Rakuen Le Paradis (楽園 Le Paradis) Manga, Volume 5

May 4th, 2011

I have been singing the praises of Rakuen Le Paradis (楽園 Le Paradis) magazine since the first volume. We’re up to the 5th volume and I really have nothing more to say about it that I haven’t already said. So, instead, I’m just going to talk about the series I like best in it.

The first of these is “Collectors” by Nishi UKO. This is a series of short vignettes about two adult women who have been together since college. They clearly love one another, but they have a problem – they have competing space issues. Shinobu obsessively collects books and Takako does the same with clothes. Their friends are well aware of their foibles and it provides as much amusement for them as it does annoyance. ^_^ I love this series because it is precisely what I always say I’m looking for – after “happily after after.” And it is drawn by one of my favorite artists.This is not high drama, this is the kind of boring, delightful every-day drama of making a life with another person. I adore this manga and can’t wait for it to come out in a collected volume.

Next up is Takamiya Jin’s “Omoi no Kakera.” This story has shifted considerably from where I thought it was going. A gay boy’s younger sister has begun to find herself obsessed with the lesbian girl, Mika, who befriended her brother. When Mayu sees Mika head into a love hotel with another woman, unexpectedly strong feelings of jealousy surface. This story really stands out to me for the discussion of what it means to “be gay.” Do all gay people sleep with anyone or do they only sleep with people they love…or is it different for everyone?  Obviously, it’s different for everyone, but Mayu’s just trying to make sense of her brother’s life and it’s not helping at all that she’s finding herself interested in another girl.

Of the straight romances, my favorite is Mizutani Fuka’s  “14-sai no Koi,” a story about two unusually mature young people. They are both smart, very together and they are in love. But, as grown-up as they act, they are still just 14 and their feelings for each other are captured with tenderness and lack of nostalgia, but very cutely. Really, they are just an incredibly cute teen couple. ^_^

I also love Kowo Kazuma’s “Dear Tear,” another young love story about a boy who hate girls who cry and a girl who hates crying and their tentative and awkward courtship.

While these are my favorite series, there’s a good other handful I really enjoy. Nakamura Asamiko, Unita Yumi, Ninomiya Hikaru and Shigisawa Kaya all do stories I enjoy.

I don’t know what else to say about this magazine other than I really like it.

Overall – 8

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