Desire: Dangerous Feelings by Maki Kazumi and Yukine Honami: C+

The boys’ love manga Desire, published by DMP in 2004, was one of the first titles I read in that genre and remains one of my favorites. The story’s original creators team up once again for Desire: Dangerous Feelings, a novelization of the manga’s events that also includes some new material continuing where the original left off.

Timid high school student Toru Maiki has secretly loved his popular friend Ryoji for a long time. One day at lunch, Ryoji unexpectedly and shamelessly tells Toru, “When I look at you, I get turned on.” Toru, paranoid about his feelings being discovered, reacts angrily. Later, however, when Ryoji insists they sleep together so he can see what it’s like, Toru goes along with it with the hope that doing so will get thoughts of Ryoji out of his system. This, of course, does not happen, and as the boys continue their purely physical relationship, Toru suffers a great deal of heartache from sleeping with someone he loves who does not feel the same way about him.

Because I am familiar with the original story, it’s hard to know how well the text-only version would work for someone who can’t bring Yukine Honami’s expressive artwork to mind to accompany the action (the sporadic illustrations don’t add much). The language used is very simple and, though the smattering of new details is welcome, some poignancy is lost in this format. In the manga, we’re able to see Toru’s face as he struggles with his thoughts and feelings. In the novelization, those same moments are presented in an almost clinical fashion. Here’s an example:

Toru felt like he was going to have a breakdown just thinking about it. He thought if every day would be this stressful then he would die.

The novel also fares poorly in regards to Desire’s one serious flaw: non-consensual scenes. Ryoji basically forces Toru to have sex with him a couple of times and though Toru eventually relents, I doubt that Ryoji would’ve stopped even if he hadn’t. Though unpleasant in any format, these scenes are worse to read in the novel because it’s more clear how much discomfort and pain Toru is experiencing.

At this point, it may seem like the novel is at a complete disadvantage to the manga, but it has an ace up its sleeve: a second half comprised entirely of new material. It’s not much of an ace, though, as the continuation of Toru and Ryoji’s story relies heavily on misunderstandings and each boy doubting the other’s feelings for its plot. It also seems like all they ever do is have sex. They don’t hang out outside of school or go on dates or anything. They just boff, and when they aren’t boffing, they’re talking about boffing.

Ultimately, I must conclude that the novelization doesn’t add much to the original story. Completists might appreciate knowing what happened next, but really, it’s nothing to get excited about.

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

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind