By Leroy Douresseaux
May 21, 2008 - 14:10
Rated “M” for “Mature Audiences 18+”
Kiss Blue, Vol. 1 (of 2) introduces the reader to Tomosaka and Noda, two longtime friends. Noda is something of a ladies’ man, having two girlfriends at once on many occasions. Tomosaka isn’t dating, and he’s holding on tightly to a powerful secret. Tomosaka is in love with Noda, and he can’t remember when his feelings for Noda began. He feels that he can’t exactly express those feelings because they’re best friends and Noda is obviously straight (while Tomosaka passes). What can Tomosaka do? What should he do?
Manga-ka Kieko Kinoshita has chosen his favorite setting for his new romantic drama – a college campus, which allows for the loose interplay of characters, as they come in and out of the leads’ lives or Noda’s bedroom. Although Kiss Blue is yaoi manga (boys’ love comics that feature explicit sex), Vol. 1 depicts romantic yearning rather than physical love, except for one brief scene of sexual activity.
This first volume isn’t necessarily slow going; instead, it has an easy pace that allows the reader to get to know the characters, especially Tomosaka, in an almost intimate way. Kinoshita lets you inside Tomosaka’s head, allowing us to see his motivation which reveals him to be love sick, and not some lusty young man desperate to have sex with his best buddy. Kinoshita’s soft and evocative art, though not necessarily pretty, is also quite engaging.