Author: Yuuki Kousaka
Manga-ka: Midori Shena
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: March 2008
Synopsis: “Though Katsuya only spent one summer with brothers Kazuki and Shio, the impression that the beautiful Shio left was one that would last a lifetime. Truth be told, even after 12 years, Katsuya still can’t get Shio out of his head. So quite impulsively, Katsuya goes off to Tokyo and applies to the company that Shio helped found. The reunion he had hoped for comes unexpectedly, when he is forced to share a dorm with Shio himself! Acting cold and aloof, however, the Shio of Katsuya’s dreams is not the same as the real Shio. Can Katsuya pick up the pieces of his shattered dreams and start over?”
Sweet Admiration is the story of Katsuya, a country boy who moves to Tokyo for work. The first thing Katsuya does is plan to meet with a childhood friend, Kazuki, in hopes of finding a place to stay while he awaits his company’s housing development. However, things don’t work out as planned; that is, until things suddenly take a turn in his favour when his new boss places him with a roommate in the “company dorms”, with someone Katsuya has had on his mind since childhood: Kazuki’s older brother, Shio.
With a believably fresh start, Katsuya and Shio’s new living arrangement doesn’t work out that well at first. Shio remembers Katsuya, but not nearly as memorably as Katsuya remembers him. Shio is understandably annoyed with the fact he was suddenly placed with a roommate. Not enjoying the cold state between them, Katsuya kindly and ignorantly ignores Shio’s requests to leave him alone and keeps giving happy hellos and fresh-cooked meals each and everyday.
I enjoyed the pacing of Sweet Admiration, which though it does have a tone that’s clearly suggestive of its boys’ love nature, it never felt too overeager to get to the romantic coupling. Readers follow Katsuya and Shio’s steadily evolving relationship over the span of a few months, which includes short tours around the city, and an emotionally clingy stepbrother who seeks to step between them.
Being a light novel, there’s obviously a lot more translation work involved for the staffers at Digital Manga Publishing (June) than with a one-shot manga book. Overall I didn’t have any problems reading through this translation re-write of Sweet Admiration. The wording was simple and easy to understand and I didn’t come across any glaring spelling or grammar issues. The only thing that got me was the moment near the end when a sex scene started up. The simple writing style, reading very similar to teen books, felt a little awkward when suddenly describing such intimate details.
Sweet Admiration was also my first light novel from DMP and I was surprised at the cut size. This thing can fit in your back pocket (tested and confirmed for sake of truth) and whether that’s where you choose to store it or not, it’s a nice size for carrying around, storing in a tiny crevice on your manga-stuffed bookshelves or just for holding in your hand. I thought I’d be getting something the size of DMP’s usual books, which seemed really odd for a book. Though caught off-guard at first, I really like this book’s size and it works well for the medium.
While I didn’t think much of the cover illustration, I did like the black and white interior illustrations (all by Midori Shena). They were good representations of the scenes they were portraying and gave readers nicely drawn faces to put to the names.
All in all, Sweet Admiration was a nice read. It’s easy to get through, has some sweet moments, and though nothing too spectacular as a whole, manages to have its own charm. I recommend this to first time light novel readers looking for some boys’ love as I think it makes for a good branch between manga and novel.