Manga-ka: Fumi Yoshinaga
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: Feburary 2007
Synopsis: “As a newly appointed high school instructor, Ida has yet to gain confidence in his teaching. His lack of assurance is made worse when Ida feels someone’s eyes on him during class – a fierce-looking student, Koichi Kobayashi’s. Is it discontent that makes Kobayashi stare, or could it be something else?”
The Moon and the Sandals follows the relationship trials and successes of a group of men as they learn about themselves and others in these sweet, coming-of-love stories. It puts a down-to-earth spin on the teacher-student love story and gives readers an honest feeling look at these characters’ love lives.
The story begins with Koichi Kobayashi, a high school student who’s head over heels for his history teacher, Mr. Ida: his new teacher speech, his cute face, all of it. Mr. Ida, however, is beginning to get unnerved by the constant stares! When Kobayashi decides its time to confess his feelings, he ends up seeing Mr. Ida with his boyfriend. Heart-broken, Kobayashi tries to move on, while also dealing with the unreturned affections of a fellow classmate and her egotistical brother. As a nice twist, and added bulk to the story, readers are also treated to Mr. Ida and his boyfriend, and the struggles they as an older gay couple face.
The different angles readers are presented with in this book are what help to make it so entertaining to read. Instead of seeing things from only one, often-biased, angle, situations are presented from the perspectives of the different parties involved. The characters are also charming and amusing on their own, from the character Toyo Narumi and his egotistical rants to Mr. Ida’s boyfriend, who has little page time but still manages to feel more fleshed out than some main characters in other mangas. The pages are full of lively character interaction and emotions to tug at the heartstrings. It makes the normal captivating by presenting things simply and honestly.
Known for her strong character drama, Fumi Yoshinaga is in fine form here, even in one of her older books, but the feel of the story lacks the same finesse of some of her newer releases. Some scene transitions feel a little forced and in some places the artwork doesn’t feel as sharp as readers may be accustomed to. Overall however, the attributes fans have come to love can be found in one form or another here, from the sweetly mundane to the power of a wordless panel.
In the end, the back of the book describes this series well so far: “Sometimes plain, sometimes witty, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet…” While The Moon and the Sandals isn’t the best example available of Fumi Yoshinaga’s storytelling skill, it’s still a charming book that’ll leave readers light hearted and waiting for volume two.