Candy Color Paradox Vol. 1 Manga Review

Pass.

Onoe is an investigative journalist who thinks he’s on his way up when he instead finds himself filling in on the stake-out team with photographer Kaburagi, a man he’s secretly considered his rival for a while. The two clash almost immediately, as Onoe lacks the skills needed for stake-outs and Kaburagi is dismissive of him as a professional. Onoe also takes extreme exception to the degree to which Kaburagi is willing to pursue leads. Oh, and Onoe is convinced that the other man stole his girlfriend, there’s that, too. But this is a yaoi title, so sprinkle on some time, and sure enough they’ll end up paired off! Might take a few hiccups and awkwardness around stake-outs in love hotels first, though.

Going to cut to the chase here – this is not a good manga. The set-up is pretty familiar, and it goes through the motions, but there isn’t a convincing case made for why Onoe or Kaburagi would end up attracted to each other. There’s simply no chemistry – I understand that enemies-to-lovers is a popular trope, but there has to be some sense that the folks involved do have an interest beyond simply picking at each other. The disdain both these men feel toward one another is too clear for it to feel like anything other than a box being ticked when they do finally kiss. “Ah, but, Day, what about hatesex?” Indeed, what about hatesex? Well, usually when folks are doing that, even if it’s clear they loathe one another on one level, there does still have to be a feeling that they’re drawn to each other sexually. That isn’t the case here – nor does it read as if that was how it was supposed to be, as we’ve got some tsundere antics tossed in, too, and Kaburagi directly states that he loves Onoe.

Setting aside that complete dealbreaker, the characters aren’t very good, either. Kaburagi’s ceaselessly rude. Onoe isn’t believable as a veteran journalist (his disgust with Kaburagi’s methods just don’t make sense if he’s been in the business for more than three minutes) and is often obnoxious. Other characters are entirely peripheral, so they don’t really bear mention, other than to note that they barely count as characters given how sketchily they’re depicted.

No, I will not be picking up the next volume; I want to read some more BL today, but this is not going to be the appropriate sop for that particular desire. Not recommended! Read something wherein the leads actually convincingly enjoy being around one another. I know that pickings are a bit slim for yaoi in English these days, but there’s definitely better stuff out there.

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