ALLEY OF FIRST LOVE (Hatsukoi Yokochô, “Alley of First Love”) ?????) •
Ellie Mamahara • BLU (2008) • Tokuma Shoten (2006) • 1 volume • Yaoi • 16+ (mild sexual situations)
“Let’s be friends forever and ever.” Dark-haired Shusuke once dreamed of being a pro soccer player, but now he works at the family liquor store. When his childhood friend Atsushi returns from six years in England, Shusuke’s feelings are sent into confusion. The “childhood friends turned lovers” premise is handled well here, with perceptive, sweet character writing and strong art. The romantic leads are sexy, full-lipped guys with huge hands, but the supporting characters–Shusuke’s grandmother, Atsushi’s kindergarten-age nieces–are also fully rendered, making the story feel like a warm slice-of-life. Although there’s no onscreen sex, Atsushi and Shusuke’s relationship is believable and sympathetic, touching the reader in the right emotional places, if not the physical ones.
*** (three stars)
Today’s manga winner is Ashley M. of Washington. Congratulations, Ashley! And here’s a photo of Ben L., one of the previous winners of 365 Days of Manga. I’ll be back with more reviews and winners tomorrow!