It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed anything. Gomen! Gomen! And, I feel worse since I have to come to you with a less than stellar (if kinda cute?) BL.
Initially, the story of Anata no Jinsei Hikiukemasu / I’ll Take Over Your Life! appealed to me because I’m always fascinated by any manga that gives a glimpse into the daily life of a mangaka. However, I’m NEVER fond of the underage look, so I almost put it down… but then it turned out to be far more sweet than smutty and, thus, I pushed ever onward. (It’s only one volume, so…. it wasn’t even a very strenuous push.)
The basic set-up here is that we have Saijou, an ambitious salaryman who has been working in the sales department of a successful manga magazine. Saijou, however, is not the best with people and runs afoul of his bosses and ends up being “demoted” to the job of editor.
Okay, taking a moment here to process this. In American book publishing, this is not how things work–at least not the way I understand them to work. In fact, to my understanding, this could happen the OTHER direction. Editor is considered a skilled position. Yes, salespeople would get a much bigger salary than an editor, but, NORMALLY, editor is a job title you have to have earned via experience/an MFA/something like that in order to land. There are graduate students starving in grotty New York City apartments right now reading ‘slush’ at publishing houses as unpaid (or low paid) interns with the hopes of eventually working their way up to the editorial staff. You don’t just get dropped into the job because you f*cked up somewhere else.
However, in the U.S., you could totally get fired from editing and end up in marketing or publicity.
I could see that scenario. The publicity department, for instance, had so many staff changes that I had one book that must have had a half-dozen publicists because people kept quiting. (Also, maybe I was a low-level mildest author that no one wanted to have to deal with, but you get my point.)
Regardless–I am fascinated by this flip. Does this happen in Japan? Do people with zero interest in the manga industry end up in charge of storylines/mangaka? Do people who are complete screw-ups in other departments get demoted to the job of editor?
If so, THEN THIS EXPLAINS SO MUCH.
Anyway, back to my quick summary: So, this former salesman Saijou gets assigned a problematic mangaka, Inorizono-sensei, who is very popular, but who is living in a garbage-filled studio and has a lot of trouble making deadline, despite his “super-assistant” (who, weirdly, looks a lot like him, physically.)
Romance sparks when Saijou sweeps in to basically run Inorizono’s life for him, so he can focus on his creative work.
Yes, I’ll admit it. This is when the romance started working for me. An editor who would come to my house and clean it for me? Bring me snacks and meals so that all I had to do was sit and write/draw?
I AM ALREADY IN LOVE A LITTLE WITH THIS IMAGINARY EDITOR.
I would have loved this manga a lot more, however, if it were a little less cutesy?
Kamo-sensei uses that device that I have seen elsewhere, where, when characters are under stress, they turn into small animals. It’s a metaphor, of course, but it’s one of those tropes that’s a bit jarring to this Western reader, no matter how often I see it used or how much I understand the point of it. I suspect, if I were a different person, this device would serve to make Inorizono and his assistant more sympathetic. As it is, the aesthetic is wasted on me.
I don’t mind it? But, I find myself sort of mentally rolling my eyes every time it happens. It’s like, “Oh, look, sensei an his assistant are tiny, sobbing bunny-like animals again… whatever.”
Plus, too, for me–who was already feeling a bit squicked by the massive height/age difference between the two love interests–the infantilizing of this particular character just served to turn me off even more.
So, I was reading for the plot?
Yes, that’s right, I was reading it for “the articles,” and that can’t be good for BL/yaoi.
Because, then, rather than skimming the story for the smutty bits, I start analyzing WAY TOO MUCH, and I start being annoyed by the meta trope of “What I’m feeling is just like what they write in those shoujo manga; it must be LOVE!”
I fear for a generation of manga readers who judge Real Life ™ Love by what they have read in manga… particularly, if they’re deciding to go gay on a quickening pulse, shortness of breath, and flushed face.
First, GO TO THE DOCTOR to make sure it’s not asthma, and then you know, try considering whether or not you are also entertaining fantasies about seeing this person naked and kissing them or cuddles or you can’t get them out of your mind and every day when something happens your first thought is, “oh, I need to tell so-and-so about that,” because OMG, any of that is a much better indicator of sexual attraction/love than shortness of breath!
I mean, hyperventilating is a real medical issue, friends. Do not base who you date by your ability to BREATHE.
Okay, enough of that. If you like cute and aren’t turned off by the underage look, then this one might be worth a spin. It’s certainly short and self-contained enough to quickly buzz through in one sitting.
And, you know, I do like a lover who will take care of me. That’s a lovely fantasy.