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December 10, 2009

Bento Bako Lite: Color

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Written by: Kristin
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colorTitle: Color
Creators: Eiki Eiki (Millennium Prime Minister) and Taishi Zaou (Princess Princess)
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing, from their Doki Doki line
Volumes: Just one; it’s a oneshot.  $12.95
Vintage: 1999 in Japan; Digital Manga published the book in the summer of 2009
Genre: Yaoi, mild (ages 16+)

Color is a fairly simple (but kind of sweet) story about two artists who are drawn together by similar visions.  Takashiro’s painting, “Color,” is on display at a small gallery owned by his school advisor, Tohno.  When Takashiro arrives to see his painting, he is shocked to see that there is an identical painting hanging up next to his, painted by an artist named Sakae Fujiwara.  Takashiro grows excited, wondering how this person could have the same vision, and immediately heads to Tohno to see what information he can gather.  Tohno informs him that Sakae-chan will be attending the same art school as Takashiro.  (If you’ll recall my posting on Japanese honorifics, the suffix chan is typically applied to girls.)  Takashiro grows even more excited, thrilled and nervous that he might actually meet this other painter.  His heart has already fallen for this mysterious “Sakae-chan.”  The two meet twice by accident, with Takashiro first discovering Sakae’s name…and that Sakae-chan is actually Sakae-kun.  Takashiro, afraid that Sakae might not understand him if he brought up their similar paintings, is surprised when Sakae suddenly hugs him when he introduces himself in class.  It turns out that Sakae was searching for Takashiro, too.

A cute and very much high school romance soon blossoms between the two artists.  In each of their paintings, a loneliness appears, and the two realize that they each have a hole within their hearts, that some part of them is missing.  Each of them becomes the other one’s missing half.

Things are pretty easy for them; there isn’t a lot of conflict, until the end.  Though that final conflict threatens to tear them apart.  And since at least one of the mangaka believes that a yaoi is not a yaoi unless there’s sex, there’s at least one mild kissing or sex scene in each of the five chapters.

This one is really sweet and charming, if a little lacking in…I don’t want to say substance, because it has a story.  It’s just not focused very well.  The underlying story is Takashiro and Sakae’s loneliness, that they each fill for each other.  I think this could have used more focus.  There are also some superfluous classmates that really don’t add anything to the story.  A little more time with Sakae’s family would have been nice.  A few extra chapters probably would have made the book so much better.  There’s a lovely innocence between the two boys as they discover love with each other.  The first time they kiss is adorably awkward, as they stare at each other and ask one another how a kiss is supposed to happen.  They’re young.  Their ages aren’t actually mentioned, but at the beginning of the story, they are entering their first year of high school so…I’d say, 16 maybe.  A little past when boys typically discover girls and sex, but Takashiro’s naivety is, at least, passed off as small town syndrome.

The art is pleasant, and I couldn’t really tell it was drawn by two people.  They do need some more practice (which I’m sure they’ve had by now), particularly in the eye region.  There are some dead eyes on occasion, and some difficult-to-read expressions.  Though for a story about artists, there’s a remarkable lack of actual art.  I don’t mean their illustrations.  I mean a presence of art.  You don’t even ever see either “Color” in full.  Although it would obviously be difficult to express a pallet of mixed colors without actual coloring.  The only time the characters, who are supposed to be art students, actually do any art, is at the very end of the story, in a single panel on one of the final pages.

An interesting tidbit about this story, is that it is actually somewhat based on the meeting and relationship of the two creators.  I say somewhat, because first of all, they’re female, and second, they’re not romantically involved with each other.  But they did discover each other by witnessing their similar art styles (and instantly loving each other’s art), and then they developed a slow, shy friendship.

This, along with Ludwig II, is a decent introductory title for the yaoi genre.


Review copy provided by DMP.



  1. Nice write-up Kristin!

    In my experience, most kids start high school at 14.

    : )

  2. LOL I was in middle school until I was 16, things are a little different where I live though.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Digital Manga , Andy . Andy said: Bento Bako Lite: Color https://comicattack.net/2009/12/bblcolor/ […]

  4. Kristin

    Japanese high schools are three year schools. You’d be 15 or 16 your first year. I suppose you could be 16 or 17 even, if you took a year off or didn’t get into the school you wanted the first time (but I’m not sure how that sort of situation works over there). (High school isn’t mandatory, and you take entrance exams to determine which ones you can attend.) Also, some of these things fudge around with ages, to make the characters older because they are in sexual situations, etc.

  5. Billy

    Good job Kris. Although it seems lite in the over all content, it does sound like a good story.

  6. […] also check out my reviews of Itazura na Kiss, Color, Angel Cage, Goong, and check out this last minute otaku shopping guide! var addthis_pub = ''; […]

  7. […] Millennium Prime Minister (volumes 1 and 2) Author: Eiki Eiki (Color) Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing, on their Doki Doki line. Volumes: There are four volumes […]

  8. […] the content was pleasing.  Strong characters, moving stories, nice art (plus, actual art, unlike Color), and real plot.  It’s generally episodic, with chapters that could easily stand alone, but […]

  9. […] Millennium Prime Minister Author: Eiki Eiki (Color) Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing (Doki Doki) Volume: Volumes 3 and 4 (completed), $12.95 each […]

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