Liberty Liberty by Hinako Takanaga

Liberty Liberty!Wow, I am terrible at this schedule stuff! So here’s the post I was going to put up yesterday: Liberty Liberty! by Hinako Takanaga

I’m actually not sure when I purchased this book, I’m guessing a while back since it was on my shelf and somewhere in the back rows (if it were new it probably wouldn’t have had a place). This was also the first book I’d read by Takanaga, if you noticed my parting comment on my previous post 😀

As for this book, I’ll be using it for the prompt a manga where the MC’s gender is opposite to the intended demographic. 

I’m hoping I’m interpreting the prompt right? The example given was having a female lead in a shounen manga, which is aimed at boys. In this case the main character is male in a yaoi manga, which is aimed mostly at females.

Unlike Croquis, this book is completely dedicated to one story.

This story follows Kouki and Itaru’s relationship and how they go from strangers to a couple. One day, while on the job Kouki Kuwabara finds a stranger sleeping atop some garbage piles in an alley. Thinking he’s the stalker he’s supposed to be staking out (he’s a reporter), Kouki approaches the boy and taunts him, only to get his camera broken by the drunk stranger. The next day he finds out that the boy is homeless, a runaway, and can’t pay him for property damage.

Itaru on the other hand, can’t believe he’s landed himself in a $2,000 debt on his first night as a runaway. Promising to pay back the money, Itaru begs Kouki to give him time and to not contact his parents. Kouki relents and decides to let Itaru stay at his apartment until he can pay him back. 

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To start off, this story is pretty slow paced in terms of the relationship. There’s no lustful gazes at first meeting (eww, that would have been weird), and even after they’ve met it’s only weeks after the two characters start to get to know one another that Itaru realizes he’s starting to like Kouki. On the other hand we have Kouki, whose priority seems to be work and pushing Itaru to find a job.

I think that’s one of the big things I liked about this story. I could actually think yeah this romance is believable. Because sometimes the characters will just like each other off the bat and call it love (that is not love!) Then, the way the story ends with the characters living together officially was so adorable!

liberty_liberty_ch04_pg099mSomething else I noticed was that Kouki’s ex-crush Kurumi is a transvestite, and I’m wondering if this means anything (that these characters pop up so frequently in Takanaga’s manga)? Like I mentioned before, I’m usually not exposed to characters like her which makes me curious and now I want to read a story where the MC is a transvestite. Like, maybe reading about Kurumi’s apparent love triangle between Kouki and her current boyfriend.

It also makes me wonder about her relationship with her boyfriend because all I can think about is Croquis and that relationship wasn’t exactly…healthy I guess. At least on Sasahara’s end.

But back to what actually happened! I really liked how the characters gained strength from one another. While we don’t see it, we learn that Kouki had given up on film when he found out about his left eye and Kurumi seemed to be a pillar for him. She brought him into her little cable TV station crew and it was through this ‘forced work’ that Kouki got back on his feet.

liberty_liberty_ch06_pg149gdThen there’s Itaru who has been working hard for Kouki’s sake. Once he figured out he had feelings for Kouki he was determined to get back on his feet so that they could be equals. The plan was to confess his feelings once that happened but of course things turned out differently…

I guess the only one that didn’t really change much was Kouki, which was sad because he’s one of the main characters! He does tell Kurumi he’s moving on (from what I’m not exactly sure) and his steps for moving forward apparently mean getting together with Itaru. He collects his pay (I imagine, it’s implied) for the broken camera but decides to let Itaru stay with him.

Technically the story ends there, but then we get a bonus story! A tiny little chapter showing how the MC’s relationship is going. If you ask me they seem to be in an almost reluctant relationship…We know that Itaru likes Kouki but we don’t really know Kouki’s take on things (he never said anything until this bonus story).

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Like Croquis, I really enjoyed the art because it made the characters expressive and gave them this enthusiasm to their body language. I especially liked Itaru and how he went from depressed and homeless to being positive about his writerly situation (taking active steps to move on).

I did think Kouki, the supposed seme of the pair, was a bit bleh. I mean, I liked that he had this realistic feel (eye problems, depressed, trying to get on his feet, stagnant) but I wish there’d been some kind of bigger change. I know in the endnotes the author mentions that she was trying to make a seme that wasn’t a wuss. Like her friend mentioned, I don’t think she accomplished that here.

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