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Review: Can’t Win With You (Vol. 02) – eManga Edition

Reviewer: Jaime Samms

Author: Satosumi Takaguchi
Manga-ka: Yukine Honami
Publisher: eManga
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: November 2007

Synopsis: “When class president Sango Tsutsui and the other student administrators end up sequestered away at a director’s meeting, Yuuhi-kun is left back at the school, alone and defenseless. Will Yuuhi’s naive, country ways make him fair game for the Ezaki trio? Or will Tsutsui-san return in the nick of time to save him? Could it be that absence truly makes the heart grow fonder – are Yuuhi and Sango ready to take their strange relationship to (gasp!)… the next level?!”

Now this was an interesting instalment. I liked this second volume of Can’t Win With You for the most part, because Hayate and Kanya are by far my favourite couple in this series so far and there was a lot of development in their story. This strikes me as slightly odd, since the story is about (or is supposed to be about) Yuuhi, and, by extension, Sango. It makes me wonder a little just exactly which story the author wanted to tell.

There is some nice character development for Yuuhi though as he slowly comes to terms with what`s going on between the other students. In telling Hayate and Kneya’s story, via Yuuhi’s intervention in their relationship, the author can show the younger character’s growth without putting him in a situation that might not sit well with readers.

This book, with its series of vignettes, is about opening minds – Yuuhi’s, his older brother, Torishima’s, and his soon-to-be boyfriend’s, Sango. Even Hayate and Kenya are given a bit of a glimpse into their own thoughts and feeling for each other that they might not have had if not for Yuuhi.

As for the director and his three sons, they play a smaller role in this book, but I have to say, it`s clear the apples didn`t fall far from that father tree. Going into volume three, I’ll be looking to see how the awkward relationship between the Director and Yuuhi`s brother plays out. I’m not entirely sure what’s left to resolve though, as Yuuhi seems to have come to terms with his feelings for Sango, Kenya has finally put his foot down and told Hayate what he wants, and Hayate has opened up enough to accept what Kenya’s offering.

As far as the artistic technique goes, there’s not much else to say from my last review. What’s new in this book however is the intimacy. There are a greater number of love scenes in this book over volume one, and I’m torn. The art deals with the graphic scenes in a very sensual, understated way. There’s nothing really graphic about the art at all. There’s lots that is suggestive, though. The manga-ka lets the viewer fill in a lot of blanks, and that can certainly be more interesting that showing every detail. Still, it’s a tiny bit disappointing to wait so long for the pay off, and then have to use my imagination in the end anyway. Just a tiny bit, though. Part of enjoying good art is going beyond what’s on the page, and Yukine Honami is very good at evoking strong emotion.

One of my very favourite panels is Yuuhi and Sango’s first kiss. There’s almost no detail, as the drawing is a picture of what’s happening in the dark, yet the artist’s created a feeling of tenderness and discovery that’s impossible to convey so thoroughly in words, and likely would not have worked as well if she’d gone for more detail.

Overall however it was definitely worth reading this second instalment of Can’t Win With You for Hayate and Kenya alone. I’m interested to see what the third volume has to offer.

Review written August 10, 2010 by Jaime Samms
Digital copy provided by eManga for review purposes

Jaime Samms

About the Author:

Jaime Samms has been writing gay romance and fiction for quite some time now, and reviewing it for almost as long. She's published with e-publishers Freya’s Bower, Lovyoudivine Alterotica and soon, Total e-Bound and Drollerie Press. "Writing is quite a passion for me. I’ve been asked many times why write about love affairs between men, when I clearly am not one, and really, it feels right to me. Not a terribly informative answer, but there it is."

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One Response

  1. […] on vol. 1 of Bakuman (ICv2) Zack Davisson on vol. 7 of Bizenghast (Japan Reviewed) Jaime Samms on vol. 2 of Can’t Win With You (Kuriousity) Lissa Pattillo on Crimson Cross (ANN) Dave Ferraro on vol. 1 of The Dawn of Love […]

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