Love Gene Double X Manga (恋愛遺伝子XX )

August 1st, 2011

Please note that I do not call Love Gene Double X  (恋愛遺伝子XX ) a Yuri Manga. That’s only because I’m not sure it is, yet. I’ll reserve my judgement for future volumes.

In the future, all men have died and women, able to procreate without them, have recreated a similar dual-gender society, splitting into ADAMs and EVEs, with an almost-expected propensity for dressing in Rose of Versailles-style clothing. The story begins when transfer student Koshiro Aoi enters “Kingdom,” one of the the most elite schools in society.

Aoi, an ADAM, is welcomed into the school with a typical mix of fascination and repulsion. She’s good at her studies, and is athletically inclined as well. But she carries around a dirty wooden sword, straps her breasts down with sarashi (instead of the protectors used by the other ADAMs) and has declared that she is there take over the top position.

She is befriended by Sakura, one of the “stars” of the school. And, as she blunders around, she finds she has other allies in the school elite, as well.

Aoi needs allies too, as she inadvertently offends the top EVE, Erika-sama. In the middle of the EVE and ADAM mixer ball, Aoi finds herself having to duel Erika’s fiancé, none other than Sakura…which is where the real trouble begins. It is absolutely forbidden for ADAMs to engage in relationships with other ADAMs and Aoi is starting to have some feelings for Sakura. Luckily, she’s not so bright about such things and one of her other allies, Matsuri is able to refocus those feelings…for the moment…into desire for friendship.

Matsuri is also our greek chorus in this series. She is the one who discovers Aoi’s secret and the source of her antagonism for the school elite. Aoi’s mother was an ADAM, who became an outcast when she took the taboo route of becoming an EVE in order to marry the ADAM she loved. Matsuri tells Aoi that she is not alone in wanting to take this restrictive system down and councils Aoi not to bash around Kingdom making threats, but to work subtly from the inside.

In the meantime, Aoi challenges Sakura to a “duel” in grades and while she loses, makes herself one of the top  academic lights of the school. Sakura, Aoi, Matsuri and the last of the school stars, Mizuki, all become friends and comrades as the first volume main story comes to a close.

The extra chapter is a rather silly dream in which Aoi “learns” that the others are all really men, and she spends the next day checking their breasts to make sure they are really women.

To say that I have a lot of problems with this story is a vast understatement.

I’m super unhappy that the premise is that women, when left alone to create their own society, immediately force an extra-restrictive dual-gender society upon themselves. Same-gender role relationships are taboo, gender-role switching is even more taboo. This was really hard for me to take, but….

…on the other hand, Eiki and Zaou are immensely talented and I’m still trusting them to handle this scenario. We’ve got enough of a set-up that, given time, they *could* bring this to an amazing conclusion. But…will they be given that time? I’m not sure that Ichijinsha has given any creators more than 2 volumes so far. 5 or 6 more chapters is unlikely to bring this story to a satisfactory end.

I’m ambivalent about the potential for taboo fakey BL, the potential for a story half-assedly brought to conclusion, the potential for bad, bad lessons here and generally vexed at the whole thing. ^_^

Only the implication that the “real” story here is that Aoi and her friends might destroy these restrictions (given enough time and page count) is keeping me reading. And the fact that the story is being told with a good sense of humor helps, too.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – I’m totally bipolar about it. Sometimes I’m giving it an angry 5 and others a hopeful 8. Let’s be vague and call it 7
Characters – The saving graces, definitely – 8
Yuri – 2 One kiss by Erika to a henchchick so far
Service – 5 Breasts shots mostly

Overall – I’m going with a hesitant 8

Basically, Volume 2 is going to make or break this series for me, I think. If it goes to a Volume 2.

The picture and link above are for the deluxe edition, with Drama CD. There is also a regular manga-only edition available too, for those of you not as helpless before the siren call of Drama CDs as I am.

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13 Responses

  1. Cryssoberyl says:

    You and me both. I haven’t read this, but there’s been a lot of talk about it, so I know the situation.

    I also trust Zaou and Eiki to do the right thing. The crowdpleasing BL-style trappings aside, I take it for granted that they fully intend this work to end as a parable on the nonsensical state of the real world’s sexual and gender expectations. They’ve done this sort of thing before.

    Aoi and Sakura will definitely defy the system to live a life together where they define themselves, instead of conforming to the smothering rules of their (and our) society.

    …With that said though, I have no interest at all in reading this until that does in fact happen.

  2. @Cryssoberyl – Hahah, I totally understand that. I kind of wish I didn’t have to read it until it goes somewhere I can get behind.

    The other thing that contributes to my uneasiness, is something I see more and more these days in manga that may have to be killed quickly, or may be successful, so they hedge their bets by setting up serious plot complications, but hedge their bets by having a bunch of them that may or may not go somewhere, and alternate ends for all of them.

