Manga-ka: Fumi Yoshinaga
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: June 2007
Synopsis: “The loveable characters of The Moon and The Sandals saga begin a new chapter in their lives. Kobayashi and Toyo have both successfully started their careers, Hashizume now heads his own restaurant and Rikuko is studying to be a doctor. But amidst all this seeming success, old issues still lurk below the surface, waiting to be resolved. Question is… will the gang be able to muster enough maturity to finally settle old scores?”
The story continues as we follow the two couples established in the first volume. Older lovers, Hashizume and Rikuko continue to live together as married men (or the closest thing to), while the younger couple Kobayashi and Toyo’s relationship continues to be a little bumpy but they’re no less in love. The two couples may have found soul mates in each other, but of course that doesn’t mean they’re perfect!
It’s no secret to those who’ve read my previous reviews of her work, that I love singing the praises of Fumi Yoshinaga. The Moon and The Sandals is her first original published work, which only makes it all the more impressive. While I enjoyed the first volume, I loved reading this second even more!
What I loved most about this book was the humour. I laughed out loud so many times and that’s the kind of thing that really sticks with me long after I read something. Sometimes it was a witty piece of dialogue or a vibrant reaction, but more often than not that it was just some really well timed deliveries. I find it admirable reading her works for this reason: a well chosen facial expression, a perfectly placed pause in the speech, it always feels so planned out yet still flows so naturally. Either way, be it the stubbornness of Kobayashi or the amusing in-bed realization of being gay by Rikuko, this book had lots of amusing moments.
But of course, what’s a Fumi Yoshinaga book without making a note about the poignant character drama? There’s a little bit of everything here, from some misunderstandings, jealously, coming out at work, school and lots of sex. Nothing is too intense or over-dramatic, it’s just life and laid out in a way that’s just plain ‘ol fun to read.
A particular chapter near the middle of the book stood out to me. It starred Kobayashi’s little sister, who was recently dealt a broken heart when her brother started dating the boy she had a crush on. When I say starred, I mean it because it was just four pages of her on a white backdrop and a nameless third-person voice asking her some questions about her life. She responds simply and that’s that, but I found it to be one of the strongest parts of the book; short but completely character driven, and by a likeable character who I can’t help but sympathize with.
Overall, I found volume two of The Moon and The Sandals to be a real joy to read. Loveable characters, amusing interactions and some simple, heartfelt moments give this story a charming life of its own that shouldn’t be missed.
Review written September 12, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo.
Book purchased from vendor at Fan Expo 2008