Manga-ka: Keiko Kinoshita
Rating: Teen (16+)
Released: March 2006
Synopsis: “Haru Akaishi’s father has just died, leaving him an orphan at age 17. His father was in a lot of debt and took out some shady loans, and just when the Yakuza-esque creditors come to collect, a mysterious lawyer named Yuuji Senoh appears and says he’ll deal with the matter personally. As it turns out, Mr. Senoh was someone Haru befriended many years ago as his mother ailed in the hospital, but Haru has forgotten about him. When the bank takes back the mortgage on his house, Haru takes Mr. Senoh up on his offer to live at his apartment.”
You & Harujion begins in the wake of Haru’s father’s death. When debt collectors show up at his father’s funeral demanding payment for his dues, they are chased off by You, a lawyer who claims to be friends with Haru. What develops through the book from here on out is Haru finding in You someone he can trust and love while You wishes to repay the young boy with the courage he gave him so many years ago.
The story here is a simple and straight forward one so there’s no difficulty in following what’s going on. It’s slow paced but heart-warming at times and is what gives this release its worth. The characters aren’t especially memorable in anyway but they serve their purpose. Another thing worth noting is that though classified as yaoi, there may not enough romance here to appease fans. The relationship stays fairly platonic the entire way through, not even a simple kiss between them. The exception to this comes in the form of the bonus chapter tacked on the end where the two share a kiss and further relations are implied for when Haru is of age (he’s currently only seventeen in the story).
The art, unfortunately, does little for You & Harujion. Keiko Kinoshita’s artwork is sketchy and sparse and often feels rather flat. It never seems like character’s facial expressions change very much often causing their personalities to feel as flat as the artwork looks. There’s also some blatant difficulties the artist has drawing certain things such as implying movement or hands so at the times the pages just seem to lack a feeling of professionalism. While the style does add a certain somber feel that readers may find suit the story, it’s overall not a very eye-catching book art-wise.
On the other hand, DMP did a very nice job with the presentation of this book. The artwork on the cover is very attractive with soft watercolours printed on nice matte paper, making for a pleasant combination along with the title font. Inside the book, the art is printed on bright, nice quality paper which suits the pages as they contain a lot of white in most instances. The translation is easy to understand though at times the grammar makes sentences feel a little choppy when taking the time to read everything.
Overall, You & Harujion is a nice book for a one time read but the story lacks anything substantial and the artwork is nothing that can make up for it. It also may disappoint yaoi fans who are looking for a little more romance because Keiko Kinoshita just doesn’t offer much of it here.