Manga-ka: Aoi Kujyou
Rating: Mature (18+)
Synopsis: “Kazushi has longed for his childhood friend Izumi for years. And just when it looked like Kazushi had finally convinced him that they would make an excellent couple, Izumi up and disappears!?!? Watch the two lovers’ relationship evolve and mature, in this collection of works by Aoi Kujou.”
Love Share is the story of two men: the levelheaded and predominantly passive Kazushi, and the free-spirited and mysterious Izumi. Though all follow the same couple, the chapters in Love Share are more like a string of short stories that give us different glimpses of this passionate but unstable relationship.
The chapters in Love Share all have an odd airy feel to them, a sort of dream-like quality caused by the introspective nature in which they’re presented. Most of the chapters follow Kazushi as he watches and reflects on the actions of Izumi and how he feels about him. Most of the chapters are very short and try to end on a whimsical note, usually with Kazushi reaffirming his love for Izumi, while Izumi continuously remains an enigma both to Kazushi and the readers with his come-and-go attitude. The difficulty in pinning down Izumi’s true feelings and motivations due to his flighty attitude feels a bit annoying during the first read through, but by the end his mysterious nature is actually his strongest character trait, never being fully explained but ultimately accepted.
The second-to-last story of the book, which shows Kazushi and Izumi’s first meeting, is the most interesting of the book, with both the characters finally feeling like they have more graspable personalities that lay down the foundation for their attitudes later in life.
The artwork in Love Share feels a bit inconsistent throughout; sometimes appearing rather amateurish while other times feeling very solid and focused. The style changes in this way, chapter to chapter, probably showing the time spent by the artist between each one. It’s an appealing art style when it gets a hold of itself however, with masculine and attractive characters expressing a range of emotions amidst numerous spontaneous sex scenes. The image used for the cover is interesting, if a little misleading with the character’s postures, which don’t seem to fit the feel of the interior content. There’s also the matter of the vines cracking out of eggs, which, if meant to be a symbol for something, seems to be symbolism this reviewer isn’t completely able to grasp. The colours are also rather obnoxious, with a bright pinkish hue over everything. At the very least it’s a hard cover to miss.
There isn’t much to say about June’s work with this release. It’s the standard fare: glossy cover slip and nice translation. A couple pages near the middle of the book seem to suffer from low contrast, but it’s a small issue and doesn’t detract from the story.
In the end, Love Share definitely feels like a unique tale of boys’ love, but it might not necessarily be in the best of ways. The characters and story are interesting if given a chance, but readers may lose patience as the book fails to feel really grounded, even several chapters in. However as a reward for the patient, and readers who like things dramatic and emotional (not to mention spontaneously sexual) there is something worth checking out here.