I want to thank SuBLime for bringing this wonderful manga stateside. It has been a favorite of mine for a few years now, and to finally have it on my shelf (and in my iPad) is a dream come true.
Hinako Takanaga's "Awkward Silence" starts off focusing on high-schooler Satoru Toono (or Satoru Tono in this release) and his growing relationship with Keigo Tamiya. Theirs would be an uncomplicated love, if it wasn't for the fact Tono has a difficult time expressing emotion! (This is a curious twist on the average uke, if I do say so myself.) It takes Tono great effort to share his thoughts and feelings with anyone, including his new lover. This can lead to miscommunications, which often result in messy situations for Tono and Tamiya. Outgoing Tamiya and introvert Tono face many obstacles as their love grows, but these obstacles only serve to teach them how to best express and share their feelings for one another.
Takanaga is one of my favorite manga artists and storytellers, both in and out of the BL genre. She has a sweet art style which is usually accompanied by a sweet story, and this is the case for Awkward Silence. While this isn't the funniest or sexiest of her works, it certainly is my favorite -- I've read Awkward Silence several times since scanlations started floating around the web, I own it in Japanese as well, and with the release of it in the states, I now own SuBLime's release in both PDF format (available on their website) and print. (Does this seem like overkill? Maybe. But when I support my favorite artists, I like to give my all!) I'm fond of the sugary sweetness in these kinds of stories, of silly miscommunications, and of unwavering affection between the two lead characters. There is nothing overly dramatic about this volume, but the characters are interesting enough to pull me in from the start and the situations they find themselves in are easy enough to relate to. Sometimes we need stories like these.
Onward to the quality of this release!
As I mentioned a couple of times, I own it both in print and in PDF format (which I enjoy on my iPad) so I'll review both.
The print is your standard manga quality. The pages aren't anything special, but if you have a sensory defensive problem like I do, it can be difficult to handle for long periods of time. So, nothing special about the package the story comes in. What DID impressed me was I didn't see any errors while reading the manga. No typos, no glaring grammar mistakes, no poor redraws. I was very impressed with the quality of the editing! You can see the time they took in bringing this to the English speaking masses.
I read through the PDF version this week. The pages on the ipad are clean and crisp (and large!) so if there are any errors, you'd be able to see it on your tablet device. I didn't see anything wrong. It wasn't like I was examining each page for problems or anything -- but as a reader who notices these kinds of errors on a regular basis, I can say that nothing distracted me from the story. Again, I was impressed with the quality.
Every few pages or so, the name of who purchased the digital copy of the manga will appear at the bottom of the page. I can understand why they did this, though it was sometimes distracting. (My name kept appearing on the naughty pages! How embarrassing.) But I'm glad SuBLime releases their manga digitally as well as in print. I can carry around part of my manga collection in my iPad! How convenient.
This is a must have for anyone interested in BL, both casually and as hardcore fans, and I'd recommend it to manga readers who enjoy a nice romance, as well. With lovely artwork, entertaining characters, and a sweet story, this manga satisfies on many levels. I can't wait for SuBLime to release the other volumes!