The series Junjou Romantica series actually consists of three main stories, which are loosely interconnected, with different couples as the main characters.
Misaki, struggling to pass his college entrance exams, is in need of a tutor to help pump up his failing grades. Unfortunately, his only option is the cool and sexy Akihiko Usami. Usami happens to be a famous boys' love novelist, which doesn't exactly float Misaki's boat, especially since his main characters are "Akihiko" and "Takahiro," the name of Misaki's older brother and Usami's childhood friend. Understandably, Misaki is pretty disgusted by the thought of someone using his older brother as his personal fantasy-material, but then after some tender loving from Usami, Misaki is also pretty confused. He may even be developing feelings for the older man...And when Takahiro introduces them to his lovely (female) fiancée, so begins the bumpy relationship of this odd couple, filled with comedy and pure romance. (Source: BLU manga)
Kamijou Hiroki is a broken man, consumed by unrequited love for his childhood friend, Usami Akihiko (the writer character in Junjou Romantica). Along comes Kusama Nowaki, whose name "Nowaki" means "typhoon," an orphan working his way through life since middle school. Like the typhoon he is named for, he whirls into Hiroki's life and heart, blowing all resistance away before him.
As fate would have it, Professor Miyagi Yoh (whom Hiroki is working with as assistant professor), and Takatsuki Shinobu, a high school student, cross paths. Miyagi, when in high school, loved (and still cannot forget) a female teacher who had a terminal illness, is now faced with Shinobu, who just says whatever is on his mind. The wheel of destiny is beginning to turn once again...
Junjou Romantica's English volumes 10 and 12 ranked on the New York Time's Best Seller for July 11, 2009 and September 10, 2010 respectively. The series has expanded into several drama CDs, a light novel adaptation, multiple spin-off series, and a three-season anime adaptation. On June 22, 2015, it was announced in Shungiku Nakamura's official twitter that the manga has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide.
The series was previously serialized in CIEL TrèsTrès, but moved to Emerald on August 30, 2014 when the magazine went defunct.
Junjou Romantica was published in English by Tokyopop under its Blu Manga imprint from October 10, 2006 to August 31, 2010. Because of Tokyopop's closure, only 12 volumes were released. It has also been published in Spanish by Ivrea España since February 13, 2015.
I'm going to rate each story starting with the my favorite to least favorite.
Junjou Terrorist- My favorite pairing and story. It's about a guy who falls for his sister's ex husband. There are so many elements to this storyline. Dealing with age differences, jealousy over past loves, dealing with the death of a past love, the newness of a relationship where you're never sure if you're even in one et al. I really like the Miyagi and Shinobu pairing. I like how Shinobu is honest with his feelings and forces Miyagi to confront his hang ups. Sadly we do not get enough of the terrorist
couple. We might as well call them the nonexistent couple of the series.
Junjou Egoist- I love how adult this relationship is. Watching Hiroki get over his unrequited love for Usagi and move on to someone much better for him was great to see. I love their interactions, I love Nowaki! This pairing is very funny and know each other well. However, I don't think there is any more stories to tell with them, or at least the mangaka doesn't have any oother ideas for them. Sadly this one is also not the main story here.
Junjou Minimum is all about Usagi and Hiroki's past, it's so sweet and so touching how they met and become friends, and how Hiroki's feelings blossomed for his friend.
Junjou Romantica- At first this was my first pairing, I loved Usagi and Misaki when i first started reading. But the one question I have to ask is...Where is the Misaki from the first few chapters? I honestly believed that Misaki and Usagi had a great blossoming first start, I loved how they didn't care for each other at all and couldn't stand each other but began to draw closer and closer to one another. Where is the Misaki that was subtly realizing his feelings for Usagi? Where is the Misaki that held Usagi in his arms and cried for him? Now this guy doesn't even want to touch the man. We are on volume 15 and Misaki is just now sleeping in the same bed as Usagi, he still uses the bear as a barrier, Usagi always initiates every interaction. Seriously, at this point I feel sorry for Usagi.
Here is a man who is letting Misaki live with him, pays for his education, buys him everything, and all Misaki does is complain complain complain about all of it. He acts like a child, he's afraid to express how he feels to Usagi, he is just too old to be behaving like this! You live in a person's house and have sex with them yet you call yourself a virgin and feel you should be with a woman. Usagi seems so pathetic as he gobbles down every little scrape Misaki tosses in his direction. Their romance is so shallow. Misaki complains about Usagi touching him, then gets nervous and frets if he doesn't touch him. Talk about fickle as h3ll!
The mangaka tries to spice the story up by having another guy come in who is interested in Usagi, but naturally it goes nowhere as Usagi just wants to be Misaki's whipping boy forever. Now the mangaka tosses in Misaki's most favorite mangaka, author of "the Kan" but there is nothing to get excited about because Misaki acts like a clueless idiot and can't tell that he is getting hit on and then Usagi gets jealous. Whatever. This is so freaking repetitive its ridiculous, it's like a one shot that the author decided to drag on forever but can't think of anything besides "Put X and X together." At this point, this series should just freaking end already cause there is nothing going on that matters. I have no respect for Usagi and Misaki is a nagging b*tch.
Shungiku Nakamura is known for her most popular work, Junjou Romantica (Pure Romance). All three stories within the manga are interconnected and have some similarities. They present a noticeable age gap between each couple and cover the same themes (jealousy, love triangles, unrequited love, etc.). Although the manga follows the lives of three couples, the primary couple (Usagi and Misaki) receives the most recognition and has the least development. If it were not for the other two stories, Junjou Romantica would be even more unenjoyable.
