Manga-ka: Souya Himawari
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: February 2011
Synopsis: “At the war’s height, Takakage and Mizuo once again cross paths. The two embrace, profess their unending love for each other, and swear mutual oaths…but there is talk of Takakage getting married. With their personal crisis and the war ripping apart the nation, how will the two men be able to stay connected?”
Right Here, Right Now is a very enjoyable time travel romance. In this volume the main character Mizuo has to decide between staying in the past with Takakage, a local lord he’s fallen for, or return to his life in the present. While it’s not the most unique dilemma (if you’ve read even a chapter of Fushigi Yugi you’ve seen Miaki sweat over the exact same problem), it’s still well done here.
One thing I liked about this volume is that it mines the differences between the past and modern day for drama. Mizuo is still getting used to life in Japan in the warring states period, but what’s even harder is getting used to being in a relationship with Takakage. Just when they’re getting the hang of it, Takakage receives a marriage proposal from a princess from an enemy clan. Mizuo knows that the marriage will bring peace to the two countries, and so he convinces himself that it would be better if he returned to his own time. Takakage however, doesn’t agree, and must convince Mizuo that he belongs in the past.
While I really like Right Here, Right Now, it never reaches the heights that other time-travel shojo series do, like Red River and the previously mentioned Fushigi Yugi. Those two series were epics, sprawling tales of war and magic with the weight of history bearing down on the characters. Right Here, Right Now, on the other hand is a much smaller affair. For one, it’s only two volumes, and there’s a much smaller cast and focus. Even though I like the series, I think it made a big mistake in not going big. Time travel manga are by their very premise dramatic: the main couple are usually two people who have been brought together through impossible odds over a vast chasm of time and space. It’s a little bigger than your average romance. Add in the fact that the characters are usually in the middle of a war and your set for some grand, Gone With the Wind/Titantic/whatever love story.
Right Here, Right Now never hits those high notes. I think that may be because as a yaoi manga the focus is pretty tightly reigned in to centre on the main couple. Which is fine, because as a yaoi it works really well. Mizuo and Takakage aren’t particularly exciting, but they are cute together. It’s nice to see the progression of their relationship (the manga-ka draws a great, tastefully done sex scene between them early on in the volume). So while the series centres around them and their relationship, that’s not a bad thing in itself.
While the series does come to a satisfying conclusion, it’s clear there were some places the manga-ka wanted to go but didn’t have a chance to. There’s one character in particular that gets the short end of the stick: there’re hints about him having an interesting back story and a crush on Mizuo, but it never goes anywhere. In the author’s notes she admits that she developed a liking for this character, and it shows. It’s just too bad he didn’t get an arc of his own.
The art for the series is very solid. I like the touches of detail in the setting, always an important factor when doing a manga set in another time period. While the artwork doesn’t particularly stand out, it’s by no means bad. It gets the job done even if it doesn’t leave much of an impression beyond that.
Right Here, Right Now is a fun series. It might not be the love story to end all love stories, but its light and entertaining and a cute boys’ love manga.
Review written February 23, 2011 by Shannon Fay
Digital copy provided by Digital Manga for review purposes
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