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A bit shallow...
Well first, I'd like to tell the previous reviewer that if you're reading manga, don't just expect it to be much realistic, especially when it comes to push one's fellings onto another, it's almost always like that in manga. I can understand why you're frustrated since I don't like it either when people are too pushy, or when a secondary character is only used to make the main couple progress (like Shizuka) without taking its feelings into consideration. But I'd like you not to push your own opinion upon us like this, I mean you can mention it, but there's no need to be rambling about it, this way you only repeat what's been done to you.
That said, it's true that it's not a memorable manga. The feelings of each characters didn't feel real, the love of Kiwamui, the hatred of Taka and then his love, and the uncaring side of Shizuka (doesn't she feel anything to hear her childhood friend confess to her?). There's the only exception of Fuji's feelings which were credible IMO. The storyline also has a lot of holes and inconsistency, but I won't repeat what's been said below about that.
Aside of that, it's a quite cute story, so if you're searching for a quick, easy-reading story and don't mind shallow characters, then this is for you.
Absolutely hated it
This story was quite horrendous in my opinion. I didn't like it at all and it was painful to read to the end (though I did finish it). Everyone is just pushing their own feelings on other people without any respect to the other person's feelings. The main character has an older man take his photo on the street, demands the roll of film, and then gets forced into a bet he doesn't want to be in by the person he really likes. The girl has major issues. I get being a yaoi fangirl, and even liking homosexuals, but to push all the boys around you into liking other men? What about her own love life? She's not interested in men at all? Or was she just cruelly stringing along her childhood friend who clearly liked her when she had no feelings towards him at all? And the pedo-photographer. What kind of man approaches a high school kid on the street, takes his photo, promises to stalk him then does so all the way to getting a job at the kid's school? A pedophile, that's who. Sure, he didn't just jump the kid and have his way, but he didn't leave the kid alone to the point that he would make the kid come after him just to make it seem a little less morally objectionable. And the only one not shoving the main character towards this pedophile stalker? The main character's male best friend who was secretly in love with him and therefore had his own agenda. It's like the main character didn't have a single friend who was actually on his side, willing to look at the situation from his point of view and side with him. They all just shoved him this way and that based on their own image of romance and what they thought was the best 'scenerio' like it was some kind of entertaining drama.
But biggest shame was on the female friend who has never had a relationship of her own and thinks it's right to push her friend who's attracted to her towards an older man without thinking about her 'friend's' life once and what it would take beyond just starting a relationship between two guys but what it would take to keep it going in a society that frowns on homosexuality. And all of it only for her own entertainment 'cause she read it in some manga once.
As for art, it was relatively poor and the overall story was horrible so I strongly recommend steering clear of this one. There are so many other good BL stories, don't bother adding this to your 'read' list. It's not even worth it even if you've read Interval or want to read Interval.
Ok...sooo...it was okay. Not good, not too bad, just okay. I do have to say that it had potential. If Itsuki-sensei had taken it to her advantage, it could be a really interesting manga, BUT it lacked some things. First of all, this plot is really overdone. The bet was just an excuse for the real plot underneath, which was just an older guy falling for a high school student and having past issues. The differential here, though, was Taka's homophobia. Itsuki-sensei could've used that to make a really unique plot (like in Koisuru Boukun). Instead, she opted not to care too much about it, and it ended up making Taka like any other uke: he doesn't really hate homosexuals, he's just unaware of his own feelings. That made the kinda story in which the seme throws the uke against the the wall and the uke's like "ahh...no...don't...ahhhn!" but actually likes it. Like I said, overdone.
Also, I think Fuji's presence in this title wasn't very good. He should've only appeared a couple of times for us to see he liked Taka and then his story should be told only in "Interval" (which, opposed to this one, is actually REALLY good).
I'm not going to say it doesn't have good points, because it is actually cute.
I'm not really a fan of Taka's (especially since I read "Interval" before "Self Portrait"), I just stand him. But I REALLY love Kiwamui. He's not my usual type of seme, but I just adore him! He's not too pushy, but he puts his feelings inside Taka's head in such a manipulative way that it's almost as if he knew right from the start how to make Taka fall for him! I totally love how he tricks Taka into doing whatever he wants again and again. He's so good at romance techniques! And even though I don't usually like clingy semes that are cheerful and all, he's always so confident too, which makes him an absolutely adorable seme! *-*
But the most important part that I liked's got nothing to do with yaoi, and it's actually the only thing I think makes this manga memorable: I.LOVE.SHIZUKA~!!! Even more than the main characters themselves or Fuji, I just love Shizuka *-* And that's because I identify with her and I would do the same thing if I was her! xD
But then there's something I REALLY didn't like: Katsuro's storyline. Like, WHAAAT?! First of all, him AND Tooya are children. They're only in 6th grade, and I hate it when the characters are bellow 15 years old or so!! There are indeed some exceptions, but this was not one of them!! And they're story's just plain strange!! Tooya's a cross-dresser (which is also something I really don't enjoy in yaoi), but is the seme even so. He's also taller than Katsuro, and seems much more mature than him, which makes it look even weirder. Katsuro doesn't try to stop him a single time even if he keeps saying he only likes him as a friend, and even that "I hate you" part was totally unconvincing! Really disturbing. Also, when Kiwamui/Taka's relationship it was finally getting good and I was into them, Itsuki-sensei suddenly changed into Katsuro's storyline!! Damn! Like everybody else said, it gave the feeling the main couple's storyline was left incomplete.
One more thing. I don't intend to be mean, but...was there even an editor to this manga? And I'm being really judgmental here, because I don't know if this was actually the scanlator's fault, but...problem is, WHY does Taka mention his brother "dating a cross-dresser" if that's only revealed to us in the last two chapters?! And from what I got, they're story is in fact still unfinished at the point Taka said that, and only goes further in "April 4th"! (which I'm probably not going to read, because it's totally not my type of story).
Some more problems that I'm not sure are related to the manga itself: first, is Shizuka actually dating Taka, as the description said?? From what I get, no. Even though he says "I have a girlfriend" right on the first chapter, it seems that either he used it as an excuse or it's all in his head. Shizuka herself said that he didn't confess to her before and she didn't seem much into it when he did either. Second issue: scanlator's fault. There are pages that are out of the order and that really sent me back a couple of parts there.
Overall, don't expect much. If you're looking for something to get you out of boredom, it's good enough. But it's not a memorable and unique manga.
PS: Did somebody else notice that Katsuro was playing Pokemon in the 8th chapter? *-*
... Last updated on April 22nd, 2011, 10:35pm
The secondary characters take over...
The story was at times light-hearted, and other times serious. It was a great grounding effect.
The girlfriend was the star, really. She was so insightful! She makes appearances in the sequels too.
The last half seemed odd, as the focus shifted to the brother and cross-dressing friend before the photographer-friends triangle resolved; it was almost as if the photographer and the main character of the first half of this story bored Itsuki-sensei, so she dumped them to secondary characters. The friend with the unrequited love has his story completely explored in Interval and the brother's story was expanded and developed nicely in April 4th, but the photographer and the main character of this story are relegated to secondary characters before they commit or resolve their past issues.
WOW. Itsuki-sensei's art really improves as time goes on. She lightens up some of the distracting toning and sharp angles and her style really evolves into the bright, crisp but very rounded shapes that she is now recognizable for.
... Last updated on January 23rd, 2010, 9:33am
It's a cute story, but it feels like it ended before it should have, like their story didn't continue to its conclusion because the author felt like focusing on the kid brother instead.
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