Sep. 17th, 2009

juushika: Photograph of a row of books on a library shelf. (Books Once More)
After reading Mukizu ja Irarenee (find the review here), I said that I would run off to read more of the mangaka's work. In fact, what I ended up doing was rereading Mikuzu ja Irarenee, and I'll be damned if it isn't even better the second time around. So after that I did go and read more by the same author. Not just more: almost everything I could find. Since there's so much, I'm splitting these reviews into their own post; since a number of the volumes have sequels, I'm posting them out of alphabetical order (in fact, they're posted in the order which I read them). Same old warnings here: these manga contain explicit sex and may contain BDSM, rape, or student/adult relationships. Here are my thoughts on Sadahiro's oeuvre:

11 reviews of BL manga by Sadahiro Mika. )

When I sat down to read more of Sadahiro's work I started with Buddy System and Angnus Dei, which were such disappointments after Mukizu ja Irarenne that I assumed that Sadahiro's older work was still developing (and therefore not as good) whereas her more recent volumes were more mature and better done. My love for Haito Diamond threw that theory out, of course. Now, I believe that Sadahiro has considerable talent, but her talent shines best in her longer, more serious works. Sadahiro's not shy about drawing porn—which is wonderful, don't get me wrong, but sometimes floods out necessary, realistic character and story. She tends towards overly dramatic plots, a potential drawback in all of her work but particularly detrimental in her short works, where all that drama leaves no room for realism. But when she is able to balance these aspects with realism, Sadahiro's work is astounding. In her love of porn and drama, she draws incredible sex scene and has all sorts of fascinating and delight dark, troubled characters and relationships. As an added bonus, most of her characters interchange uke and seme roles—a real scarcity in BL manga, sad to say.

Sadahiro strikes this balance most often in her longer, more complex, more serious efforts. In all my reading, Mukizu ja Irarenee remains my favorite—stripped of soap opera-ready settings, this story of three fairly normal youths is realistic, complex, twisted—and beautifully rendered. My other favorites are Haito Diamond, Under Grand Hotel, and Pathos, in that order. These series are somewhat more dramatic, but they retain Sadahiro's strengths and are intense, enjoyable reads. In all, Sadahiro's work was sometimes disappointing but more often harmless and, at best, truly wonderful. She was a great mangaka to discover.

Yeah, I'm a dork.

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