Manga-ka: Takashi Kanazaki
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: November 2008
Synopsis: “High school student Hisashi has admired top model Tomohito for years. His only goal in modeling is to get a contract at the same agency. By sheer coincidence, the two happen to be at the same shooting location. Looking to put some fear into his rising competition, Tomohito snares Hisashi into a passionate kiss claiming “I just wanted to wipe that prim look off your face!” But even the best laid plans are bound to have complications. Instead of running off the competition, he may have just gotten himself a suitor!”
I previously reviewed another manga by Takashi Kanazaki called His Arrogance. Both books share a cast of characters but focus on different relationships. In Falling Into Love, we meet Hisashi as a high school student who’s just breaking into the modeling world. When top model Tomohito takes an interest in the younger model, it sparks a rivalry that quickly becomes something more.
Hisashi only had a small part in Kanzaki’s other manga, so it was interesting to see what he was like when he was younger and a little less sure of himself. It’s also fun to return to Kanzaki’s world of beautiful men and fashion.
I enjoyed watching Hisashi and Tomohito grow closer, especially when Tomohito’s little brother Ryou gets thrown into the mix. As shown in His Arrogance, Ryou has a bit of a brother complex, but in this volume it’s shown that Tomohito does as well as he practically worships the ground Ryou walks on. Hisashi quickly becomes frustrated when he finds himself competing with Ryou for Tomohito’s affections.
Though I liked the story, I was a little disappointed with how it ends. It’s not that anything bad happens, it’s just the story stops at a place where Hisashi isn’t 100 per cent satisfied with how things are between him and Tomohito, and I was left feeling the same way.
I was also kind of disappointed that Hisashi’s story only takes up a third of the book. The rest of the volume is filled with short stories. Not that I have anything against short stories, but I was looking forward to reading more about Kanzaki’s crew of male models. Also, the stories vary widely in quality.
After ‘Falling Into Love’ comes ‘Prepare Yourself’, a shot story that follows two young men who work at a detective agency. The two have a relationship, but it’s one that’s based purely on sex. When they are assigned to work on a case that involves a girl who has shut herself up in her room, it brings back bad memories for Katsuki, one of the boys. Can his partner Nakaba help him overcome his past in time to solve the case?
There are some interesting ideas in this short story, but everything comes to fast for it to make any kind of impact. If the story had more room to breathe the characters might come off as a little bit more believable, but within the tight space of this story they just seem to change gears way too quickly.
The next story (‘I Want to Be with You’) is probably my favourite in the book. It involves a love triangle between a boy, his dad, and the son’s uncle (aka the dad’s brother-in-law) with both father and son competing for the uncle’s affection. What I liked best about this story is that it didn’t take itself too seriously and managed to fit in some jokes between the sex scenes.
The last story in the book is called ‘Love’s Recommendation.’ Atsumu and Kayama are study buddies, but Atsumu wants to be more. Kayama does too, but is too afraid to come clean with his feelings. Eventually, Atsumu decides to make the first move. Personally, I find any story that features forced sex, but ends with a love confession, unbelievable (I’m also bored of the “I only did it to make you hate me because I love you” excuse). Enjoying the story will partly depend on how far you are willing to stretch your disbelief.
One consistent thing through all of the stories was Kanzaki’s smooth and stylish art style. Kanzaki is good at creating different character designs, which is especially important in a short story collection. She also draws attractive backgrounds, another important feature in a short story anthology since each story takes place is distinctive settings. Even when the writing wasn’t the best, the art was always top-notch.
As a collection of short stories, Falling Into Love was hit-or-miss for me. I would be quicker to recommend His Arrogance since I found it to be a more complete and satisfactory yaoi manga. However, if you’ve already read that and want a peek into the lives of Hisashi and Tomohito, then Falling Into Love is worth checking out.