PopTalk with Aedan and Amrita #1: A Further Look into The World’s Greatest First Love & the Realm of Yaoi
Once we got the go-ahead for our very own column, we began to wonder what our first topic should be and we thought “Hey! What better topic than Sublime’s new yaoi release The World’s Greatest First Love?” Aedan, who just recently finished the first volume, will give his impression on the popular boys-love series and although Amrita already reviewed the first volume she’ll provide her views as well, but first lets take a closer look at the genre of Yaoi.
For all those who are unaware, yaoi (also commonly referred to as Boys Love - BL) is a type of genre, with works created mainly by women, which focuses on the romantic relationship between two male characters. Yaoi has become exceedingly popular through-out the years, mainly attracting female audiences along with a portion of male readers and viewers. Manga, anime, conventions, and even fan created works are all included in the budding yaoi craze that has developed more each year with its passionate fans. Often viewed as a taboo subject, Yaoi is commonly disregarded by general fans, an unfair assessment made by people with preconceived notions about a “boys love” story. The first yaoi Amrita (yaoi expert) came across was Reiko Yoshihara’s Ai No Kusabi: The Space Between. A riveting and complex set of novels released by Juné that introduced Amrita to a genre that quickly became a favorite among all others; With Aedan’s first exposure being the comical and delightful one-shot Honey Darling, that tells the story of a veterinarian and animal lover falling head over heels. Yaoi manga’s have an incredible selection, which range from light-hearted romances such as Private Teacher, His Favorite, and Honey Darling to more darker and passionate stories such as the immensely popular Finder series and Ai No Kusabi.
SuBLime’s The World’s Greatest First Love definitely falls into the category of a more romantic and comedic tale that chronicles the life of Ritsu Onodera, an editor for Marukawa Publishing’s shojo manga department. Ritsu spends the majority of the first volume stressing about his new job and constantly denying his feelings for his boss and high school sweetheart, Masamune Takano. Ritsu is a likeable protagonist who oozes relatability; often noticing that his thoughts and concerns in regards to his love life and work life paralleled our own. This story’s stand-out, however, was Ritsu’s love interest Takano. His persistence and love for Ritsu made him all the more endearing and his comedic scenes with Ritsu proved to be the highlights of the volume along with their cute, romantic moments.
Amrita: My favorite moment of the first volume happened to be a more romantic one. After turning in one of the author’s manga copies just in the nick of time, Ritsu finds himself alone with Takano. Ritsu apologizes for being late, but Takano assures him he knew he would get the copy in on time somehow and that’s something he’s always loved about Ritsu: his determination and persistence. Takano praises Ritsu and as he’s making his way out of the office, he runs his hand through Ritsu’s hair. Ritsu stands blushing in place and (internally) begs Takano to not invade his defenses any further. The World’s Greatest First Love is a sweet and heartwarming love-story that I had hardly any complaints about. The art of the series is phenomenal and I found myself enjoying Shungiku Nakamura’s more hilarious panels that feature a disgruntled Ritsu or chibi-esque versions of the characters. The plot was a good balance between comedy, romance and drama. I quickly became attached to the characters of Ritsu and Takano and look forward to their story’s endgame (which will hopefully end in the two finally getting together). I simply can’t get enough of The World’s Greatest First Love. That being said, I can’t wait for volume 2.
Aedan: World’s Greatest First Love was my first experience to the BL genre anime, and the series surprisingly captured a sweet hopeful romantic ambiance that kept me watching until the second seasons end (season 3 please!) When I realized Sublime had licensed the series in manga print, I was quickly prepared to get a deeper look at the series, and I can attest that it managed to maintain the romantic giddiness that made the anime fun to experience. The character of Ritsu Onondera manages to capture the hopeless romantic persona, with a splash of naivety that makes his role relatable to some. (you know you’re out there, you may even be reading this review!) After 10 years, his High School “love” from afar, has quickly faded from his memory but after entering the world of manga editing, Ritsu comes to realize he will be working with – and for – his former crush, Takano. It seems like in the beginning that his feelings are one sided, but we become aware that Takano has deep feelings for Ritsu, and takes it upon himself to make sure he can make Ritsu acknowledge their love once again. The art itself is some of my favorite manga artwork, each character is drawn precisely, and the background panels that provide a look at the manga office is elaborate enough to feel real. World’s Greatest First Love best achieves a self deprecating humor, acknowledging the behind the scenes details to creating a manga itself, and all of the facets included. The first volume introduces humor, and romance, that sets up for a fun story that I’m definitely ready to continue reading.
Stay tuned for PopTalk with Aedan and Amrita #2 where we review volume #1 of Sublime’s Love Stage!! Also check out PopWrapped’s complete review of the first volume of The World’s Greatest First Love,HERE