Manga-ka: Taishi Zaou
Publisher: Doki Doki
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: May 2009
Synopsis: “High school student Tasuku Mizuochi has a secret he knows and a secret he doesn’t. Even though he punches, kicks, and otherwise abuses fellow karate team member, Ryouta, on a daily basis, Tasuku has hidden feelings for his childhood friend. Confused and embarrassed by his secret crush, Tasuku takes his frustrations out on Ryouta to keep him from ever knowing the truth. When Tasuku learns that his late mother may have been an “ageman” (ah-gay-man) – a woman who brings men good fortune – he starts to believe he’s inherited these powers, too. Can having the ability to influence luck give Tasuku and Ryouta a future together? Or will all the people crawling out of the woodwork wanting to use Tasuku’s power cause him to run screaming for the hills?!”
Right off the bat you know this isn’t going to be your average boys’ love story as Tasuku spends the first chapter criticizing and literally assaulting his friend, Ryouta, out of frustration. The interaction and banter between the two is very cute, albeit a little violent, and it becomes all the fluffier as you read further into the story and see how the high-strung Tasuku uses those opportunities to vent his uneasiness at the growing affection he feels for Ryouta, his own variation of the ‘tease-because-you-like’ reaction.
Tasuku Mizuochi’s life is suddenly turned upside down when a television special spreads the rumour that, thanks to his now deceased mother, Tasuku could be in possession of the power of ‘ageman’, meaning that anyone who becomes close to him could be blessed with good luck and fortune. In a world full of those who will anything they can to succeed, Tasuku suddenly finds himself hounded by males and females alike. But the situation also presents a unique opportunity for him, for the object of his tormented-affection could use a little luck, so what better chance could there be to offer himself up for both love and luck?
Along with the two leads, there is also Katsuyama, a friend and fellow karate student to both Tasuku and Ryouta. Right from the get-go he realized the feelings that the two held for each other and he acts as both confidant and instigator. His bluntness has an entertainment value all to itself and he makes for a great third-party for the couple to bounce ideas off of, plus he seems happy for the both of them even when concern is expressed that he may not care for the idea of them being gay. I really loved him as a side-character, non-judgmental and always ready to point out the obvious to his two emotionally frustrated companions.
When Tasuku finally comes forward and shares how he feels with Ryouta, in a way that’s both surprisingly forward and a tad ignorant, it also easily serves up one of the most entertaining moments of book as Ryouta suddenly finds himself stunned by the receiving end of Tasuku’s physical display of attraction. And no, I don’t mean anything non-consensual between the two. Plagued, though not in a necessarily bad way, by the erotic images continuously playing out in his mind the next day, Ryouta is left to ponder his own feelings for Tasuku and how things could play out between the two of them.
Mikiyo Tsuda continues a tradition of humour and wit in her stories that keeps her one of my all-time favorite manga artists. Here in Living For Tomorrow, there’s plenty to chuckle about as the couple both struggle with their feelings in their own special ways. From Tasuku’s violence to Ryouta’s shock at the sudden confession of love, both deal with their feelings in a way that never fails to be sweet, exuberantly thought out and always entertaining. Her artwork plays a big role in this as well with lots of physical humour that’s impeccably well placed within the story. I laughed at loud at more than one moment when an exaggerated expression followed a shocking discovery or embarrassed recollection. On a technical level, her artwork is also clean, polished and very professional looking. It makes for a very pleasing-to-the-eye reading experience that always serves as reason enough to keep seeking out her works with every opportunity.
Digital Manga’s work on this is really appealing also and continues to build upon my steadily growing affection for their new DokiDoki imprint, one that sports nice packaging, smooth reading and thus far a library of books that have yet to do wrong as far as I’m concerned. Albeit the library of released books is currently very small, but with lots of equally fantastic books on the near-horizon, I’m really enjoying all DokiDoki has to offer.
Fans of Mikiyo Tsuda can certainly do no wrong in picking up this title and boys’ love fans in general can easily enjoy this infectiously charming one-shot that’s full of fun and fluff. I loved every page of it and hope others do as well. Living For Tomorrow is the kind of easy, enjoyable reading that you can return to again and again and that’s exactly what I look forward to doing.