Mangaka: Kyo Kitazawa
Warning: Mature Audience/Yaoi
Rintarou and Kyo have been best friends ever since kindergarten (despite the rocky start to their friendship–see Koishite Daddy). The trouble is, Kyo sees Rin as much more than friends–and Rin is oblivious, obsessed as he is with Natsuki (his father’s lover and his own first love). When Rin finally grows up enough to see that Natsuki is an impossible goal, he is heartbroken. Naturally, Kyo becomes his source of comfort–they know each other better than anyone else, so of course Kyo would be the person to go to–but Rin gets more than he expected. A confession, no less! But Rin still has trouble seeing Kyo as anything but a childhood friend. These two have a rocky road ahead, for sure. . . .
Love Kids!! is the sequel to Kitazawa’s Koishite Daddy, taking place years later when the children who were then in kindergarten are in high-school. The art is typical of Kitazawa’s beautiful style–aesthetically pleasing with a slightly cute flavor. The whole story’s atmosphere is almost shoujo. Koishite Daddy features mature adults and deals with adult topics and settings, but Love Kids!! focuses on high-school students and thus has a vulnerable, wavering, and uncertain feel. It’s sort of heart-poundingly innocent and exciting in that sense. Of course, since Kyo and Rin are both guys, it mostly deals with the challenges faced in that sort of relationship, but I think the feelings of these two will resonate with anyone who has experienced the uncertainties of love. While Love Kids!! is fairly innocent and less graphic than Koishite Daddy, it is still technically yaoi, and thus recommended only for adult audiences; however, I think for those who don’t mind yaoi, it’s a refreshingly pure-hearted and vulnerable story.