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Review: You Make My Head Spin!

Manga-ka: Kazuhiko Mishima
Publisher: DMP/June
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: September 2008

Synopsis: “Shindo has just transferred into an extremely individualistic school. The ideal honor student, Shindo appears to sparkle with his perfect poise and presence. Yosuke, on the other hand, is the school delinquent preferring to spend his time hanging out on the school roof. But, Yosuke has a dark secret. The stereotypical tsundere, he may appear hostile on the outside, but his gruff hides a very sensitive interior. An interior that Shindo is determined to uncover…”

The story begins with a new student’s first day at his new school. In sharp contrast to the rundown looking building, Shindou is tidy and serious. The school is overrun by delinquents, or atleast that’s what said, but it goes without saying that when Shindou meets the hair-dyed, foul-mouthed, Yousuke, there’s more than a little contrast going on.

This was one high-strung story. Shindou is the calm and studious sort, honest almost to a fault and even more persistant. His meeting with Yousuke is abrupt and straightforward, grasping his hands for an introduction and proclaiming them friends. Yousuke can’t believe the guy! What a weirdo for sure, and it doesn’t stop there. Despite Yousuke’s complaining, disbelief and outbursts, Shindou persists their friendship and admits his love for him after the first day.

I found the sheer difference in their personalities to be the only real entertaining factor of the story, with some credit given to the amount of energy that crackles off the pages from the emotional outbursts of all kinds (anger mostly). Yousuke’s frustration at Shindou’s out-of-no-where and ultimately stubborn addition to his life would make anyone’s head spin, though personally I wouldn’t think so much out of love as out of downright annoyance. But regardless, a relationship is inevitably formed between the two and the story continues. The addition of a new character who clings himself to Shindou gives the story the closest thing it has to a protagonist, but only on the grounds that now Yousuke has someone to trigger his suddenly developed jealously over Shindou. Naturally.

After the end of the title story comes a slightly shorter tale where a student finds himself comforting his teacher, after the man is dumped by his male lover. Intrigued by his usually-stoic teacher showing such emotion, the student becomes enamoured with him. Ultimately, due to their roles as teacher and student, nothing could come of their growing feelings for each other in the story (which impressed me in itself really), but regardless I found it to be the highlight of the book. Unimpressed by the overdone theatrics of the first story, I really liked this more emotion-based story where love flourished from the want to support someone with a shoulder to cry on. It was sweet and paced much smoother so I really enjoyed it reading it, especially in contrast to the title story.

Kazuhimo Mishima’s artwork didn’t do much for me though admittedly I’ve never found myself too fond of her work. The style just doesn’t appeal to me, from the sharply wide-set faces and often awkwardly proportioned bodies to the weird looking side profiles. Admittedly, I found her style much more attractive when depicting characters intended to be smaller or younger, such as the conflict-of-interest character in the lead story and the student in the second, where their features are more rounded.

DMP has put together another shiny package with this one, including a vibrantly coloured cover slip that’s bound to catch anyone’s eye from a store shelf. During the second half of the book however, I did run into a couple frames that clearly showed the pages had been cut too far in from the edge, including some words that were cut off and bubbles that then looked very off-centre. Nothing was bad enough to impact the story, but it was noticeable.

Overall, You Make My Head Spin! packed too much flare and not enough substance. The title story had lots of energy but just didn’t make good use of it and the art wasn’t enough to hold the book up as a visual treat. Honestly, I’d base a readers preference for this title on their enjoyment of the art. If Kazuhiko Mishima’s work is right up your alley, then by all means pick this one up because you’ll probably find more than enough to keep you entertained. But, if you look at it and don’t think much of it, you may find yourself better off looking elsewhere for a boys’ love with lasting kick.

Review written November 9, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo.
Book provided by DMP for review purposes

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of 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.

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