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Live for Love Vol. #01 Manga Review

3 min read

Live for Love CoverWhen light and silly is what you want.

Creative Staff:
Writer/Artist: Jun Mayama
Translation: Leona Wong

What They Say
Yasuie and Yoshiyuki run a detective agency in Tokyo’s gay neighborhood of Shinjuku Nichome. They have no money and no work, though they live an easy life, scraping by one day at a time. But one day something sets Yoshiyuki off – and he’s going to quit!

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Yasuie Kiryuuin and Yoshiyuki Nomura are owner and employee of the Kiryuuin Detective Agency operating out of Shinjuku Nichome in Tokyo. In a flashback to their first meeting, we learn that Nomura, a graduate of Tokyo University, has quit his job with the Ministry of Finance, where he was a top employee. His baggage is a deep feeling of alienation stemming from his origins as a locker foundling and the sense of not belonging when his adoptive parents have their own biological son. Kiryuuin assures Nomura that he has a place at the agency and Nomura signs on. Kiryuuin would like Nomura to sign on for something a lot more intimate and Nomura spends a lot of his working and non-working time fending off Kiryuuin’s advances.

The agency is not very successful. What legitimate detective jobs they get, Kiryuuin either doesn’t charge or loses money on. Their days seemed to be filled with finding the local working girls cats and shampooing them. (Soap girls can’t wash their own pets?) This level of activity does catch up with them and the agency is seriously in arrears in its rent and the landlady is pressured by the local yakuza to boot the non-payers.

In the seven years that Nomura has been with the agency, he’s resolved none of the issues that drove him from his family and his profession, so that in answering the call from his mother to come to the hospital bedside of his ailing father, his desire for acceptance leads him to agree to join the family again as an assistant to his father in business, and as a big brother to his junior high school age brother. He also agrees to a marriage interview. This is bad news for Kiryuuin and his behavior on hearing this news makes Nomura feel that his leaving is justified.

Of course, neither Nomura and Kiryuuin adjust to their new separateness and, although Kiryuuin has been constant in his affections for Nomura, he needs to find a way to get Nomura to be honest with his.

Live for Love is a detective story in circumstance only; this no Fake. Do not expect a crime-solving duo here. The guys find cats and clean them.

Characterization also derails Live for Love. It’s very hard to believe that these guys have worked together for seven years and that the issue of attraction is only coming up now. The interactions read as if the acquaintance is recent, certainly no longer than a couple of years.

The sex scenes are adequate, they let the reader in on the action. While the art is attractive and the panels are well-placed and well-paced, the scenes seem light on energy and passion. There is non-con here, but if the reader isn’t informed of it, the events of chapter three are not much different from the “con” that closes out the volume.

If you can gloss over the improbabilities presented, Live For Love provides a decent, humorous read.

In Summary:
This is a piece that’s essentially a comedy, a silly and superficial one, in spite of the seriousness in Nomura’s backstory. There are a few occasions where the reader would expect some action based on it, but it’s never acted on or it is played off as a joke. I’m still not sure what to think of Kiryuuin bowing to a row of coin lockers and asking permission to take care of their son. I laughed, but I did have to ask myself if that was the way a man in love should handle a matter so at the core of his would-be lover’s problem.


Content Grade: C
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B

Age Rating: 18+
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
Release Date: March 11th, 2009
MSRP: $12.95

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