Manga-ka: Yaya Sakuragi
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: August 2008
Synopsis: “Clumsy Takamaru and graceful Hasune have started dating, but are the challenges facing them nothing that can’t be settled over a hot cup of tea? First, Takamaru is focusing on baseball while Hasune is busy practicing the tea ceremony, giving them little time together – and their quickies in the Tea Ceremony Club room just aren’t cutting it! Then, a former upperclassman of Tokumaru’s arrives, and suddenly, the older man is all he seems to see or talk about…”
After some relatively successful lessons in tea and grace, Takamaru and Hasune have started dating. Things between them are going smoothly except for the fact that between baseball and the tea ceremony, they hardly seem to have anytime for one another. If time wasn’t obstacle enough, the future suddenly seems a daunting thing for these teenagers getting ready to graduate from high school, and an old friend from Takamaru’s past returns to put a little doubt in Takamaru’s lacking life-goals.
I found the addition of Goh-senpai, an old friend of Takamaru, to be a welcome addition to the story, because he avoided the stereotypical pratfall of old friends: he is not there as a blatant love interest for Takamaru. Goh had been travelling abroad and has taken a wife, as well as now having two children. He’s returned to Japan in order to further his education and to gain the skills he needs to support his new family. His dedication and goals act as a catalyst for some of Takamaru’s doubts about his future after high school, which coincides with Hasune having similar doubts about his predetermined path as next in line for the family business.
The balance between dealing with their relationship and their own personal lives is what I liked most about this book, keeping it from being too weighed down by its own genre like some boys’ love stories tend to be. They’re boys, they’re in love and they have lives outside of it, be it Hasune’s tea making or Takamaru’s love of playing baseball. Secondary characters such as Hasune’s friend and his lover, an erotic novel artist, return for some on-the-side entertainment and the two sisters of the leads get another short little mini-chapter together at the end (write a yuri with those two, Yaya Sakuragi! …please?).
All in all, another volume, and some more fun to be had reading it. I continue to really enjoy Takamaru’s lively attitude and Hasune’s newly-begun battle with self-doubt over his own future, which gave him a little more depth. Tea For Two is fairly standard as far as boys’ love stories go, but it’s one of the better in such a vast sea of titles so it’s certainly worth giving the first volume a try.
Review written September 4, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo.
Book purchased from vendor at FanExpo 2008