Manga Review: Junjo Romantica (vol 5)

"I try so hard everyday to put words together to express an emotion, but you use so few...  It's with those few words you use that you get the point across so much clearer." - Usami

This series continues to really impress me, and I fall in love with the characters even more with every volume that is released.  The book starts out with the "Romantica" chapters, where we pick up where we left off in volume 4.  Usami has just won the award for his novel and is supposed to appear at a party in his honor held by his publishing company.  The party takes place at a fancy hotel, and Misaki comes along with Usami.  On the way to the hotel, Misaki meets Usami's older brother Haruhiko on the train.  We quickly find out that things are very strained between the writer and his family, and that Haruhiko didn't even know about the flowers that were sent in his name.  Words are exchanged, and Misaki steps in to defend his lover, much to the delight of Usami.  And just when things start getting really interesting with this couple, the focus shifts to the next couple, and we are left to wait until volume 6 to see more of Usami and Misaki. 

This volume introduces a new couple into the mix, involving Hiroki's co-worker, Professor Miyagi, and Miyagi's ex brother-in-law, Shinobu.  35 year old Miyagi can't for the life of him understand why Shinobu, a high school student and his ex wife's younger brother, would fall in love for him, and quite frankly, he just wants things to go back to normal.  Shinobu's persistence pays off in the end though, as Miyagi agrees that he would like to try falling in love with the young man.  The book closes with a very short chapter with the "Egoist" couple, Hiroki and Nowaki, where Nowaki tries to make good of his promise from the last book.  This book was the first BLU release I've picked up since they've raised the price, and I must say that I love having a color page!

I absolutely loved the "Romantica" chapters, as my favorite couple in the series is Misaki and Usami.  I was really looking forward to finding out what happened between Usami and his family, although his conversation with his brother really just left me with more questions than answers.  But I guess that is what future volumes are for!  I just love Misaki so much, and his relationship with Usami has really come a long way.  His standing up for his boyfriend was just too cute for words, and the whole scene with the suits was so them.  I also especially enjoyed the scene where Misaki was picking out the flowers, as we had already seen it from Nowaki's point of view in the last book.  I love it in books when we get to see the characters from a different person's point of view, and this series has been really good about that.  In this book, I finally realized how much I like Hiroki and Nowaki.  It only took having them relegated to a few pages to make me realize how much I enjoy them.  Their scene was much too short!  I must say that the place this book let me down was with the new "Terrorist" chapters.  I found the couple really boring and didn't really enjoy their scenes together.  I hope that they only had a huge portion of the book because it was their introduction.  I would hate to see the "Romantica" and "Egoist" couples take a backseat in future volumes to the new characters.  Hopefully they will grow on me in the next couple of books.

I think that the art has been improving over the course of the series, as there aren't as many noticeably weird proportions.  I just love the way the artist draws the characters' eyes.  Misaki, especially, shows so much emotion in every panel because of his eyes.  However, as much as I love this series, there is a problem I have been noticing in the past few books, and it is of no fault of the author.  There are so many spelling errors and misused words in the translation and it is really getting annoying now. I've overlooked it in the earlier books because I didn't think an occasional word here and there was a big deal, but it is still occurring.

This is such a fun series to read.  I adore the two main couples and the storyline is so full and intriguing.  Here we are in volume 5, and I feel that it is still going as strong as it has been all along.  I actually think I've enjoyed books 3 through 5 more than the first two, because I prefer reading about couples once they are already established in their relationships.  And by now, Hiro and Nowaki have already been together for 6 years.  Granted, their scenes in the first book took place before the current timeline, but still.  I am really looking forward to the next book - I can't wait to see what the author has in store for us next!

- Liz