Colorful Line

カラフルライン [Colorful Line]Mangaka:  Kei Ichikawa

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tomoki and Shousuke have been friends ever since they met in school. Tomoki–constantly bubbling over with energy and emotion–falls for every girl who shows an interest in him . . . and comes crying to Shou-chan when the relationship inevitably falls apart. Honestly, the one relationship he’s consistent in is his friendship with Shou-chan. To complicate matters, Shousuke likes Tomoki as more than a friend, which makes seeing him cycle through an endless stream of girls even harder. But still, determined to at least maintain their friendship, Shousuke stubbornly refuses to acknowledge his own feelings until one night when they’ve drank a little too much (to soothe Tomoki after being dumped again, naturally), things are said and done that will change their relationship forever. The question is, is Shousuke brave enough to deal with the consequences?

For a single-volume manga, I though Colorful Line was really cute. It’s shounen ai (you’ve been warned), but it’s more about the beginnings of their relationship, the awkward transition between friendship and love. The art is really nice, a style bridging somewhere between shoujo and josei but emphasizing the attractiveness (and individuality) of the guys. The facial expressions, in particular, are great! That’s largely due to the fact that the two main characters are really interesting. Tomoki’s emotions are seriously all over the place, but he’s remarkably straightforward and true to himself in the midst of all of it–even when he’s being totally blonde. Though the really blonde one is Shou-chan who, despite seeming like the serious, logical one, is astonishingly naive at times. They’re both cute in different ways, and it’s fun to see how their relationship develops over the course of the story. I think the one consistent complaint that I share with other readers is that, because it’s so short, the story can seem a bit rushed, maybe under-developed. It reminds me a bit of Touko Kawai’s manga in that regard–but like Kawai-san’s writing, Colorful Line works well in spite of its brevity. For lovers of cute shounen ai, this is definitely recommended.

Note: Sadly, to my knowledge, there is no official translation of this manga available; however, there are some good fan translations available until some publisher gets around to publishing this in English.

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