    The end of this volume has one of those. Early on, Sakura says to Matsuri that Aoi reminds her of someone….

    …oh, wait, it was this feral cat I fed as a kid, she remembers several chapters later. Uh-huh.

    It makes me think that the editors & authors have little confidence that this will go where they want it to, so will handwave the whole plot to conclusion.

  3. Cryssoberyl says:

    Hmm. That leads me to wonder, have Zaou/Eiki ever had a long-running series – as in, three volumes or more?

    I know less about Eiki, but it seems like all of Zaou’s stuff is only one volume, even her more mainstream “Tsuda Mikiyo” work. Even Day of Revolution only got a second volume due to Eiki’s insistence, according to her afterword.

    (Pity it had to be that one; I was happy with the Yuri-friendly end of the first volume. Ah well.)

  4. @Cryssoberyl I did a really quick Amazon JP search and as Tsuda Mikiyo, Zaou Taishi had at least one series that went to three volumes. But they seem to specialize in one-volume stories. So, this story could be a first for them, it could be a two-volume series with an epic plot idea and meh execution or it could be something else.

  5. socchan says:

    @Cryssoberyl, Erica: Zaou’s “Tsuda” title Princess Princess went for five volumes and got a sequel (don’t know how many volumes). I can’t think of any other than that, though.

    Incidentally, the bonus under-the-cover shorts told a story of a situation opposite the main premise, which Zaou revealed via author’s notes/ending extra (through a conversation with Eiki, IIRC) that it was the reason she wanted to make the manga in the first place,lol. It was one of the first things I thought of when I found out the two of them were collaborating for the Comic Yuri Hime collective.

  6. DezoPenguin says:

    Princess Princess+, only went one volume, so that’s a total of six in that universe. Still a decent count (especially when you consider that it’s actually nine, total, with Day of Revolution and Family Complex dealing with people who wind up being supporting cast members in PriPri.

    Didn’t Eiki’s Train Train also run three or four?

  7. Anonymous says:

    When I saw the first chapter, I immediately thought:”Yaoi with tits”. And what a masterful fishing for both fanbases!

  8. Ellen says:

    There’s more to the Princess Princess universe than that one title.

    Princess Princess has five volumes.

    Princess Princess + has one volume.

    Day of Revolution has two volumes

    Family Complex has one volume.

    The total is nine volumes, all featuring the same characters, though Revolution and Complex are backstory for Princess.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “I’m super unhappy that the premise is that women, when left alone to create their own society, immediately force an extra-restrictive dual-gender society upon themselves.”

    Have you tried the Y The Last Man series by Brian K Vaughan, even though he didn’t write it in Japanese first?

    The premise is that women, when left *almost* alone (the main character Yorick’s the one guy who survived) still recreate their own societies instead of expecting Yorick to fill in for all men and still don’t immediately force an extra-restrictive dual-gender society upon themselves…

  10. @Anonymous – Except that they *don’t* recreate society. After two years even the most basic infrastructure remains in ruins and as a result, it’s all Lord of the Flies. I was unable to really get behind that at all.

    For my specific issues with Y the Last Man, read my review of it here:
    http://okazu.blogspot.com/2006/12/american-comic-y-last-man.html

  11. Anonymous says:

    Oh, OK, sorry I didn’t search the blog for whether or not you’d reviewed it!

    I guess I was thinking more of the *later* volumes myself (3-5 years after the big death*), Dr. Mann, how Rose turns out, and all the characters who turn out to be bisexual…

    * personally and subjectively, my guess was that the Lady of the Flies situation came from how female thugs (including ones who had bottled up their own aggression back in a world where the average man outweighed the average woman) filled the vacuum left by dead male thugs faster than policewoman (a minority of police officers back in a world where police departments put far more than 50% of their eggs in the male basket) hired and trained new cops to fill the vacuum left by dead policemen. So Yorick doesn’t live the fantasy of sex with lots of desperate straight women because the women are more realistic characters with higher priorities like the dilemma of hiring new police, infrastructure workers, etc. quickly vs. hiring more police, infrastructure workers, etc. slowly enough to check credentials…it seemed to me like a morality play about the badness of relying on one gender more than the other to run stuff…

  12. kill-chan says:

    You know, i think that the idea is pretty interesting, but everything else here is terrible, especially the pacing, the supporting cast and their character design as well (the yamato girl, her china friend and erika). And let me say one more thing: these creators (eiki and tsuda) are best suited for yaoi/shonen-ai than Yuri , and i think that their so much celebrated Yuri anthology “h.n.a.f.” is very well drawn but, for most part, really really bad. In a word, they’re OVERRATED

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