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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Only Words by Tina Anderson and Caroline Monaco 
11th-Jun-2007 09:10 pm
Reviewed at the request of the writer.

Anderson, Tina and Caroline Monaco. Only Words. Iris Print, 2007.
          Summary: Nazi Germany has invaded Poland, and Polish seminary student Koby finds himself taking classes with the Hitler Youth. When Koby, despite nurturing secret masochistic fantasies, bravely speaks up against his heedlessly cruel classmates, he finds himself "forced" into a sexual relationship with Oskar, one of their number. However, Oskar seems to have something on his mind besides brutality...
          Comments: An aspiring Catholic priest and a future Nazi caught up in a sadomasochistic/romantic relationship. Besides boasting two popular BL tropes (see Minami Megumu), it's the perfect formula to scandalize many...and arouse some. As I fall into neither category (not my kink, sorry, but then it's really hard to shock me), this single volume manga presented itself to me as quite simply a well-paced, polished BL manga with historical context for added texture.
          I was a bit disappointed to note that Monaco's artwork did not seem to rise to quite the level of her previous independent collaborations with Anderson; her earlier work had a stark beauty, and this time around the (over)use of screentone seemed to mitigate that effect somewhat. I was also a bit disappointed by the way in which Oskar's emerging psychological complexity is used merely for a quick-and-dirty plot twist at the end. Koby's submissive, martyr personality is pretty straightforward and, sorry, not all that interesting. But Oskar apparently wants to make love not war, though he cannot admit it and would rather die that resolve that conflict. Unfortunately, this stuff is made clear to the reader only through indirect inference; Oskar is otherwise a total cipher.
          Anyway, I can safely say that Only Words is at least as good as a great bulk of the BL manga out there...but this is not an especially high bar to clear, and I know the creators are capable of even better. Hell, I've already seen "even better" from Anderson, and if she can find a publisher with favorable terms, so will you.
          Notes: paperback, 1st edition
          Rating: 5/10 - Aesthetic brutality that's perfect for fans of hardboiled BL melodrama a la Ai no Kusabi, but this is strictly a niche audience title.
12th-Jun-2007 01:33 am (UTC) - Zowie!
this single volume manga presented itself to me as quite simply a well-paced, polished BL manga with historical context for added texture. I'm going to take this part right here, and slap it all over the place...like they do in Hollywood. ^_-

First, I do thank you for reading and reviewing. I wondered how you would feel about this one, considering you've read work from Caroline and I before, so I wondered if our pro-work might be better or worse than, our self-published material. 0_0.

But hey, at least you didn't spoil the ending like the Amazon reviewer did. *thumbs up*
12th-Jun-2007 01:38 am (UTC) - Re: Zowie!
Better or worse? Besides all the screentoned art (which I was not hot for), I'd say it's mostly just different. Original manga and parody doujinshi do not go by the same rules, despite what a lot of people seem to think. I was REALLY impressed by how excellent the pacing was; that was my one issue with your contribution to Rush #0--that it started waaaaay too slow for the number of pages you had.

But hey, at least you didn't spoil the ending like the Amazon reviewer did. *thumbs up*

Actually, I kinda did. ^^;;; Because that was something I wanted to talk about. I just didn't hammer at it, and if you're not reading closely, you might miss it.
12th-Jun-2007 01:43 am (UTC) - Re: Zowie!
I saw the comment about what he'd 'rather do' but it's not as blunt as 'HE DID THIS'. I liked the Amazon reviews, and LOVE them when they're good...but when they spoil the ending, it sort of stinks. :/ Hey, feel free to post this at Amazon...I know how much you love Amazon.com reviews!!! [snerk]
12th-Jun-2007 01:49 am (UTC) - Re: Zowie!
Do you know anyone who will post it for me or something? I refuse to hold an account with Amazon anymore, and, last I checked, you have to log in to leave a review. *sighs* My days of bitch-slapping crappy authors where I know they'll see it are over.

BTW, if you're going to quote, I suggest taking out the "this single volume manga presented itself to me as quite simply" part.
12th-Jun-2007 01:58 am (UTC) - Re: Zowie!
I was kidding about quoting because no one cares when I pimp good reviews. XD They just laugh at me and sort of mentally pat my head and give me an imaginary sucker. *That's a nice review crat...nice...that's right*

12th-Jun-2007 02:10 am (UTC) - Re: Zowie!
Of course. That's because even semi-good reviews are suspect. Obviously you paid me off. ^_~

(You must not be paying enough because I didn't give you a 10/10. XD 'Course, no one would believe a 10/10 from me anyway...)
12th-Jun-2007 03:31 am (UTC) - Re: Zowie!
no one would believe a 10/10 from me anyway

This is true! XD
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