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Renai Junkie Haruki was betrayed by his girlfriend Kiyuka and his best friend Ikeda. After retreating from them, he starts to become friends with Atsushi, one of the most popular guys in school. After a conversation with Atsushi, he realizes the mistakes he made. He reconciles with Ikeda and accepts his relationship with Kiyuka. Atsushi who eavesdropped on their conversation offers to take care of Haruki. They become very close and Haruki realizes that he's fallen in love with Atsushi. How will their relationship develop?
Shadow Arata and Yoshiki are childhood friends. Yoshiki had an accident when he was still a kid, his genitalia did not develop after that and he cannot get an erection or ejaculate. The two friends have feelings for each other but things get messy when they start to explore them...
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Really? This was terrible.
Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder if I'm reading the same thing that everyone else is, because I don't understand the overwhelming positive reaction to this particular work. I'm self-admittedly pretty lazy when it comes to writing reviews unless I really, really loved it or I really, really hated it. You can take a wild guess at which category my reaction falls into.
To begin with, I'll start with the pros: I liked the smut and I enjoyed the art, but I didn't like the dynamics of the first relationship. Atsushi is a prick love interest of the first order. I kept waiting for the guy to redeem himself in some manner, but he was probably the worst type of lover. I might have forgiven the fact that he wasn't very good at expressing himself, that he wasn't very considerate, and that almost all of the overtures of their relationship came from Haruki, but I really had to throw my hands up at the final act.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Atsushi finally gives Haruki a key to the apartment - confirming an important part of their relationship - and the next thing you know, the secret of his birth is blown, and he's moved out without a single word to Haruki.
I mean, freakin' A, I get that you might want to move but how do you do it without even saying anything to someone you care about? A text, a phone call? The number of times I've seen this trope used, the love interest always had some type of reason (no matter how lame). This guy had none, except for the fact that he was an inconsiderate jerk. And when he finally deigns to text Haruki, the first thing he tells him when he sees him is, I'm moving to Hawaii. Gee whiz, no sorry, no hello, no I'm sorry for being an ass and not telling you anything, just I'm moving. What did he expect with that type of news? Happy happy joy joy, I'm gonna hug you?
Again, he waits for Haruki to make the move. He wants Haruki to beg him, Haruki to reassure him.
And I get it, you poor baby, you had an abandoned childhood, boohoo. That's still not an excuse for piss poor manners. Everything was about him and how he had to be coddled because his mommy didn't love him.
Jesus, I wanted to kick a cat at the end of it. I know there's an audience for this type of male love interest in shoujo and BL. I sometimes like the cold love interest too, but only if they make up for it in some manner. This guy had no redeeming features at all except for his sob story. At no point when it counted did Atsushi do anything to reassure Haruki of their relationship. Instead of clearing up the misunderstanding about his mother, he let Haruki believe what he wanted, therefore allowing him to embarrass himself and then have to grovel to get Atsushi back. The eye roll factor was great for this one.
I'm not sure if it was just the version I downloaded, but I found the pacing of this manga to be odd. They'd be doing something on one page and the next panel, it'd be some other time, some other place, somewhere else with very little transitioning. I had no clue how many days had passed or how long they had even been together. There was very little sense of time, place, or setting in general. The characters were all stock despite the twist of the uke/seme role reversal.
The second story was obviously an earlier work of hers, but one I couldn't really get into (probably due to the terribleness of the first).
Overall, I'd give this a huge thumbs down, way down. It's a five for the smut and the art, but everything else was terrible. There's better out there and more talented manga-kas who probably could have taken this same story and written it better.
(Side note: I do realize that the manga-ka has passed away, RIP. However, this work is not meant to be offensive to her, just a criticism of her work. I hope that's understood and that people don't misunderstand the point of my review.)
Too quick, still enjoyable.
This was actually better than I thought. Both stories felt quite rushed and, as a result, every character sounded little unreasonable more often than not... still, I enjoyed the little twists, especially the one in Shadow:
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
the uke can't get it up so Arata tries other unorthodox measures to stimulate him. I don't even know if what they did is possible but I couldn't care less, ahah.
The reversal in Renai Junkie was also interesting and I especially liked the fact the author didn't overdo it. You can see them changing roles in the near future and I wouldn't have minded it any less. It was perhaps the first time I felt both seme and uke could go either way. Ahah. Like I said, however, it was too rushed. I don't like forced melodrama, where you can't really grasp the emotions for yourself, you have the characters shoving them at you in every panel. That happened quite a few times with this one. But it was a nice read nontheless. Good smut too.
... Last updated on June 28th, 2013, 2:34pm
Main story was...
...quite terrible. It had a couple of nice scenes and the relationship between the couple was somewhat interesting but watching them desperately trying to be tough and manly while they were both actually pathetic, whiny and immature was rather annoying. And I don't get the "females are evil" theme. My mom/girlfriend didn't care about me/dumped me so I'll look down on all women? Great logic, sure. But wait, there was no logic there at all. It's not even worth talking about it.
