La Satanica by Momoko Tenzen: B+

lasatanicaWhen Shoji Mashita spots his classmate Motoki Matsushima lovingly caressing his (Mashita’s) desk, he abruptly realizes that Matsuhima has feelings for him. He narrates that he’s okay with this, since he respects Matsushima as a friend, but he can’t resist tormenting him since his reactions are so violent. Eventually, Mashita realizes that he has feelings for Matsushima, too, and they share a pretty intense encounter in the boys’ bathroom until Matsushima suggests they adjourn to his home and Mashita suddenly gets cold feet.

Matsushima tries to figure out what he’s done wrong, and Mashita finally confesses that he’s afraid of the next step. From this point on, the boys become fairly obsessed with doing it. I prefer stories more about love than lust, myself, but the depiction of their awkwardness is well done and one really must appreciate that they take a whole chapter to really, really make sure that it’s what both of them want. “Are you only doing this for my sake? Are you positive about this?” “If I didn’t want to be here, I wouldn’t be.” That alone earns La Satanica major points in my book.

I’ve been impressed by Tenzen’s powers of characterization in her short stories, so it’s no surprise that they’re on even better display in this full-length story. Both characters are very endearing, to the point where it’s almost embarrassing to see them in bed together, and Tenzen’s expressive art makes the heartfelt confessions of their feelings and insecurities that much more sympathetic. The result is a BL manga that manages to be sweet and sexy simultaneously, which is no small feat.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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