Diet BL. I bought Boys Love Bang Bang’s first DMG title, Kaiya Tatsumi’s Healing Music, more as a way of supporting the team’s work than for the title itself. As expected of BLBB, Healing Music was well done. For me, it was definitely one of the better titles I’ve read by this mangaka. I liked “When There’s Love” and “Prince of Curry” which were the 2nd and 3rd stories, respectively. The title story was very much like Kaiya’s other stories: a Quaker Oats rice cake. Its light and airy, with something like flavor to it, and although there are peaks and valleys, when all is said and done, it’s really kind of flat. It’s just a little too tidy.
Her stories aren’t bad and I’ve read a few multiple times, but they only satisfy a general hankering for BL and even with that, I feel like I have to read her entire library in order to be sated. They usually have the same seasonings: a character, seme or uke, who is puzzled by the actions of the object of his affections, one who is indecisive or plays hard to get, Mr. Deadpan (often used, but well written), The Voice of Reason (usually a female character) or referee, and the guy who thinks it’s all a hoot. Not to say that this isn’t present in the stories of other mangaka, but when the bulk of your body of work uses the same base recipe, after a while, it all tastes the same and a bit stale.
There are some good points about sensei’s work–there must be or I’d never be inclined to read them after the first go. The one-liners are fun, the odd moments of pure honesty are pure hilarity, the definitive conversation that let’s you know who the real idiot is is ever-present, but always welcome and it doesn’t hurt that there’s plenty of meganes to go around. But what I think I enjoy most about sensei’s work is the art. It’s tidy as well, but in a good way. I feel like the characters would make great action figures–fully articulated for maximum playtime fun!
What made Healing Music better than the others? Well, it certainly wasn’t the dearth of glasses. But in truth, I am also lacking, a reason, that is. However, there’s definitely an extra kick of something hidden in those valleys. I’ll continue reading Kaiya-sensei’s work because there’s an acceptable amount of flavor and no bad aftertaste, but all the while I’ll keep hoping for just a little bit more.
Notes: The original title of this was Diet BL. It’s funny to me now because I later found out that Natsumizu Ritsu has conceptualized BL as something like a food group and she talks about BL content in terms of BL calories. I think I might have hit the mark.