On the other hand, I've always liked Shadow a lot. For an obvious reason it could have done without the blowjob scene (girls are not only evil, they are sluts as well!) but everything else was great, including the sex scenes. Unusual ideas always get me even if the execution is not always perfect.
i love, love, love reversals. the stereotypical seme/uke dynamic which is repeated at nauseam, bores me and limits the characters, so i am happy when a mangaka goes against it. i became a fan of toujou's for that alone.
but in general these stories don't sit as well with me upon rereading a few years later, because i have since encountered some really excellent BL, and they fall a bit short. they both are too melodramatic, shadow especially. it starts out promising with the physical problem, but it didn't really progress interestingly enough but became an excuse for smut. now, i don't at all mind smut, but if i start reading a story for its premise, then getting just smut feels a bit like a let-down. but hey, the smut is good smut; very detailed and graphic. now if we could just get it uncensored...
as to whether one can have homosexual experiences as friends while not being gay -- yeah, sure. lots of people do, especially in their teenage years. one's orientation doesn't depend on such experiments, but expresses whom one is generally attracted to. mutual handjobs with a pal in camp doesn't even mean one is bi; male teenagers' hormones are a curious thing.
... Last updated on March 18th, 2011, 9:18am
I liked the first story better, I actually loved it. The ending was definitely suprising, but really cute at the same time. I wish it was longer though, the ending was rushed. But overall I'll give this series a rating of 9.
Angsty, nice one!
While I liked it, I thought it was a little rushed. But at the same time, I usually consider to say "I love you" as really important (not in a banalized way, of course), but in Renai Junkie, I didn't even miss it, 'cause they got strongly attached to each other and could really express feelings.
Now, can I be the common fangirl? I'm sorry, I usually really dislike cliches, but...I can't stand seme-uke role inversions. Even if it's like that in real life, I hate to see the strong type of seme taking it up the *ss or ukes with crying and sparkling faces abuse the semes...it looks so physically wrong... I undertand it, though, 'cause it couldn't be the other way around because of the context.
Well, I'll give it a 7 'cause it wasn't the best I've ever read, but I liked it as a whole and...well, I loved the idea of the third chapter (the cigarette and stuff...so sexy!)
As for Shadow, it's really cute. Not very innovative (of course not the genital problems, but the story as a whole), but still enjoyable. I didn't have trouble with sex, as some people said...I actually didn't care about Yoshiki's non-development, 'cause it was well hidden. And they really did love each other, so it was nice. I just don't understand why in BL, the characters service each other and think they're doing it "as friends". C'mon, they must be at least gay, even if it's not for love and just for fun. But it's not something straight friends would do togehter.
The DJ was also REEEEEEEALLY fast! I mean, they're brothers!! How can real brothers just confess they're love in a second and get together?! I absolutely adore yaoi incest, but it's supposed to be something angsty and slow. (and I haven't read the second one 'cause I didn't read it's prequel yet)
... Last updated on April 16th, 2010, 10:36am
I've only read Renai Junkie
.... and it's on my list of favorites. This manga is why I was so shock and sadden by Asami Tohjoh's death. Arguably, perhaps not her best work but definitely my personal favorite. I enjoyed the relationship and character development. The angsty feel in the middle brought a good tension for readers. I mean, throughout, the story IS not all that original---it follows the pattern of a lot of yaoi mangas but that doesn't mean it's a horrible story; just nothing spectacular. But if you enjoy simple, cute love stories you'll love this one! Oh and if you also enjoy hardcore sex scenes; which I think made Renai Junkie what it is. The sex scenes are very frequent and it is beautifully done but it's all a matter of taste. The final scene of intimacy is interesting. But what made Renai Junkie one of my all-time favorites is it's beautiful ending- like someone said before, it's bittersweet yet realistic and it'll leave you saying "awww" by the last flip of the page.
... Last updated on May 6th, 2008, 12:35am
I was never a fan of Toujou Asami (rest her soul <3) until I read this! Smutty yaoi normally hits me with a grand distaste, but she just made it so surprisingly evoking, it was amazing. Renai Junkie's ending never fails to make me smile, it's bittersweet and thankfully realistic. I love how some of the sex is somewhat realistically and if not that, then somewhat tastefully justified, rather than other yaoi plots.
... Last updated on April 18th, 2008, 1:39pm
Ok, yeah, there are a lot of sex scenes, but they're hot, and this manga (in my opinion) saves itself from being pointless smut by having really good characters and a storyline. The Haruki x Atsushi story was great. I just loved how Haruki was unsure of where he belonged, and Atsushi simply believed he didn't belong. There were no squeal-out-loud moments, but subtle, cute things. Like how Atsushi went out and bought dishes for two after awhile. ^_^ And even though it might throw some people off, I LOVED how the roles were reversed at the end. Atsushi shone as such a great character. He was able to finally wear a face different than the usual cold and confident one for Haruki, and he didn't have to be alone with so much weight on his shoulders. He could just act like the sixteen year old he was. As for 'Shadow', the sex wasn't nearly as engaging, but how can you hate a story with such strong emotions? I think it's pretty obvious that the two characters really love each other. I loved it.
... Last updated on December 21st, 2012, 11:22pm
I really liked this one...
I'm more of a casual yaoi reader... and I don't really read yaoi for the sex scenes. So usually, hard yaoi isn't my favorite. However, I felt that the plots in this volume were enough to capture my attention. I liked the characters a lot, as well. Both the main story and "Shadow" were both really great examples of yaoi with a plot and some substance. I'm actually surprised so much plot was squeezed into one volume.