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Review: Treasure (Vol. 02)

Author/Artist: Studio Kawaii
Publisher: Yaoi Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: July 2007

“Alan longs for things to go back to the way they were between him and Patrick, but Patrick can’t forget that Alan had an affair with the former pirate captain. It doesn’t help that Alan has them on a mission to avenge Captain Begardoux’s death. That love that Alan still had for his lost captain is more than Patrick can bear. Especially when he gave up such a stellar naval career just to be with him.”

In this second, and final, volume of Treasure, the newly appointed pirate captain, Alan Falconer, continues his quest to recover the treasure stolen by the murderous pirate, Van Holstein. He’s convinced his lover to leave the navy and join his crew, but trouble brews when a man who looks like the ship’s previous Captain appears and Alan’s feelings are undoubtedly stirred.

Ah, young love, and what better way to bolster it than out on the open seas! Too bad for Alan and his lover, Patrick, have their happily-ever-after spoiled by a man who is conveniently a near-clone of the ship’s previous captain. Which is never really explained… There were some fun scenes in the book, including several starring the cabin boy (of questionable age) who constantly tries to latch himself onto Patrick. There wasn’t a whole lot of believability to Alan and Patrick’s emotional strife but they made for some classic boys’ love moments that were grounded in understandable issues such as jealously and mourning. Alan was definitely in an awkward position, one that was easily seen as a potential problem in volume one and I’m glad it was gone back to here (even if they did use a past-lover-clone to do it).

The biggest problem I had with this book though was the Saturday Day morning cartoon second half, *spoilers ahead* where the bad guy leaves with a stereotypical “…’til we meet again, boy!”, ninja-bomb runaway move and the cast decides to shrug it all off and drop this pirate business. It even had the pullout scene with everyone laughing! While I did kind of like the quirk of it being such a cookie-cutter ending for a children’s TV show, it just really didn’t work as an ending to a story of yaoi pirates.

Studio Kawaii’s art matches the amateur-istic style of the writing, but it’s this balance that actually worked in the story’s favour. Sure, it may not be super polished, but I enjoyed the fact that I’m reading something  drawn and written by a couple of young women with many of the same interests and similiar cultural influences as me, plus two whom I’ve seen art from online before they began working with Yaoi Press. There were the occasional panels that really stand out to me artistically while reading; images that I thought stood out from the rest in quality, like anatomy and detailing. The female pirate captain and Captain Begardoux stood out in particular. Those pictures really make me curious what a book would like look done with that much care in each page. The screen toning has good placement but I found it looked rather flat and I think it could’ve benefited from some variety in the types used, but it none the less did a lot to compliment the line work.

The book itself is a standard Yaoi Press release: a simple cover design and fairly crisp interior printing. I found the placement of the advertisements in the front seemed a little odd, and the design on the back of the book is rather hard on the eyes with the synopsis being so hard to read, but it’s an overall decent little package. No frills but all the basics with no glaring issues.

Overall, Treasure was a fairly entertaining read. While it may not be up to the scrupulous standards of boys’ love fans with a penchant for only things Japanese, it stands alone as a fun piece of pirate on pirate action, though I do admittedly wish there had been more time to stretch some parts out and a little more care to the ending. Studio Kawaii has room for improvement but I look forward to seeing more of them as they progress as artists and storytellers.

Review written August 30, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo.
Book purchased from vendor at Fan Expo 2008

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Kuriousity.ca. Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

Kuriousity does not condone or support the illegal distribution of manga online.
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