Manga Review: Star

"Even though I'm ok with casting others away, I'm afraid of being cast away.  Even though I don't believe in continual love, I like songs about eternal love.  I'm just full of hypocrisy." - Sudou

"Star" is a one volume manga about the lives of two co-workers, the antisocial yet sensitive scientist Sudou and the caring and mature businessman Hirokawa.  When the book starts out, we meet Hirokawa, who is trying to befriend the aloof Sudou, despite the fact that Sudou has a cold attitude and a reputation of being an unfaithful womanizer.  Although the rumors were flying at work about the type of person Sudou was, Hirokawa knew that there was more to him than what he saw at work, since he had seen a hint of Sudou's real personality when he saw him playing in a jazz street band.  As the two began to form a friendship, Sudou began to re-evaluate his behavior and without even realizing it, started to open up more with his co-workers and with other people.  Spending more and more time together, the two men come to develop mutual feelings for one another and slowly form a relationship.  Through being with Hirokawa, Sudou learned that he was capable of finding happiness and was worthy of being loved.

This book was a completely refreshing read.  I initially picked it up because I knew that it was one story that filled the entire book, and sadly, that is becoming harder and harder to find lately.  I didn't want to read an anthology or a story with half the book made up of unrelated filler stories.  So I was very happy to find that not only was it a full story, but that it was also a really good one at that.  This book didn't have any plot twists or over the top angst, it was just a nice story about two people falling in love with one another while also having regular lives.  Sometimes it's nice to read a book where the characters come across as regular people.  Both Hirokawa and Sudou were well rounded and believable characters, and not only that, but the side characters were really normal as well.  Sasaki and Shinobu were also really likable characters, and it was particularly nice to see that Shinobu was a mature, confident, self-reliant woman.  Female characters like that (or even sometimes female characters at all) are not found that often in yaoi manga.  I really liked the fact that the two of them were able to also have their stories tied up in the end of the book as well.  The only thing that kind of bothered me about this book was how sometimes I didn't know what the characters were talking about.  I don't know if it was the translation or what, but sometimes I would have to re-read a page a few times because I was at a complete loss at what the characters were arguing about.  But it was only in a few spots and didn't really affect my enjoyment of the story.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is completely tired of anthologies, two characters suddenly falling in love for absolutely no reason, or yaoi cliches (such as weepy ukes and questionable consent during love scenes).  If you are looking for a book that has two guys (faults and all) who fall in love and find happiness with each other without all the crazy drama, then this should be something you will enjoy.  I would also recommend "Words of Devotion" by the same author.  I read that series before this one, and I have found that I really enjoy her work and that her stories are usually very solid.  These books will never be my absolute favorites, but they will always have a place on my bookshelf, and I will always enjoy reading through them again and again.

- Liz