Minazuki Akira “Konya wa Take-Out nite”
Dubbed “Konya wa Make-Out Time” by a friend (for good reason), this book is Minazuki Akira’s debut tankoubon. Released in mid-to-late 2009, HertZ Series’ sixty-third book, it didn’t really make that big of a splash. Though the ratings on amazon.jp are quite good with four out of every five people putting it in the above-average range, it didn’t really go places on any high-scale rankings for sales or popularity. It did, however, pave a path for Minazuki Akira’s name to be better-heard when her second tankoubon arrived on the scene a year later.
But this isn’t a review for Kono Yoru no Subete, though that tankoubon is also fabulous. While not as popular and perhaps not as supposedly ‘deep’ as its follow-up, Konya wa Take-Out nite definitely has its own fair share of charm and appeal with very beautiful and original art, interesting stories and cute characters.
The tankoubon itself consists of three separate stories, the first of which (the title story) is about two men working in the fast food business; Iwakiri is the hard-working but playful manager of a fast food restaurant who falls in love with Matsumoto Kei, a helper from the main offices, the second he sees him. Story two takes a more supernatural approach, following what seems to be an ice demon as he learns what it’s like to feel human after meeting a young doctor who previously lost his wife and thus never wants to get close to another human to spare himself the pain and regret. The third and final story takes a more romantic and sensual approach, about a businessman-turned-sculptor who starts living with a younger genius who is in love with the contours of his body. A varied grouping of stories with something that most anyone can be interested in.
Minazuki’s art is somewhat unusual and admittedly might be hard for some people to get used to. I remember the first time I read something by Minazuki Akira; I was a bit shocked by the minimalist approach to screentone and thus found it hard to follow her paneling. But it’s just that: something you have to—and should!!—get used to. Perhaps you have to pay closer attention to her artwork, but it’s worth the effort. Her style is incredibly expressive when necessary and she is very adept with working out truly beautiful facial expressions and emotions.
As for what one might consider the highs and lows of her manga, I know there are some people who are not interested in romance and while this manga does have a lot of focus on its own specific plots, like 99.9% of all BL manga the main general focus is the romance and sexual tension between the characters. While it would be a stretch to call this tankoubon dirty by any means, there is a lot of sexual content so fans of strictly sex-free manga should beware. But the sex scenes are always very attractive and well-handled. Perhaps because Minazuki is so good at portraying emotion, she is very good at injecting a beautiful sensuality into her romantic scenes and it puts them a step higher than, say, a sex scene that exists just to titillate the reader. Also, as stated previously, the art might take some getting used to because you can’t really just skim it like you can with some other manga—to properly enjoy her stories I think you have to pay close attention to the changes in the characters faces to see the moods and emotions portrayed there.
Personally, I quite liked this story—it’s been quite a long time since I’ve been sincerely excited about a scanlation. I’m thankful that it was released all at once since I don’t know how I possibly could have waited for it on a chapter-to-chapter basis. Very addicting and an easy and enjoyable read.