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March 24, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: Reversible vol. 1

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Reversible
Author: Various (see individual descriptions)
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing, on their Juné imprint
Volume: This is the first volume of a manga anthology.  $13.95.
Vintage: The stories in this book were written at various times.  Some authors are being published here for the first time, others have been around for a little while.  DMP hand-picked these creators and put them into an original book (so the book itself is not a reprint of a book from Japan).  The book came out at the end of January, 2010.
Genre: Young adult (16+), yaoi, romance.  Some stories are more explicit than others; some aren’t at all.  Most of the stories are about about high school students, with a couple about businessmen.

Reversible is an anthology of yaoi manga, written by various mangaka making their American debuts.  When I first read this, I rushed through and didn’t think much of the whole book.  Then I slowed down, reread it, and found a little to love.  I still think a good portion of the book isn’t worth much, and the stuff that is, you get so little of.  Now, this is an anthology, and some of these stories at least will be continued in further volumes.  It’s difficult to decide which ones are really worth following up on when there’s so little to go on, so let’s take a look at each story individually.

“Tell Me You Like Me,” by Saki Takarai.  Unique because it’s about adults instead of HS students, TMYLM has a boss-employee relationship between the strict Chouno and laid back Nakahara.  The setup is kind of…silly.  They go to see a movie and Chouno is molested by a stranger he mistakes for Nakahara.  However the tension of their relationship – awkward Chouno and tactless Nakahara – is really sweet.  The cover of the volume is from this story (yay, megane!).

“Perfect Age,” by Goroh and Enoki.  HS student Atsumu is in love with Chitose, and he managed to get Chitose to go out with him, but Chitose is in love with someone else.  The dialog can be confusing and vague, but the story has a nice bittersweet feel.  Art emphasizes the innocent, awkward feelings of adolescence.

“Sakuragawa University Cheer Squad,” by Neri Koizumi.  Masanori, the captain of the cheer squad, falls for his young nephew’s teacher, Shiina.  He strikes out with Shiina until the gentler man sees him cheering at an event and is impressed with his passion.  Sloppy art and a sloppy story.

From parts three and four of "Boyfriend," in Reversible vol. 1.

“Boyfriend,” by Haruki Fujimoto.  A rare sex-free story about a trio of HS friends.  Ryouji confesses to Makio that he has feelings for their friend Takahashi.  Four short chapters tell the story from each boy’s point of view (Makio goes twice).  Cute, sweet, but a little vague regarding any sort of resolution.  Nice but simple, minimal artwork.

“Catch!”, by Saito.  Tsuruta and his underclassman Mochizuki come upon a couple fooling around in the sports equipment shed (at an all boys school, of course).  Mochizuki reads into Tsuruta’s flustered reaction, and they end up screwing around when they get locked in the same shed after school….  That’s really all there is to this one.

“Caged Bird,” by Kometa Yonekura.  Shy and awkward Fujimoto doesn’t understand Shibata’s more and more forward attentions and teasings.  Nor does he understand his own growing feelings.  It’s kind of cute (Fujimoto gets really embarrassed), but the art is either quite nice or quite average.

Cover pages for "Dear Boys" and "Office Mermaid," in Reversible vol. 1.

“It Falls at Night,” by Shiori Ikezawa.  Okuno and Miku go on a dare to explore the old school building on a rainy night.  Okuno takes advantage of the weather to spend some intimate time with the easily scared Miku.  It’s cute I guess; cliche, like the one with the boys locked in the equipment shed.  This is the 5th petite, girlish uke so far.

“Dear Boys,” by Misora Hatori.  HS student Kaoru Ayase is approached by student council president Kuuya Saionji and asked to join the student council.  Nothing really happens here; it’s just a prologue.  Character designs are generic and not easily distinguished.  Nothing stands out here.

“Office Mermaid,” by Tomoko Takakura.  The office boss Tachibana is obsessed with tropical fish (and he’s also a germaphobe).  He thinks the beautiful Izumi looks like a mermaid.  Bizarre, and I really don’t like the character designs.  Definitely my least favorite story.

