Manga-ka: Kaname Itsuki
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: May 2006
Synopsis: “One evening, a boy named “Air” suddenly appears at Mizuki’s window, forcibly transporting him to Neverland. Having grown up most of his life without his own father, Mizuki wants nothing to do with being a surrogate father to Air and the other children, but unfortunately stuck without a way out of Neverland, he has little choice but to stay. As he spends time with Air, however, Mizuki is gradually charmed by his boyish innocence.”
Lost Boys is a boys’ love take on the story of Peter Pan. Replacing Peter is a spirited boy named Air who leaves Neverland in search of a Father. He finds Mizuki, a rather cynical young man who wants nothing to do with thoughts of flight and fairies, and certainly not Fathers, but Air none-the-less whisks him away.
The beginning of this story always leaves me less than impressed, even now that I’ve reread it so many times. Mizuki’s reaction to Air’s appearance lacked much in the way of reasonability, and his cynicism felt too forced at first (before it eventually balances out with threads of back story throughout the book). The opening to the story is quick and to the point, which makes it a little rushed as Kaname Itsuki’s eagerness to get the characters to Neverland is evident.
Past a bumpy beginning however, Lost Boys suddenly becomes a much more enjoyable read. New characters are briefly introduced, such as the trio of Lost Boys who tend to their home in Neverland and the beautiful, Reux, a temperamental fairy who cares deeply for Air as one who raised him. Mizuki’s character grew on me and Air is well written as a sweet, but mischievous (and often surprising), young boy who’s accustomed to doing as he pleases. The pirates of Neverland are briefly introduced, but more as side-distractions, and don’t have much engagement with the other characters. The revelation of the reasoning behind the Captain’s obsession over Air was pretty funny, and not what one may immediately think, considering the context of the book.
The relationship between Air and Mizuki remains the sole focus of the book for the majority of it, but it only borderlines a relationship: a few kisses, but mostly the two go through stages of fondness and fluff. No complaints though, anything else would’ve been too much for a story like this and the book’s innocence is one of its strongest features.
Kaname Itsuki has never been one of my favourite artists, based on other works of hers, but here in Lost Boys, her art is absolutely charming. I fell completely in love with some of the character designs, including the gorgeous Tinker-Bell-replacement, Reux, the young and attractive pirate Captain, and the male Indian who seeks to make him his wife. It’s a shame these characters, both in story and art, don’t get as much page-time as the leads! The style itself is thin and wispy, suiting the story’s whimsical intent. While the occasional panel suffered from some minor inconsistent quality, overall it’s an attractive look with lots of pretty pictures to enjoy with nice anatomical posing and lively expressions.
Overall, my biggest (and one of few) complaint about this book is that there isn’t more of it. While the growing relationship between Air and Mizuki was cute, I really would’ve loved to see more of the secondary characters. One book simply wasn’t enough for giving all the characters their spotlight. The artist jests in the commentary about a book about the pirate characters but wonder if she knows how much readers would love to read one! But as it stands, Lost Boys is a sweet story that, despite a weak beginning, manages to be a fun, magical and heart-warming tale all on its own.