The stories become clichéd at some point. Each story begin with one major problem that lasts a few chapters until it
is resolved. Then nearly each of the following chapters involve a random problem that's resolved in an instant. It is helpful towards the couples’ as they experience the challenges of being in a same-sex relationship, but it would be nice to have more chapters without the drama. The extras make up for that though, and the majority of them are cute and comical. In addition to awkward scenes, the characters’ emotions, reactions, and exaggerations to most situations can be hilarious.
The stories are ordered based upon their level of relationship development (most to least).
The pacing is very well done. The couple developed individually as they experienced the major complications earlier in the relationship, so the drama is less intense in later chapters. New problems escalate because of their hectic occupations, and it takes a long time for them to finally be outspoken with each other. Nowaki’s bright personality brings tons of comedy and cuteness as he is a reserved and patient lover. As a tsundere, Hiroki’s attitude is a bit over the top at times. He can be so violent at times that it is painful to see Nowaki endure such treatment. However, Hiroki gradually opens up to Nowaki and does the kindest things, and Nowaki’s reactions to Hiroki’s kindness and fantasies of Hiroki are adorable. Despite the fact that the couple hardly spends time together, their relationship is the most realistic of the three.
A story involving a 35-year-old college professor (Miyagi) and an 18-year-old high school student (Shinobu) delivers quite the thrill. Also, Miyagi is Shinobu’s sister’s ex-husband. Unlike the other two stories, the drama is not escalated by outsiders but stays within the relationship. Shinobu is the most straightforward of all the ukes, but it’s on an annoying level. He starts a problem by yelling and stating his issues with Miyagi, followed by him sulking until Miyagi comes chasing after him. Miyagi is both serious and playful, making their relationship enjoyable to follow. Their moments together are pleasurable and often hilarious. Sadly, Shungiku focused on this couple the least, so readers don’t see much of their relationship.
The love story had a promising start with Misaki being an excellent tsundere by being so affectionate towards Usagi on various occasions. Then things went downhill, and Misaki is primarily the cause. Even after living under one roof for over four years, there are literally no changes in this relationship. Usagi always makes the initiative and opens his heart to Misaki, but Misaki's indecisive attitude and immaturity cause the relationship to be at a standstill. One moment he is caring and loving towards Usagi, and the next he is yelling at Usagi to stop being so touching. Unlike the other two couples, sex between Usagi and Misaki is unexciting, mainly consisting of Misaki aggressively opposing Usagi and eventually giving in. Overall, it becomes confusing as to whether the feelings are mutual.
Their story has a vast number of characters, and the majority are always there to cause trouble in their relationship. Besides their intimate moments, new people appear out of nowhere whenever Misaki and Usagi are alone. This creates unnecessary and repetitive drama. Regardless of how one problem is resolved, the same thing repeats itself as if nothing happened.
Shinguku's artwork shows a little improvement in later volumes. The artwork in earlier volumes are really rough, but the panels became clearer past the 15th volume. Characters’ emotions and reactions are drawn to a great detail. The sex scenes are really graphic and pleasing. The chibis are adorable and brings some brightness to the story. However, this simple animation makes the characters looks identical, which makes some scenes complicated to understand.
Overall, it is good thing that Shungiku included three stories. They all have their flaws, but Terrorist and Egoist are far more satisfying than the main story. The characters actually move forward, and drama is not forced. Feelings are clearly mutual, and their relationships progress as the characters become more open with each other. Sadly, the main story with Misaki and Usagi is vastly different. If Shinguki released more chapters of Terrorist and Egoist or showed some development in Junjou Romantica earlier on (4 years is way too long), this manga would be much more appealing.
This manga is progressing well. We are starting to find out more about the characters and it's starting to move its focus back to Romantica rather than Egoist, making the manga truer to its name. From a yaoi point of view this manga has everything you need, the right amount of hardcore nekkid scenes with a bit of lovey dovey and coyness mixed in. A yaoi fangirls ideal.
Story/plot wise? Egoist is moving along much better than Romantica, but from the get go Egoist has had more mystery and thus more to
be discovered. Romantica is more of watching how the relationship progresses story than one full of twists and turns. In that sense they are different to one another but the author has done well at having them both progress as readable and likable stories.
The characters are good too, well designed for their roles. They are developing well too, most notibly in Romantica with Misaki and Usami changing as their relationship grows.
The let down for me in this manga at the moment is Egoist. As the back story unravels I'm feeling a bit confused. It's almost like everything in it is happening too quickly, before we've been allowed to get to know the characters in the present we are being plunged into their past.
Romantica on the other hand has stolen my heart away. I can't wait to get my hands on volume 4 and I really hope it's filled with lots of chapters of Romantica.
If you like your yaoi graphic with a little bit of shippyness then grab this one, its taken 3 volumes for me to love it but its worth it.
A great plot, though at first I was confused about the story of random characters in every one volume, but to find somehow they are all related in one link it surprised me so and increased my interest to read more. The characters of seme & uke are all in the same style and taste (Older seme and younger brat), no reverse, but still enjoyable. The differences among characters are they began their lives in different paths which eventually guide them to know each other and set their destiny together.
Boy's Love or Yaoi have been exciting manga fans in Japan for several decades. Western manga fans have also jumped on the bandwagon, and are enjoying this forward moving genre. It breaks down taboos and challenges our own perceptions of manga. Let's delve deeper into the exciting world of Yaoi!
Ready for some MORE romance? The Junjou Romantica series that took the world by storm oh so many years ago is BACK for its 3rd season! Join us in our interview with the voice actor for the bashful cutie, Misaki -- Takahiro Sakurai!