Junjo Romantica vol. 1

Junjo Romantica Vol. 1What’s on the back: Misaki is struggling to pass his college entrance exams, and has taken up a tutor: the cool and sexy Akihiko Usami, who also happens to be a famous boys’ love novelist. At first, Misaki is disgusted by Akihiko, but slowly, Misaki realizes he may be develping feelings for the older man. And so begins the bumpy relationship of his odd couple, filled with comedy and pure romance.

Review: I decided to throw another Yaoi review at you guys. Junjo Romantica is one of the most popular in terms of Yaoi. The recent release of volume 10 even landed on the New York Times Graphic Novel Top 10 list. I was late  getting into Junjo Romantica, but I can see why it’s so popular.

In Author’s Pet (my last review), The main story was about an author and a student. Junjo Romantica, has that too, but a lot more steamier. Misaki is barely prepared to pass his college entrance exams, so his older brother recruits his friend to help tutor Misaki. Akihiko is an author of explicit boys love novels, accepted Misaki brother’s offer and became his tutor. Misaki soon discovered Akihiko’s profession and felt uncomfortable. But as time passes on, even though Akihiko is always up to mischief, Misaki finds himself falling in love with him.

Junjo Romantica consists of two story arcs within one volume. The second of arc is called Junjo Egoist. The great thing about this manga is that even though there are two separate stories in this volume, they somehow intertwine. Hiro was heartbroken by his first love. He was crying at the park when he met up with Nowaki, who tried to make him feel better. He later asks Hiro to help tutor him, but in truth, he just wanted to spend time with him. They both ended up with romantic feelings for each other. At first Hiro was confused of his feelings for Nowaki, because his first love still lingers. It seems like his first love is a hurdle he has to overcome.

The majority of BL manga has no plot, just a lot of sex scenes. How women write these stuff…I have no idea. But Junjo Romantica, actually has a story. I’m entertained throughout the pages of this volume. Honestly when I picked up this manga, I just wanted to see what the hype was. Even during a convention, if you don’t get it fast enough, they sell out pretty quickly. But after reading this volume, I can see why it’s so popular. The story is solid and you feel like you want to grow with the characters in the story. As of right now, my favourite character is Akihiko, whose persona I find very compelling.

The only thing that bothers me about this manga, is it’s art. At times certain panels looks too rough. The art itself is very sketchy looking and sometimes I have a hard time figuring out what’s going on because the author drew it too rough. Nevertheless, the art doesn’t really bother the story, it’s just my own pet peeves.

Final Thoughts: As of right now, Junjo romantica is climbing it’s way to the top of my favourite BL series list. I haven’t read too much of it, but I have the next 8 volumes in my TBR pile, so I’m looking foward to the character’s developments in the future. I also think that Junjo Romantica is a good starting point for people who are trying to get into the Yaoi scene.

Overall Grade: B+