Manga Review – One-sided Love Paradise

One-sided Love Paradise Volume 1

One-sided Love Paradise
片恋パラダイス (Katakoi Paradise)
KOIDE Mieko
Boys’ Love – Romance
1 Volume of 2 Volumes (complete)
Media Do (Nihonbungeisha)

Summary:

Hitoshi has been in love with his naive older brother for years. But as Hitoshi prepares to start college, will his feelings for Mitsuro chill… or erupt? Or will he have a special meeting while he’s attending university?

Review:

Boring, clingy characters get mixed up with other boring and/or clingy characters in One-sided Love Paradise.

Let me recap the four chapters of One-sided Love Paradise for you:

Act 1: I’m a guy obsessed with my brother.
Act 2: I’m a lady in love with a guy who is in love with his brother.
Act 3: I’m a formerly girly-looking guy who is being followed around by a strange guy.
Act 4: I’m a formerly girly-looking guy who realized I’m a replacement.

In short, there’s a lot of one-sided love, but this manga ain’t no paradise.

Hitoshi is in love with his blood-related brother, Mitsuro. No, this isn’t a stepsibling love story, unless the second volume decides to suddenly go with a twist. But considering Hitoshi wishes that his mother had the two of them the same year, I’m guessing they’re full siblings. Even beyond that, Mitsuro himself plays a relatively minor role in the manga. He’s mostly just the object of Hitoshi’s attraction: a naive, caring (perhaps too caring!), somewhat clumsy older brother. He’s barely even in Acts 3 and 4.

One-sided Love Paradise Sample 1

Anyway, One-sided Love Paradise is very unusual in its presentation. I assumed, based on the first chapter and the cover, that the manga would be about Hitoshi trying to win over (seduce) his older brother. (I also assumed they were stepbrothers at first, and you know what they say about assuming!) Hitoshi is getting ready to move out and start college, which is part of the reason he’s a bit obsessive: he’s not going to be able to see Mitsuro every day. Even then, when Mitsuro is scammed yet again, Hitoshi thinks about canceling his move to a place near campus in order to watch over his somewhat-ditzy brother. After his graduation party, a drunk Hitoshi loses control when alone with Mitsuro (technically, sexually assaults him). Readers can draw their own conclusions about how far they went (definitely not all the way, according to Hitoshi), but Mitsuro decides to pretend it never happened.

Then the next chapter takes place two years earlier. And features an older woman that 16-year-old Hitoshi has been sleeping with. Huh? Why a whole sudden flashback? Anyway, she loves him, but Hitoshi only thinks about Mitsuro. Then the next two chapters take place early in Hitoshi’s first spring of college and concentrates more on Natsuhiko, a young man in one of Hitoshi’s classes that reminds him of Mitsuro. Hitoshi is very hands-on with Mitsuro (and has been over the years), and he continues this type of behavior with Natsuhiko, who is confused by Hitoshi’s behavior. He senses Hitoshi isn’t a bad person (like picking up trash on the ground), but he can’t helped but be taken aback when he does things like grab him so hard he falls just to ask to be friends with Natsuhiko or leave notes for him on the announcement board. His best friend doesn’t understand this whole situation, and other students even start to half-tease, half-assume they’re a couple. This causes a lot of mixed emotions for Natsuhiko.

I’m guessing the next volume will continue with the Hitoshi-Natsuhiko storyline, with Mitsuro inadvertently causing tension between them. However, considering the number of perspectives and one flashback chapter, who knows what One-sided Love Paradise will do next. Maybe we’ll see when Hitoshi first realized he had feelings for Mitsuro. Maybe we’ll see Hitoshi graduating and then deciding where to go. I don’t know.

One-sided Love Paradise Sample 2

And frankly, I don’t care. Even beyond the incest aspect, which is a very good reason for readers to be creeped out, the story is dull. Yes, maybe Hitoshi is beginning to break away from Mitsuro, but he should have done so years ago. He doesn’t care about what other people think of him holding hands with this brother or dashing off to meet with him. Even though he dismisses it as a drunken flight of fancy, it’s still disturbing that he wonders how to always be in Mitsuro’s life and then thinks about Mitsuro being handicapped. Not to mention his hands and mouth travel low on his brother’s body. And he doesn’t even agonize about it! The only reason he feels any regret is that he knows Mitsuro is mad. It’s only when Natsuhiko learns that he reminds Hitoshi of Mitsuro that Hitoshi begins to be reflective and gloomy. Natsuhiko, meanwhile, is too good of a character to be stuck in a manga like this. He’s been harassed for his looks, and once again someone is focused on his appearance.

In addition, while you likely won’t be able to tell from the cover, One-sided Love Paradise is from the 90s. The artwork is significantly different from the cover, which looks like a style similar to shoujo manga. Inside, the art is similar to, say, Tokyo Babylon or Please Save My Earth. It’s not bad, but an artstyle difference often happens when a manga is rereleased later with a new cover. There’s nothing wrong with the art, but it does give readers the wrong impression. Besides, there’s no scene in the manga anything like the cover! Anyway, eyes are bigger and faces are more rounded. So just be aware. Oh, but outside of Hitoshi’s attack in the bedroom, which doesn’t involve nudity or dirty talk, and seeing high schooler Hitoshi in bed with an older woman, the manga isn’t sexually graphic… at least for now.

Translation:

No honorifics are used.

Final Comments:

Yeah, no, I have no interest in continuing One-sided Love Paradise, even if it’s just a volume. Too bad, as I liked you, Natsuhiko, but you went and had to get mixed up in this whole thing, didn’t you?

The first volume of After School in the Teacher’s Lounge, also by Koide, was published by Digital Manga Guild.

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