of continuation delving into the discovery, and thus continued difficulties, of their relationship would’ve brought a lot of well-needed life to this otherwise dull story. While the lighthearted pacing and contrasting personalities offer a bit of entertainment, these attributes are overshadowed by the predictability and underdevelopment of the plot and its characters. At the very least, the unrelated bonus story at the end is a more intriguing tale of one who played with fire and got burned.
The art is consistent with Makoto Tateno’s other works. Thin lines and well placed screen tones bring this story’s wide-eyed uke and steely eyed seme to life. The pastel colour choices of the cover are attractive and suiting to the genre it represents.
The biggest downfall of this book would have to be Deux’s job of releasing it. The book is heavy and the binding incredibly stiff making this book a literal pain to read, a strain on your fingers and thumb to even keep the thing open. While the stiff paper makes for very clean black and white printing, it’s not nearly worth the trouble it creates. At the very least, the translating itself is well done with clean text and translated sound effects neatly placed next to the kanji. An interesting thing to note is the subtle placing of translations next to sub-text instead of replacing it all together like most other publishers.
Overall, the binding of this book is reason enough to take it off your shopping list and the story itself doesn’t offer much to counteract that major flaw. Though not a bad book in terms of writing and art quality, it still remains a stereotypical yaoi that does little to stand above the rest.
Written November 4, 2007 by Lissa Pattillo
Book provided by Deux Press for review purposes