Melting Lover, by Bukuro Yamada, is the first release from Denpa Books’ new Boys Love manga line, KUMA. It’s so new, in fact, that I couldn’t find a website for KUMA when I was looking for a company site to link to in this review. Regardless, I’m very excited to see another English manga publisher dipping their toes into the BL market, so I eagerly picked this title up in order to support their debut.
Melting Lover is an anthology featuring four unconnected stories of fantastical beings in romantic relationships with humans that each has a dark edge to them. From the twisted relationship between a gelatinous, shapeshifter and their lover who demands that they transform into their crush from high school, to an angel charged with guiding souls to the afterlife who follows around an assassin who’s been forced into carrying out hits by the yakuza, each couple struggles to overcome their differences and they’re personal traumas in order to connect with each other.
Not only is this the first book from the KUMA line, this is the first manga I’ve bought from Denpa Books period. I’m not sure if Melting Lover is representative of the quality of their releases in general, but this is a very nice looking book. It features a colour page at the front, a lovely looking dust jacket and thick, high quality paper. Bukuro Yamada’s attractive art is shown off to full effect and it’s clear that a lot of effort went into making this release look good.
Which is why I wish I could say that I’d enjoyed it more.
To be clear, I don’t think this manga is bad; rather, it is simply not a book that’s very in line with my tastes. I found the stories to be well written and even quite affecting in places. The characters in these stories are all flawed, and some are guilty of some inexcusable things, but Bukuro Yamada did such a good job of showing their suffering that I was still able to empathize with them, even when I didn’t necessarily like the character or how they were behaving. The thing is though, I typically prefer my romances to be more on the light and humorous side and this anthology is the opposite of that. Some stories focused on relationships with unhealthy dynamics and other stories dealt with upsetting topics, such as rape. These are not stories that are going to be for everyone and, for the most part, they weren’t really for me.
While Melting Lover didn’t wind up being my cup of tea I did appreciate its lovely art and the high quality of the product itself. I think I will be keeping my eye out for more books from KUMA in the future. Hopefully their next release will be more up my alley.
Final Score: 6.5 out of 10
What did you think of this manga? Has anyone bought any other releases from Denpa Books? I’m curious if the dust jackets are standard for all their releases or if this is something that’s exclusive to the KUMA line? Let me know in the comments!
You can also check out some of my other BL manga reviews:
- Our Dining Table Review
- Yarichin Bitch Club Vol 1 Review
- The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese Review
- The Wize Wize Beasts of the Wizarding Wizdoms Review
- Love in Limbo Series Review
- Fourth Generation Head: Tatsuyuki Oyamato Review
- Monster and the Beast Vol 1 Review