Manga Review

Escape Journey Review

 

*Warning: This may contain minor spoilers*

 

SynopsisThis is the story of Hisami Naoto and Hase Taichi, who were once lovers in high school and have somehow managed to meet up again in college. Naoto still holds anger toward the way their relationship had ended in high school and isn’t so willing to forgive Taichi so easily, even years later. Or is he? The more he hangs out with him, the more he understands why they had gone from friends to lovers before. However, this time, he struggles to not get to that point again because he knows it always ends up badly for them.

 

Story/PlotHonestly, this story is split down the middle. The story felt like it ended about six chapters in, which, in all honesty, I think it was legitimately supposed to, but it got popular enough and they decided to continue with it. In the first six chapters, we get a bit of a love triangle between our two main guys and one of their female classmates. In the second portion, it’s pretty much the same exact premise except with a male schoolmate this time and with less depth.

The story was kind of weird for me because nothing big or crazy really happens throughout its entirety, yet there’s a lot that we learn in a span of fewer than twenty chapters. We get a look at people’s pasts, what made them become who they are, their families, and a bit more.

Although Taichi’s broken family is a major plot point throughout the story, we don’t get to see any type of resolution. We’re shown what felt like five seconds total of him trying to figure out what went wrong and how to move past that, but it didn’t really feel like he wanted to try. It felt more like he was doing it just to do it. I would’ve said he was doing it for Naoto, but the latter never really pushed him to, “Yeah, go meet up with your mom and make amends. Let her be a part of your life again. Let her explain what happened.” He’s there for Taichi and listens to him, but he doesn’t exactly urge him to fix his family issues. So, to me at least, that whole plot element was wasted.

The part I did like was the struggle that’s shown of wanting to live a happy life together while living in a society that doesn’t accept same-sex relationships. I liked the fact that not everyone was all for it and thought it would all be unicorns and rainbows. We get to see the ugly side of a parent when they say, “Where did I go wrong in raising you?” Because, yes, for people who love the same gender, or just for anyone who isn’t “normal”, as they say, they will have to hear these types of comments from those closest to them. They will have to see the disgusted look on people’s faces when they find out their secret. It’s not always, “I love you. You love me. Let’s have a happy ending together.” So, this manga, in particular, did touch upon the black part of all of this rather nicely, albeit, a bit vaguely similar to how the broken family issue was handled.

The art, as is usual for Ogeretsu Tanaka, is pleasing to the eye and proved to be a source of eye candy during quite a few moments (and no, I’m not talking about the sexy scenes).

 

CharactersThe cast of characters was surprisingly pleasant for such a short yaoi manga. Usually, there are one or two super obnoxious characters in those types of stories. Different than a lot of others in its genre, as well, is that there are two female characters that are constantly around our main two. They are recurring characters that end up being the source of their strength at some crucial moments, which was very nice. There’s no need to add extra or unnecessary drama in these types of stories. Actually, all of their friends were a nice group that added warmth and humanity to the story itself. Without their combinations of personalities, the story wouldn’t have been able to hold the way that it did.

The bond that Naoto had with his parents and siblings was one that I loved. I love big families and I’m an even bigger fan when they all get along. I enjoyed it whenever Naoto would go home because he would immediately be greeted by one of his sisters at the door, while the others yelled things at him from different parts of the house. The interactions between all of them were probably some of my favorite moments because they just felt like I was looking at what they were: a family.

 

Favorite CharacterAlthough I didn’t come to hate any of the cast, there was only one that I really ended up liking above the rest, and that was Nishina Kei. He makes his appearance in the second half of the story and is introduced as the quote-unquote ‘love rival’ against Taichi for Naoto. I won’t get too deep into how that all pans out for spoiler’s sakes, but I just thought that his backstory was probably the most painful and well-thought-out out of all of them. At first, he kind of comes off as a bit of a jerk, but he slowly starts to show off his true colors and gives the impression that he just wants to find his own slice of happiness. Throughout it all, he still manages to somehow keep Naoto’s beautiful smile on his face even after the bit of drama that they undergo together. I don’t know, I kind of just wish there were a few more chapters toward the end that would give us a bit more closure with Nishina.

 

Overall ScoreAs short and simple as it was, it really didn’t give me much of an impact. Everything just kind of happened and I said, “Okay.” I didn’t get fully invested in the story as much as I would’ve liked, even though I did enjoy the cast of characters. With all of that in mind, I would give this a 7/10. It’s my version of an ‘average score’ and about the lowest score an anime or manga can have that I would allow myself to legitimately recommend, so take that as you may.

 

Do I Recommend This?: No, not really, unless you’re in the market for a short, sweet, and to the point yaoi story.

Now, I must warn all of you that, as I mentioned, this is a yaoi manga, meaning that there will be some very explicit sexual content. So, if that’s not something you’re comfortable reading/looking at, then it’s best to avoid this one. The story and characters aren’t THAT great to feel forced to check it out and be uncomfortable in the process. That said, if you enjoy the yaoi genre, then be my guest!

 

BlameSaiki

 

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I’m a 25-year-old story-telling fan. I enjoy all forms of media, including anime, manga, literature, films, video games, music, and everything else in between. I’ve been writing short stories and novels for myself as a hobby for as long as I can remember. I’ve never considered myself good enough to become published, but I’m hoping to change that someday. I’m a huge sucker for characters, so that’s usually what will make or break a majority of stories for me. Other than that, I spend my days working and trying to pay my bills (how fun, right?).

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