Thursday, April 06, 2006

Pastel, v.2

By Toshihiko Kobayashi
Published in the US by Del Rey Manga

Slugline: Mugi's relationship problems with Yuu, the cute girl living in his house, are only compounded when an old friend, Manami, reenters the picture.

Fan service. Let's talk about that up front. Fan service is the occasional panty shot, wet t-shirt, etc., of female characters, presumably in order to keep the attention of the hormonal male. Most anime and manga have some, at which point I usually just nod and continue.

Not Pastel. The book is filled with fan service. Mugi is continually teased and unnerved and left in a permanent state of frustration by the female form. Which is, to a certain extent, how I remember the teenage years being.

I have yet to read the first volume, but this volume introduces Manami, who teases him over having Yuu living in house, along with her little sister, due to a promise by his father to their now-dead father. However, he agrees to help out Mugi and Yuu smooth things out with friends and neighbors. Manami is introduced as an old friend that was interested in Mugi but didn't approach him because of his former relationship with her best friend. Yuu realizes Manami's interest and tries to keep out of the way, and by the end of the volume Manami has Mugi cornered and has let him know that Yuu is interested. I think. Guys in these kinds of series can be denser than depleted uranium.

Still, despite the constant fan service, I like how things are progressing. Now if this series devolves into a harem-like title, where Mugi is surrounded by a half dozen women that all like him and he them but still doesn't resolve anything or even make any progress, the rating for the series will drop. But for the moment, it is a somewhat reasonable and interesting love triangle.

As long as Mugi doesn't chicken out. And there was a scene in this volume with him relating to Yuu's sister, Tsukasa, that gives me hope he won't.

- Ferdinand

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