“Tri-Color Love Song,” by Kazuha.  Yukihiro is dating the guy he likes, Eiji, but is concerned that Eiji has feelings for Takashi, Eiji’s childhood friend.  And for some reason, Takashi is rather hostile toward Yukihiro.  Nice art, and the story looks like it will go in an interesting direction.

“Happiness, Fun, Kindness,” by Midori Nishiogi.  An angel meets a human who teaches him about human expressions of love.  My second least favorite story, it has potential, but it’s very poorly executed.

A scene from "Tri-Color Love Song" in Reversible vol. 1.

A scene from "Tri-Color Love Song" in Reversible vol. 1.

The book ends with creator mini bios and short notes from each of the mangaka.

Now, I bought this one myself, but was also sent an extra copy by Digital Manga, which I am allowed to share with one of you lovely people.  It’s not a bad sampler, as those things go.  Different art styles, different story types and character types, bite-sized portions….  If you’re at all interested in the genre, it’s worth a look.  Interested parties, please answer the following question via comment, email (and I’ll be posting this to my Twitter feed as well).  I will do a random drawing, and the winner will be sent a nice new copy of Reversible volume 1 from DMP.  Please don’t answer the question if you don’t have any interest in the book.  [Please don’t tweet the answer to me; comments or emails only, please.]

DMP recently announced a major new series acquisition by yaoi mangaka Ayano Yamane.  What is the title of this series?

I’ll leave it open through Saturday, and give you the winner and the answer on Monday, along with my review of Yen Press’s Sarasah manga, volumes 1-3.




  1. Billy

    Nice reviews Kris. Very “to the point”. 🙂

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kristin Bomba, Kristin Bomba and Comic Attack, Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: Evening RT: Reversible yaoi anthology vol 1 review https://comicattack.net/2010/03/bblreversible1/ Answer the trivia Q to win your own copy! […]

  3. I’m confused: Are these original stories, solely for this collection, or re-prints and re-collected here as a “best of” kind of thing?

    Oh- “Office Mermaid”… *snicker*

  4. Original stories. DMP went out and picked these authors, many of them new to American readers (and probably some fairly new to Japan as well for that matter), and then put them into a book created for an American audience. I doubt many, if any, were specifically drawn for this publication. In fact, some of the creators mention that their pieces are older works. They’ve likely been published in magazines in Japan, but the actual bound book that DMP is offering is something they put together themselves.

  5. […] on vol. 1 of Rampage (Prospero’s Manga) Shaenon Garrity on Remember (About.com) Kristin on vol. 1 of Reversible (Comic Attack) Rebecca Bundy on Ristorante Paradiso (ANN) Tangognat on vols. 1 and 2 of Sayonara […]

  6. […] on vol. 1 of Rampage (Prospero’s Manga) Shaenon Garrity on Remember (About.com) Kristin on vol. 1 of Reversible (Comic Attack) Rebecca Bundy on Ristorante Paradiso (ANN) Tangognat on vols. 1 and 2 of Sayonara […]

  7. Mary

    I’ve been looking forward to reading Reverse!?! It’s on my list of things to buy!

    Answer: Viewfinder!

  8. Got some entries now! Hooray! I realize the answer to the question is simple, but it’s only obvious to people who keep up with that stuff. Meaning, people interested in manga, and specifically the yaoi genre. It’s my way of making sure the ones who enter are the people who are genuinely interested. 🙂
    Oh, I am actually looking for the name of the SERIES, not the subtitle of the first volume. 🙂 But I will accept that too.

  9. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by girlg33k_Kris: Question is also on the site w/ review https://comicattack.net/2010/03/bblreversible1/ : Name DMP’s new yaoi license by Ayano Yamane….

  10. […] the give-away copy of Reversible vol. 1: I’m holding off on giving it away until I talk to my contact at Digital Manga. Please be […]

  11. animeluv

    Hey, where can I read this manga?? Please tell me!!

  12. Buy it from a book store, from Akadot Retail, or read it on eManga.com

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