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1-3) Akimoto has just started his high school career at Miya High and is burning with enthusiasm. Not because he's in the springtime of his youth, or because he has his eyes set on some beautiful upperclassmen; rather, Akimoto is overjoyed to finally be able to meet his long time Judo idol Saitou! Akimoto has watched Saitou ever since his middle school days, but the real Saitou isn't matching up to the Saitou of Akimoto's dreams. Foul mouthed, with a bad attitude and superiority complex, Saitou decided to use Akimoto's admiration against him and turn him into his slave.
But Saitou has a deep, dark secret that he is hiding from his kouhai (junior). Will Akimoto still look up to Saitou when it is revealed? Join Akimoto, Saitou and the rest of the Miya Judo team in this charming tale of high school love between sempai (senior) and kouhai.
4&5) Taka-chan is Yoshirou's older cousin. Apparently Taka promised Yoshirou that he would always be there for him when they were kids... and now Yoshirou is taking him up on that offer. When problems at home result in Yoshirou running away, Taka's place is the only place he can go. Taka was looking forward to seeing him again... but what the heck happened?! Yoshirou is now a total playboy who swings both ways, and will pretty much go with anyone who'll pay him. Living with such a siren is getting dangerous for Taka...
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BL with the actual feeling of shounen sports manga's senpai-kouhai admiration
I adore DASH. I bought this when I was 16 or so (5 years ago) on a whim based on how the first few pages left me excited to read more, and I've never regretted it since, which is different from how I feel about most of the BL purchases--although most are decent--I've made in the past couple of years now. It's one of the few manga that I can reread every year or half-year or even three months or so. I even wrote an even more detailed review of it once upon a time when I was really excited to spread its name, but for now I'll just say this:
DASH! is, I've always felt, a BL manga with the feeling of shounen sports manga, except, of course, with a focus on homosexual romance instead of a young man's admiration for his upperclassman and naught else. It has all the energy of that kind of manga, and more, considering Akimoto--the main character's--guy-ish (it's hard to describe another way, but large lovable dork works) but loyal personality. It basically takes all the best parts of senpai-kouhai interaction in a shounen sports manga and places it into a BL setting wherein the kouhai (Akimoto's) admiration for his upperclassman develops into love, well-done especially for the three or four chapters the manga-ka manages to do this in. I've seen a good amount of BL with sports as dressing or generally part of the story as a device to have its love interests interact more, but most of those tend to drift towards slice of life, or something else I'll elaborate on in a moment.
Saitou, the guy Akimoto admires, is part of the reason the feeling of "shounen sports manga" really works in this BL--he's dedicated to judo, and has incredibly determined (and receptive; he's not cold or anything) personality, but that personality isn't a device for Akimoto to make "deredere" for him; it's a part of his character, and his determination actually holds meaning within the story. Unlike a lot of BL protagonists' love interests, his feelings are hard for Akimoto to discern in a way that readers would be familiar with--Akimoto is close to him, but still doesn't know him well enough, and much of DASH! is his taking the time to find out more about Saitou as a person--find out about his feelings on the life he's living now, his frustrations, and so on. Saitou really isn't the type to just blush his feelings away at every touch until those feelings somehow turn into "love," at all.
That's the other thing--aside from many BL manga with sports as a part of it falling into "slice of life (and romantic feelings)," many others easily fall into the "seme" and "uke" dynamic without a care for the proper build-up, and particularly, evolution, of relationships. That's excusable, of course, since much of yaoi genre's focus is on a passionate relationship between men that eventually leads to sex.
But the reason why I love this manga in particular is the reason I love to ship male characters in a lot of shounen manga--because it takes the time to strengthen their relationship as people, (and, though this is more of a shoujo thing--) as well as love interests, and puts them on a more or less equal footing with each another because of that. It's not an original take as much as a refreshing take on senpai-kouhai in a sports team falling in love in high school, largely for the energy and development of its protagonists.
That said, it's not a perfect manga (and the one-shot in the middle is fairly typical; I liked the dreadlocked friend, I think...I'm pretty sure it had a guy with dreadlocks...), and I may have been gushy considering how much I love its managing to weave the camaraderie of guys in sports shounen within an original BL story (i.e., not doujn) as well as having fun main characters who change for the better as they continue to interact with each other, since that's basically my favorite things put together, but I've not found one like it outside of said doujinshi since, so I hold it pretty close to my heart. It's one of Natsume Isaku's best, and I think she's very fond of it too, since she used its title in a newer work of hers, Ameiro Paradox, as the name of the magazine that its protagonists write, photograph, and bring scoops for.
Also, as a note--although the summary refers to Akihito as Saitou's "slave," it doesn't hold the usual smutty baggage that comes with yaoi manga, and in the same vein, I think a lot of people complained about Akihito being referred to as Saitou's 'gopher' in the original June translation, which makes sense in context but sounds silly nonetheless--as they changed it later to, he's more of a "servant"--a kouhai who fetches stuff--for Saitou at first.
