I can’t believe I haven’t made a post here in almost a week! Oh, life. So, those who follow me on Twitter will know that I spent last evening hurriedly writing a review, which is not something I was certain I could do. Usually I read a book, think about it for three days, and only then can I even begin to put down any kind of words about it. Last night I attempted to read and review in the same evening. And here is the result! Volume six of Totally Captivated, reviewed at Manga Recon. This is a Korean boys’ love manhwa (published by NETCOMICS) which I enjoyed quite a bit, particularly in its final volume. It’s got a somewhat ridiculous premise, but the characters are extremely well-written and it provides the kind of emotional complexity I love best.
It’s worth noting, too, that I experienced almost none of the readability issues with Totally Captivated at NETCOMICS that I had with Let Dai, which leads me to believe that Let Dai was a victim of particularly poor scanning or reproduction that may even reflect issues with the print volumes.
Speaking of BL manhwa, I also recently read NETCOMIC’s U Don’t Know Me which, despite its weird netspeak title, is actually a really nice BL one-shot. Michelle reviewed it in yesterday’s Manga Minis, and I don’t have much to say that she didn’t, though I am slightly disappointed that it falls into the same old habit of basically ignoring the characters’ sexuality aside from their feelings for each other. I know that it plays into a lot of women’s fantasies to make a couple of guys gay only for each other (rather than gay in general), but it’s also offensive on a lot of levels, and I wish BL authors would stop pandering to that. That said, it’s a very nice story with fantastic characters and a warm, delicate feel, so I’d second Michelle’s recommendation.
Speaking of recommendations, one more link before I go, to Ed Sizemore’s detailed, thoughtful, and all-around awesome write-up of the first twenty volumes of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles at Comics Worth Reading. I love this series, and he writes beautifully about it. Go read!
Michelle Smith saysMarch 17, 2009 at 12:17 pm
You do get a little bit of Seyun’s general gayness. Like, him hanging out with the (notoriously) gay guy at school and getting a bunch of tips from him (before he ever even got together with Yoojin) and also getting a package of lube and condoms in the mail so that he’d be prepared whenever he got to actually do something. :)
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 17, 2009 at 12:18 pm
Yeah, but didn’t you get the feeling from some stuff he said that all of it was in the hopes of getting together with Yoojin in the future? Maybe I misread that.
Michelle Smith saysMarch 17, 2009 at 12:22 pm
I didn’t really think ALL of it was. Probably if Yoojin had never responded, Seyun would’ve found some other guy. :)
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 17, 2009 at 12:24 pm
Well, I really hope so. Heh, there were times even during *this* story when I thought he should potentially find some other guy. :D
Michelle Smith saysMarch 17, 2009 at 12:26 pm
Yeah. One thing you said in your Totally Captivated review really applied to Seyun and Yoojin as well, though:
“…made tolerable only by the fact that Ewon proves many times over that he is capable of extracting himself from any situation he truly does not want to be a part of…”
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 17, 2009 at 12:29 pm
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 17, 2009 at 12:34 pm
I would say this is perhaps even more the case in U Don’t Know Me. Ewon is mostly just *ballsy* and not afraid to speak his mind, which is generally effective with Mookyul when he wants it to be. Seyun, on the other hand, could probably kick Yoojin’s ass, regardless of his size.
Michelle Smith saysMarch 17, 2009 at 12:45 pm
Yep, he probably could. He’s always got that knife, after all. :)
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 17, 2009 at 12:51 pm
And he’s seriously a bad-ass. I *heart* Seyun. :D
Danielle Leigh saysMarch 17, 2009 at 12:58 pm
Totally Captivated continues the tradition of crazy melodramatic / violent Korean BL. Like, do they have ever nice, sweet BL? Sometimes I wonder…
Of course I LOVE TC and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sixth volume (I really do want the material volume, and so am trying to resist the on-line version).
Really great review, glad to see this series get some love!
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 17, 2009 at 1:00 pm
At least in TC they don’t read each other poetry. ;D
Thank you! I’m thrilled that you liked the review, and I admit I’m a little wrapped up in TC right now after my marathon read, so comments are making me very very happy. :D
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 17, 2009 at 1:02 pm
Oh, and on a side-note, did you notice I said “mob madness” at one point in the review? ;D
Danielle Leigh saysMarch 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm
*chortles* Oh god. That is my favorite kind of joke, I think :-)
And whoops, didn’t thread my last reply to you correctly, sorry about that!
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm
And no worries! People do that all the time.
Danielle Leigh saysMarch 17, 2009 at 1:02 pm
heh. I remember when I bought the first volume…I was like MUST GO GET THE REST RIGHT NOW! Oh god, was I obsessed. I needed the other volumes (2-4 out at the time) that second.
God. It was so addictive, I completely know where you are coming from….
Melinda Beasi saysMarch 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm
I think you will really like volume six. Especially if you’ve been craving a little bit of sweetness in your Korean BL. :)