Days of Cool Idols

May 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm 3 comments

 There were a lot of new titles that came out in the first week of May.  I had a bit of a hard time figuring what to choose and ended up with one new Del Rey title, one from Yen Press and a Go! Comi book.  This one is part of a new imprint called go! Boyz Love.  

 The story revolves around Tsubasa, a new student at Seiko Academy.  He’s pulled into the principal’s office immediately upon arrival, to take one more special exam. Turns out Tsubasa is a candidate for the VIP group at Seiko, a group that consists of the most talented, smartest and good looking boys at school.   Yes, it’s a class of idols! 

Tsubasa protests his involvement, but the principal can see past the geeky glasses to the very very pretty boy underneath.  (Seeing as Tsubasa doesn’t look all that different with them off, I found it funny that it got pointed out several times how well the glasses disguised him.)  But wait, there’s more!  It turns out that Tsubasa isn’t only pretty, but also a dead ringer for Yui Hoshino, the new superstar idol.  This is important because her manager needs Tsubasa for a very special purpose.  Apparently Yui picked up a stalker and it traumatized her to the point that she had a breakdown and can no longer leave her apartment.  (She’s generally seen sitting in the dark huddled under a blanket.)  With the fate of her agency at stake, Tsubasa needs to shed the glasses, don a wig and dress and head out on stage to fill in for Yui while she recovers.  

cool idols 10002

Before...

 

cool idols 10003

And after!

He’s not alone, though.  In on the secret is the idol group Rinxs, who all pitch in to help Tsubasa learn Yui’s routines and how to act like an idol.  There are five members in the group, but only three really stand out.  There’s Riku (a closet otaku and obsessive Yui fanboy), Haruna (the calm, collected and oh so pretty member of the group) and Reiji (loud, blunt but honest and caring).  They take Tsubasa under their wing and become his only friends at the academy.

Reiji shows Tsubasa some moves...

Reiji shows Tsubasa some moves...

Tsubasa has a bit of a complex though.  He agrees to help Yui because he knows what it’s like to be betrayed by people you trust.  His friends at his last school started bullying him because of his feminine appearance so now Tsubasa has two conflicts to overcome – he’s stuck pretending to be a girl because of the way he looks and he can’t quite trust the friendship offered by the Rinxs guys.  

Haruna's pretty...

Haruna's pretty...

The stories in this volume** deal with Tsubasa and Yui’s stalker, a girl group who’s lead singer has it in for Yui (and a huge crush on Haruna), and when the guys at Seiko start objecting to the special treatment Tsubasa gets, a classmate stands up for him, but has his own secret agenda.

 **This volume is unnumbered and seems like a standalone, but it reads like it needs a sequel and the manga-ka talks about wanting to do a second volume.  If there is one, it’s not listed in Amazon.  There were some things that felt unresolved – like a scene that showed Yui looking kind of jealous of Tsubasa’s success (or at least not very happy) and I missed the closure of Yui returning to the stage.**

 I actually quite liked this book.  Tsubasa’s trust issues were genuine and it took him the whole volume to really deal with them.  I thought the characters were well developed for a single volume (though like I said, two of the Rinxs members were more background scenery than important to the story) and the art was cute enough for me.  It was really pretty for the most part, but flipped into cute for the humorous bits.

cool idols 10004

Riku glomps onto Tsubasa, Reiji reacts. It's a typical exchange for the two.

 The only objection I have is the boys love label.  There’s no love here!  Sure Riku tries to kiss Tsubasa a few times, but it’s only when Tsubasa is dressed as a girl (and Riku gets hit a lot for it).  Reiji and Haruna are quite protective and affectionate, but I’ve seen more risque stuff in shojo books I’ve read.  It’s a bit slashy, but nothing I would put a shonen-ai tag on.  In fact, it gave me the same sort of feeling that reading Princess Princess did.  That one was published by DMP and involved a group of guys dressing as girls for their classmates and I had expected it to be a shonen-ai title from that.  While the two main characters developed a close friendship, it never tipped over into shonen-ai territory which was kind of disorienting.  Days of Cool Idols felt the same for me.  (Though at least with this one Go! Comi has labelled it as such so I don’t feel like the false expectations were my fault.)

If you’re interested in trying out the shonen-ai/yaoi waters, this book is less like dipping a toe in and more like standing in the damp sand next to the water.

So my verdict is: a pretty entertaining single volume with cute engaging characters, but a fail on the shonen-ai front.  I’m happy I picked it up!

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Entry filed under: manga.

a very indulgent kind of Wednesday Well, that’s new!

3 Comments Add your own

  • […] of Black Jack (Slightly Biased Manga) Lissa Pattillo on vol. 5 of Black Jack (Kuriousity) Cathy on Days of Cool Idols (it can’t all be about manga) Connie on vol. 4 of Full House (Slightly Biased Manga) Ken […]

    Reply
  • 2. suki  |  November 29, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    i loved days of cool idols. the manga was so cute and funny. Tsubasa is so cute and adorable you just want to glomp him. what i think is that it would be a cute thing if it was a threesome with Reiji, Tsubasa, and Haruno since all three are very close. It true that it doenst show lots of love but i guess its because its just starting and when it goes a few more volumes its going to get even better.

    Reply
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