Manga-ka: Kirico Higashizato
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: July 2007
Synopsis: “Tomonori has just landed his dream job at a large publishing firm. The only catch is, he is the new editor of a Boys’ Love magazine! With that, comes the responsibility of managing Sakurako Kakyoin, a male yaoi artist who is notorious for missing his deadlines. To become a full-fledged editor, Tomonori-kun has to start from the bottom – checking drafts, editing scripts and lettering. Now if only Kakyoin-sensei would stop sexually harassing him, he could actually get some work done!”
Love Recipe volume one introduces us to Tomonori Ozawa, an enthusiastic youth who gets hired at his dream location, a large publishing firm. Much to his surprise, he gets placed in the boys’ love department! Everything is pretty strange, and a tad disturbing, to him at first with the swooning desk workers and fans eager for more boys loving boys. One day he’s sent by his boss to the home of famous yaoi artist, Sakurako Kakyoin, to pick up their manga. What he doesn’t expect is that Kakyoin is actually a man, and not only a man who draws yaoi, but also a man who falls for Tomonori at first sight.
Let me start off by saying, I really enjoyed this manga! Opening on this positive note, readers are required to do what many must to enjoy a yaoi like this, expect and accept the unrealistic and enjoy the ride. Tomonori’s general acceptance of Sakurako’s very forward affection and methods of gathering inspiration is silly, but then again, it’s not supposed to be a serious love story.
This odd couple is set against the backdrop of the world of boys’ love stories, or more specifically, making them. There’re lots of fun little things to keep readers entertained, along with the numerous sex scenes and humour of course, including a backstage peek at the manga-making process and some doujinshi covers whose character designs cannot be hidden from the keen-eyed fan by a simple black edit line! In fact, it was things like those which I enjoyed most about the story. While the characters are really amusing, I’ve yet to feel too attached to them, present or future, but there’s more than enough here as a whole to keep me reading.
I also really enjoyed Kirico Higashizato’s artwork. It was adorable and charged with energy. It put so much life into the characters that I don’t think they would’ve been nearly as entertaining if not for the art. Tomonori was adorable and Sakurako is the embodiment of bishonen, the two of them settling into their pre-destined, and purposely stereotyped, roles with no problems. The artist used amusing styles to emphasis over-dramatic reactions such as anger and worry, making much of the story’s humour reliant on the images. May I also note that there are several women and cute little girls in the story and they’re all drawn as nicely as the men, even if they don’t have a fraction of the page time.
In the end, Love Recipe isn’t the kind of book you can take too seriously but that never stops it from being an entertaining one, through and through. It’s intent is to be fun and it definitely pulls it off. A recommended read to yaoi fans for a good read and some laughs!