... Last updated on June 11th, 2013, 4:02am
I thought this was surprisingly good... I get tired of high school stories (and have no special love for judo or any sports-themed stories) and generally don't care for stories with cousins involved with each other in any manner, but I actually really liked both couples in this. The couples are both believable to me-- in one case, one of them is fighting against the idea the whole time for what I feel are realistic reasons, and in another case there is a back and forth of "is he joking or is he not?" that makes the progression more interesting.
In both cases, I started their stories not expecting that I would particularly care either way about them and ended up thinking they were surprisingly cute. I was sad that the first story ended about halfway through the volume but then by the end of the volume I was sad when the SECOND story ended and it flipped back to an extra of the first story, and then at the end of that I was sad I didn't have more to read about any of the characters at all.
I think the first story could have carried a volume all on its own... I wish there was more to read in both these stories and will hold out hope that someday a related volume or oneshot will appear for these characters. I do think they both could have been even better if they'd had more chapters so they could expand past the points where they left off, so it's a bit of a shame these weren't two entirely separate volumes with one couple dedicated to each.
Lastly, I liked the character designs and art. I felt like they were all guys, even the prettier ones, which is really nice because sometimes I get so used to super androgynous males in BL I forget that it's possible to just have a pretty boy running around. In the second story, I love how Yoshirou's eyes are drawn-- he looks normal most of the time but then there are scenes here and there (that Taka notices too) where his stare seems to stand out even more. There are also really nicely done expressions in this volume in general (I was especially caught by the way some characters smile gently when they usually look much different) and I found several parts to be amusing.
I bought this book on discount. Even at a reduced price there are some BL volumes I wish I hadn't bought since I doubt I'll ever reread it. I actually think this was worth the money and am glad I purchased it-- I could see myself reading this one again in the future. And being sad once more that there isn't more to read, haha
... Last updated on April 12th, 2012, 6:27pm
Not "Meh," but "Yeah!"
This is a really fun story. It's nothing too new or original, but the way the author pulls it off makes it much better than the usual fare in this genre.
My favorite story is the main one, and I think that couple is pretty darn adorable. There are a few surprise-kiss situations that I thought were really cute (that's unusual for me, because normally surprise-kisses aren't done well).
I'd definitely recommend reading the main story. The side story is...okay. I wasn't really a fan. That's why I rated this a 9.5 and not 10.
I bought it and I loved it
Despite everybody's comment of this manga being 'meh', for me, this one is really good. I like how she draws out characters and body, also the way she told a story. And somehow the subtle erotica found in her works suit me better than the super hot smut, like for example: Musou Catalog.
This is a definite favorite and I recommend it for everyone who loves soft BL! XD
I lost interest :/ this doesn't usually happen to me, but it wasn't interesting enough to keep my attention... i read up until chapter 4 but it felt sort of like a chore... the arts ok, the story is ok too i guess, but theres not much to it... its just a bit too plain i guess?
not horrible but not really good either.
these two stories are not particularly strong. the first one starts out well, but in the end i don't really see saitou's rationale for getting romantically interested in akimoto; that seems to come out of the blue. it's ye olde persistence meme a lot of manga has going on; if you just hold on long enough, push yourself at them every chance you get, and do nice things for them, the person you like will end up liking you back. uh hn. if only. my western sensibilities don't like stalker-y memes.
the second story has less of an issue with rationale, because here we have the trope of the childhood promise; if you buy that, then you can buy taka falling for yoshirou. for me is was too rushed; there wasn't enough shown for me to see it happen.
i am rating it better than average mostly because the stories don't make me roll my eyes at 50,000 rpm, but instead hold my interest at least a little bit. and i like natsume's art; it's not super impressive, but she does great expressions, and i love her eyes.
... Last updated on March 24th, 2011, 8:26pm
Manga with two stories in it. The first story is totally adorable about a guy who has hero worship for a guy he saw doing judo. He joins the school because he admires his sempai. The sempai then makes the guy his little slave. Both the characters are great, very lovable and I love their interaction. It could have used more! I would have loved if the complete volume was their story and skipping the second story.
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i didnt like the uke (yoshirou) in one of stories he spends all his time sleeping with people for money he was even sleeping with a guy and two girls at the same time, he even brings home some random girl to his cousins house. his cousin (taka) comes off as an idiot, why in the world does he fall for this guy? also yoshirous character is inconsistent in the beginning he comes off as a jerk obsessed with sex and money but then they make it seem like he is sweet and in love with Taka, it was unrealistic. plus, they seemed more like brothers to me than lovers, except for Yoshirous constant sexual harassment.
... Last updated on December 27th, 2008, 4:29pm
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