Welcome To Fake Paradise!

This is the personal writing blog for Joana Hill, creative writing major extraordinaire! Here you'll find the random ramblings and occasional writings of a girl obsessed with gay romance and the yaoi manga FAKE. You've been warned.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Yaoi Manga Monday- Sekaiichi Hatsukoi

Yep, it's another series, but unlike FAKE, this one is still going. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi (translated as various forms of "The Best First Love In The World") is currently at five volumes in Japan, with four scanlated by the group Dangerous Pleasure Scanlations and available online at various manga sites. SiH is a manga by Shungiku Nakamura, who's probably most famous for the series Junjou Romantica (which I haven't talked about yet, in case you didn't notice :P) Like Junjou, it covers multiple couples who are loosely connected to each other somehow.

Originally, SiH was licensed in America by Blu, the shonen-ai/yaoi label of TokyoPop, but as stated in my previous Yaoi Manga Monday post, TokyoPop is now defunct, and the series was dropped before it could be released. It's likely to be picked up by another group, though, so the question is more like 'when' than 'if.'

As stated, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi covers the stories of multiple couples who are loosely connected.



The main couple is Ritsu Onodera (with the brown hair) and Masamune Takano (formerly known as Masamune Saga, more on that shortly). Takano is the head editor of Emerald Magazine, a monthly anthology of shojo (that is, girl's) manga. At the start of the series, Ritsu has just quit his former job as a book editor at his father's publishing firm to prove that he can make it on his own, without the help of his family name. Things happen, and instead of being assigned to the literary department of Marukawa Publishing, he ends up in the shojo manga department. Ritsu isn't happy about this and plans to quit after a couple weeks.

But what's this? It's more complicated than that? Well of course it is. If you read the parenthetical note after Takano's name you'll know that. Ritsu and Takano knew each other in high school, and by 'knew each other' I of course mean they dated. Takano broke Ritsu's heart, however, mostly due to a misunderstanding, and Ritsu ended up jaded about love and turned from a cute, blushing boy to the prickly, irritable man he is today. They don't recognize each other at first, though. Takano's parents divorced after he and Ritsu broke up, and when his mother remarried, Takano took his new father's name. And of course, all of this leads to hilarious antics as Takano tries to win Ritsu back.

Then there's my personal favorite couple:



Kou Yukina (with the brown hair) and Shouta Kisa. Yukina is a part-time worker at Marimo Books, where he oversees the shojo manga department (which exists in Japan, because manga is huge over there). Kisa is one of Ritsu and Takano's colleagues at Emerald and just happens to be the editor of all of Yukina's favorite manga. Believe it or not, however, Kisa is thirty years old, which surprises basically everyone to no end. Kisa's young looks help him in his conquests, which mostly involve guys with cute faces that he ultimately ends up dumping. Yukina's face is what attracted Kisa in the first place, and so Kisa lurked around Marimo Books just so he could watch him from a distance, thinking it would never work out.

Of course it does. Yukina is an art student at his university, and when Kisa and him are introduced by Yokozawa, a member of the sales department at Marukawa, Yukina takes it upon himself to make promotional displays for the manga that he loves so much (as noted, all edited by Kisa). Yukina promoted the manga even before they met, acting like a host towards the teenage girls that would come in to get on their good side and make sales (which bugs Kisa). After Yukina chases off a man who was stalking Kisa after a one-night stand not once but twice, they end up confessing their feelings for each other. Naturally, however, that's just the first two chapters. Where does it go from there? Well you'll have to read it yourself!

There's actually a third couple as well, who are currently only covered in spin-off light novels and the anime.



Chiaki Yoshino (the shorter one) and Yoshiyuki Hatori. They're childhood friends and have known each other quite literally their whole lives. Tori is another editor at Emerald and is in charge of Chiharu Yoshikawa, their most popular manga-ka. Little does the public know that Chiharu Yoshikawa is actually Chiaki Yoshino, who writes under a female pen name and refuses to go to autograph sessions because he thinks it would be disappointing to his fans if they found out he's male.

Their story is somewhat simpler than the others. Tori has been in love with Chiaki forever but has been hiding it, most recently because of their editor/artist relationship. Chiaki starts to suspect he has feelings for Tori, though, which only flare when he sees what he thinks is Tori kissing Yuu Yanase, one of Chiaki's assistants. Shit happens, and Tori tries to get Chiaki assigned to another editor, to which Chiaki refuses, and they finally confess their feelings.

As stated earlier, there are also light novels and an anime. The anime is being aired in Japan as of the time of this post at 1am Saturday morning their time, and afterwards is fansubbed and put online within a few hours. You've probably seen the opening already if you've been reading this blog for a while, but here it is again, anyway:



All-in-all, it's another great series, and besides the romance, there's a lot of details about how the Japanese manga industry works, so it's educational! Well, heh, sort of. There are also cameos of characters from Nakamura's older but still on-going work that I mentioned, Junjou Romantica (Akihiko Usami is mentioned and Ryuuichirou Isaka shows up once or twice, given that he's a director of Marukawa) so it's a nice bit of crossover.

That's all for this week! Hope you enjoyed it.

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