Saturday, November 8, 2014

Caramel - how not to make yaoi (that suits me)

Original title: カラメル
English title: Caramel
Author: Okuyama Puku
Publisher: June
Language: English
Genre: Yaoi, comedy, slice of life

I've read a lot of great reviews of that title that encouraged me to purchase it. Because it's not so easily available anymore, I've ordered a copy at my local foreign-language bookstore, waited patiently for a month, paid three times more than for average Polish manga and then was finally able to lay on the couch under the blanket and read it.

And... I totally don't understand where all these awesome reviews come from. Honestly - no idea. But let's start from the beginning.



The cover is really pretty, its color (and, of course, the title itself - duh) brings the caramel onto mind, which makes you hungry in no time. But then you open the book and see Iori - cute, long-haired young guy with the face of a child. The type I honestly hate. Okay, things get harder.

The plot itself seems somehow forced. I mean I just don't believe in a concept of a first year student who agrees on living with a stranger for doing houseworks instead of paying rent (and his parent are okay with that, cause the landlord "sounded like a nice guy on the phone"). No, no, no. The romance was also something I didn't really get in this story - Iori practically gets raped by his roommate, but falls head over heels in love with him. Huh, really? He's a lazy, demanding, selfish and always sulking guy who acts like a five year old - what is it here to fall in love with? And to sum it up - a crazy friend, who's supposed to be a funny character, but to me looked just like an idiot appearing in random situations with ridiculous grin plastered on his face. You could really throw him out of this manga and it wouldn't get any worse because of that.

The style of drawing is interesting. A bit messy, I agree, but it's not the style you keep seeing in every manga - for sure it's not one of typical yaoi drawing styles. There are not too many empty backgrounds (at least they didn't catch my eye), they're rather always somehow composed to fit the rest of the panel. I think the drawings were the best aspect of this title.



The translation is good - I didn't catch any typos or strange pieces of dialogues. But I suppose it's normal for June's editions. Fortunately, there are no "-san"s translated as "mister", which I'm really allergic to. I know there's no suitable translation for "-san" in English, but I think it's better just to make the lines of characters more polite than to force "mister" in them.

It was supposed to be a comedy - but I laughed exactly once while reading this manga. I guess you could say it's not the best result. Don't get me wrong - I don't think it was an entirely bad manga - I didn't feel the author thinks of the reader as of an idiot, but the story overall wasn't convincing at all at any point. I guess some of you may find it cute and fluffy since Iori is really a nice, sincere character, but it's simply not my cup of tea.

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