CRUSHING LOVE (ADVANCE REVIEW)

Posted On December - 7 - 2007
  RELEASED BY:   DIGITAL MANGA PUBLISHING
  AUTHOR / ART:  

RITSU NATSUMIZU

  FORMAT:   JAPANENSE / B&W
  PAGES:   200
  RATING:   M
  RELEASE DATE:   12/12/2006
  REVIEW DATE:   12/07/2007
  REVIEWED BY:   HOLLY ELLINGWOOD

A petty bet and a quest for revenge lead to true love as the first of the scintillating stories in the all new yaoi anthology Crushing Love from Ritsu Natsumi, creator of Love Bus Stop.

Four tales of scandal, titillation and romance between handsome young men are found in this collection. The first and longest of the stories is the one that shares the same title as the anthology. To get back at the lover who used, abused and dumped him, handsome and rugged Kuroda has made it his life’s goal to get rich as revenge. When his ex shows up on his doorstep, begging for cash, Kuroda seizes his chance for some payback. He makes a bet. He’ll leave the money his ex wants out in a park on a bench with a note for it to be used freely. If the money gets turned into the police, his ex can have it, if not, bad luck for the hapless beggar on his doorstep. But things take an unexpected turn for Kuroda when a pretty young man finds the money and he’s in deep trouble. Kuroda soon finds himself falling in love while lying about his true motives to the man stealing his heart.

This is a full romantic tale. It does a great job of keeping the reader guessing as to what will happen next. It’s a real soap opera with secrets, paybacks, and romance getting misdirected, misunderstood and hopefully found at the end. The two follow up stories involve one of the main secondary character of the first tale. Yuki appeared as the smooth and manipulative guy with a twisted sense of fun in the lives of Kaoru and Kuroda. Here we find out more about the lecherous tyrant in an amusing tale of one-sided live from the perspective of his loyal male servant Sei. But not everything may be as it seems when Sei’s life is thrown into turmoil after his boss gets a marriage arrangement in the works. Sei, who has stayed quiet about his feelings all these years might just take the leap into confessing his feelings if he doesn’t run away first! It’s a much more comedic story than the first one and very entertaining with a slightly twisted sense of humor to it.

The last two stories involve students and unrequited love in each case. First is the affair between the unlikely student council member upright student and the playboy of the school. The last story tackles what happens when casual sex turns into overwhelming passion for two male friends. Each story has its poignant moments and offers some of the more explicit scenes in the manga.

The art style is nice and flows well and cleanly. There are some moments of playful bondage and some unexpectedly racy scenes on occasion within the manga. The characters benefit from each having a unique design. Kuroda in particular strikes the rugged and handsome mark in illustration.

IN SUMMARY:
Crushing Love is a yaoi anthology about love and passion when it overwhelms reason and common sense to take over the heart.

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