I love mangas but I’m more particular these days about the new titles from mangakas I’ve never heard of with drawing styles that make me miss the good old golden days of the 80’s and 90’s stuff. That’s not to say a good story can’t be hidden in a less attractive drawing style or that I won’t wade through a dull story if the illustrations are gorgeous. It’s just hard to find the two existing together and the rare birds that pop up nowadays are scooped up like hidden treasures. The already ended 10-volume manga Kinkyori Renai (Close Range Love) by Mikimoto Rin will be getting a splashy big screen live-action adaptation this fall starring Yamashita Tomohisa and newbie actress Komatsu Nana. I tried to read the manga but haven’t been hooked enough to keep going past volume 1, but in light of the movie adaptation starring my Yamapi I went back and read the final volume 10 just to make sure it ended well. It certainly does and actually the ending trajectory was quite nice and makes me want to go back and read the whole thing despite not liking the drawing style very much.
This is one manga where I think Yamapi is wayyyyyyy more good looking than the male lead as drawn in the manga. Normally the live action cast can’t even match up to the ridiculous good looks of manga characters but in this case I’d watch Yamapi for hours doing nothing other than just stand there. The first teaser trailer is out and is too short to be a delicious treat but I swooned nonetheless to see Yamapi in a suit while in a school setting. I swear watching too many J-doramas years ago where Pi was always a delinquent or eccentric high school student (Dragon Zakura, Nobuta wo Produce) makes me squee and do double-takes seeing him as the sensei now. Sigh, Yamapi really is all grown up. Kinkyori Renai is the story of an unexpected romance between a high school English teacher and his no-nonsense whip smart student. Teacher-student romances are a dime-a-dozen in shoujo mangas and are treated as frothy fantasy without any of the power imbalance and age/experience gap subtext that Western audiences associate with such relationships. This particular story is handled deftly from what I’ve read and actually has people behaving sensibly and making right choices.
First teaser for Kinkyori Renai: