|My love for Hidaka Shouko's art is vast and deep
||[Aug. 24th, 2008|05:07 pm]
I happen to see the cover of one of Hidaka Shouko's manga while randomly surfing and was immediately interested in seeing more. I love her art! She draws men who look like men, though with a tad bit of delicacy--Just enough to hit my sweet spot. XD I only later realized that she'd done the illustrations for Utsukushii Koto by Konohara Narise, which I adored to pieces in no small part thanks to the lovely art. In any case, I read through all of her available published manga and have put her on my list of manga artists I rather adore. There were a couple of volumes I didn't care for, but I don't think there's a single artist with more than one or two volumes published where I loved every single one. Her characters tend to be pretty ordinary people. Lots of clueless/slightly twisted people who end up not knowing what they really want till the end...which is almost always happy (or something close to it). The expressions she draws and the (smoldering/confused/frustrated) looks they give each other just kill me at times. XDXD
Shiranai Kao has three stories. The first (and longest) is a tsundere x tsundere story that spans at least a decade. It's filled with frustration and tension, lots of the two glancing at each other, longing for each other but unable to honestly reach out to each other. When they do reach out it's only partially, and there's always a drawback. I wanted to smack both of the characters, but mostly the seme. The dude is such a loser in so many ways...Thank god he grew up and got over some of his issues by the end. XD;
The second story features a gorilla-faced hair stylist and the puppy-like kouhai from middle school who'd always adored him. It's cute because the hair stylist is such a push over (he's just plain nice) and the kouhai is totally enthusiastic. About everything.
The last story has a sadistic dentist x masochistic divorced middle-aged salaryman and the rather erotic (in an S&M way) dental work that begins their relationship. It's retarded but funny, and divorced middle-aged salaryman has a "middle-manager kind-of-tired yet still hot vibe" I really liked.
Signal is mainly about the elusive, beautiful, rich bar owner and the ordinary salaryman who falls in love with him. It totally didn't do anything for me. I can't pinpoint the exact reason for my "meh" reaction, but it might be because neither character did anything for me. They just bored me.
I personally liked the included short story featuring two characters that appear in Tarinai jikan. The two top students in their grade are more than rivals. #1 boy is one of those boys that like to torment and tease the person they like. #2 boy is a hard-working, determined, and stubborn kid with not much in the way of social skills. I want to smack #1 boy a lot, but I have a feeling he'll grow up to be a really awesome boyfriend...If #2 doesn't get tired of him in the meantime (which I doubt--#2 seems to be pretty single-minded).
Tarinai Jikan has several stories, only two which are in any way related. First one is about the aforementioned high school rivals and their secret trysts. It mainly features #1 being an immature jerk (but in a fairly lovable way). Second story is about a teacher at the high school of the rival lovers and his odd relationship with a former classmate. I couldn't really get into this one, truth to tell. The sex was nice to look at. Third story is about a salaryman who is worked hard by a new boss he happened to have run into in the gay district when he'd gone out of curiosity. Boss is one of those demanding ice queens, while salaryman is a normal young man. Cute story, though. Love the back story on the boss. Fourth story is about childhood friends who also happen to sleep with each other, one goes with the flow and lets life take him wherever and another who has a goal in life. How do they get anywhere? Fifth story is about a public prosecutor and a career police official who are so busy they don't get to see each other much. Though they don't show it, they do miss each other and do want to see each other more. My favs are the first and fifth stories.
Restart has been published in English, which is a pity since it's the one I like the least out of all of her works. I couldn't care less about these models and don't have anything more to say about it. The short story about the guy who realized he'd been in love with his friend only after the friend had died and the friend's younger brother was kind of nice, though.
Arashi no ato is by far my favorite manga by Hidaka-sensei so far. It's about a gay interior designer and the straight developer's coordinator that he falls for. I love how the gay interior designer (who is a side character in Signal) is being social with his clients while thinking rude thoughts (what ugly makeup, etc). When he catches sight of developer's coordinator he notices his nicely cared for fingernails, tasteful clothing, and pleasant smell. He makes nice while thinking how it's so unfortunate the guy is straight since he'd totally take him to a hotel right then and there...He doesn't remain so flippant, however, when he realizes that what he feels is more than lust. It meanders through the perils (and angst) of a gay guy falling for a straight guy, but ends well. Love the interaction they have after they get together. XD;
Sakaki, the interior decorator, is disappointed that Okada is straight.
Sex! I love the small actions of Okada that show how he's hesitant about the whole "having sex with a man" thing. I love how Sakaki soothes Okada by telling Okada that it's his first time fucking a straight guy to make a false equivalence between their situations. Both are experiencing "first times," right? Okada is surprised to see Sakaki aroused by him, to which Sakaki unapologetically responds "Yes, something wrong with that?" And they laugh together (a good sign of a healthy relationship is one where there is laughter during sex, doncha think?).
Sakaki goes to get breakfast at the nearby store since Okada can't walk that far. He realizes the inside of his mouth is cut, remembers the night before, and blushes like a little boy. It's adorable since for most of the manga Sakaki is portrayed as an experienced man who's had many lovers. Okada does his own blushing, which is also adorable since he's portrayed as so professionally smooth throughout the manga.
I look forward to more manga by this artist....Maybe more short stories featuring some of the characters she's already written about in addition to full volume stories like Arashi no ato would be nice. Actually, a sequel to Arashi no ato would be most welcome.