This month, we are getting another English language release from co-creator of anime megahit Yuri on Ice Mitsurou Kubo’s back catalogue. This time, it’s courtesy of Vertical as they present a deluxe collection of the series that turned her into a star in Japanese publishing.
Yukiyo Fujimoto’s life has been in a rut. He is about to turn thirty and has never held a steady job or had a girlfriend. And at a time when the prospects for hope seem at their lowest, suddenly his phone blows up! Out of the blue he is contacted by several women from his past! His moteki has finally come! Love has struck and cupid’s arrow has hit him repeatedly and, coincidentally, all at the same time! Yukiyo may seem to have many options now, but is he ready for love? And are any of these women? The stage for love might be set, but the time might only be right for him to finally grow up!
Moteki is a hard manga to classify as it frequently straddles the line between comedy and tragedy. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Yukiyo when his personal life never appears to be in order as he struggles with his failure of meeting the expectations he set for himself when he was younger. To make matters worse, every time he thinks he finally has made a progressive step or finally found romance, he is usually knocked down in rather soul crushing ways. That said, his personality and the way Kubo presents his exploits make for plenty of funny moments. This mostly manifests in Yukiyo’s moments of paranoia and panic, with a standout being when he imagines meeting his younger self that mostly consists of his younger self berating him for how disappointing his life has turned out and how he failed to achieve anything meaningful as far as a love life goes.
The series can also be interpreted as turning the traditional manga harem romance on its head. As you’d expect from that genre, there’s a core cast of very different female characters. Unlike most entries in that genre though, Yukiyo does not have the good fortune of having all these characters inexplicably falling in love with him. It makes for some a fascinating read as Yukiyo realises that his childish expectations of love and the ideas that he and his friends fostered are in no way feasible in the real world.
As seen in Again!!, Kubo is very strong in the art department. Her sense of fashion and design are on full display in this volume and all the characters have distinctive looks. Yukiyo in particular is a great character design that goes through several physical changes whilst maintaining a visual identity throughout that works in both the comedic and sadder moments.
Moteki might be hard for some to read, but it is a fresh and funny take on how adult life can sometimes not pan out as one hoped. This is another strong entry in Kubo’s impressive body of work.
9781945054808 – P/B – £15.99
Post by Leo