Freefall-Romance-Cover

Yaoi Menace: Freefall Romance, or Never Trust a Fangirl

Written by AnaKhouri on . Posted in Manga, Print Reviews

[rating:2.5]

In my life I have found one ironclad rule that it always pays to follow. And that rule is, “Never trust a yaoi fangirl.”

The majority of fangirls have brains so addled by their love of gay sex that they are incapable of discriminating between a good story and a bad one. As long as there are drawings of men getting it on, they are happy.

Unfortunately, one day I misplaced my reason and trusted the word of a known yaoi fangirl. The result was my purchasing Hyouta Fujiyama’s one-volume yaoi manga, Freefall Romance.

Let me explain something for the uninitiated. There are three basic plots for yaoi manga.

Plot #1: We are both gay yet we are afraid to express our love for each other. If we are already in a relationship, we will find it tested during the course of the manga.

Plot #2: You just raped me, but I am grateful to you for showing me my true sexual inclinations. Let’s do it!

Plot #3: Get off me, I am straight, I am straight…well, maybe not.

Freefall Romance follows Plot # 3. This is usually the most entertaining of the Basic Yaoi Plots, but in Freefall Romance the story is crushed into a single volume, making it difficult to believe the characters’ transitions (unlike, say, Sanami Matoh’s Fake, where the romance progresses more naturally over seven volumes).

Here’s the setup:

Tsutsumi and Nanase work together (the author actually gives them job titles, though what they do doesn’t really matter) doing PR for a beer company. This entails them visiting a lot of bars to see if they will carry their beer, and as a consequence they have become friends and drinking buddies. Things get a little serious one evening when Nanase gets uncharacteristically drunk and throws up all over himself. Tsutsumi, being a good pal, takes him back to his place and cleans him up. When he comes out of the drunken stupor, Nanase confesses that his strange behavior is due to some shocking news he’s received: his younger brother has just come out of the closet. While Nanase himself attended a high school where 90% of the male students were gay (a statistical improbability to say the least, but whatever) and he isn’t homophobic, it’s different when he discovers that his own brother is gay, and he’s a little freaked out. Tsutsumi makes matters shows some spectacularly bad judgment when he chooses this moment to tell Nanase he is attracted to him, even though he has never liked men before. Understandably disturbed, Nanase hightails it out of there.

They continue to work together, but Tsutsumi is irritated by Nanase’s insistence that they forget what happened. He begins to shamelessly hit on Nanase whenever they are together. Nanase refuses to give in- but he also refuses to completely reject Tsutsumi’s advances. They grow more and more intimate, but Nanase still won’t commit his feelings, until the long-awaited payoff sex scene at the end of the volume.

Freefall Romance isn’t a bad manga; the characters are believable, and the progression of their relationship makes sense in a time-lapsed sort of way. In only a single volume, the character development feels rushed. Precious space is also taken up by the introduction of Ikuta, Nanase’s high school friend whose appearance has no apparent purpose, though his flamboyant nature contrasts with the more restrained behavior of Nanase and Tsutsumi.

Digital Manga takes great care with their translations, and Freefall Romance is no exception. This brings me to my major problem with the manga, which may or may not be due to the translation: Tsutsumi, Nanase and even Ikuta make frequent references to the fact that Tsutsumi and Nanase never used to be gay. Tsutsumi claims he was straight before he fell for Nanase, and Nanase resisted turning gay during all the years he attended Homo High. Homosexuality isn’t a choice, but many yaoi manga imply that it is. It’s a rather disturbing trend; since yaoi’s target demographic is mostly young women, I don’t want them to receive false information.

The art in the manga is serviceable but nothing special. It’s a nice change to see a yaoi manga where both partners look like grown men, rather than baby-faced teenagers. Fujiyama does fall into the yaoi genetics rut; if you are blonde and shorter then your partner, then you’re on the bottom. This is yaoi’s version of destiny.

In the end, Freefall Romance was something of a letdown after the rave reviews it has gotten from fangirls. It’s not a terrible manga; it falls somewhere on the better side of mediocre.

Details

Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Author: Hyouta Fujiyama
Pages: 180
Format: manga
MSRP: $12.95
Date of Publication: 9/1/2007
Buy: Amazon

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AnaKhouri
AnaKhouri was abandoned in the wilds of Hungary as an infant and raised by a clan of angry badgers. There she remained until being rescued and adopted by an American couple. Currently she lives with her husband, their man-child and cat familiar. To this day she sleeps in a burrow behind their house. She is a raving fan of all things geeky but particularly books and Sanrio. She is working on her second fantasy novel. If you want to read more of her fiction check out her blog. If you would like to send her presents, she enjoys zombie movies, soba noodles, and flannel pajamas.
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Comments (2)

  • Musashi

    |

    ‘Yaoi Menace’ :) That’s like, *totally* the new offical name of the site…

    Reply

  • AnaKhouri

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    I think we would have to shift our focus a bit to live up to the new name…but those fangirls sure love their yaoi!

    Reply

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