Liberty Liberty! by Hinako Takanaga
This yaoi title ditches explicit sexuality in favor of character development, which results in an engaging story about two damaged people who help each other through their newfound friendship. Itaru is a runaway living in a garbage heap. Kouki is a cameraman from a low-rent cable TV station who is staking out the garbage heap in an attempt to catch a stalker for a news story. Kouki stumbles across Itaru, who promptly pelts him with garbage and breaks his camera before passing out. Kouki brings Itaru home and informs him that he has to work of his debt by helping out at the cable TV station and getting an outside job in order to replace the equipment that he broke.
The TV station has a number of supporting characters, but the most prominent is Kurumi, a man who has decided to become a female TV anchor. Kurumi is lighthearted and keeps the TV station running against impossible odds. As Itaru gets to know the people at the TV station more, he wants to help out. He’s also attracted to Kouki’s cool reserve and is even more intrigued when he finds out that the cameraman has a damaged eye. Itaru shares his reasons for running away from home and college and Kouki is sympathetic, saying that it is better to retreat and maintain one’s pride when faced with a terrible situation.
Itaru realizes that he has feelings for Kouki, but he’s heard at work that Kouki has been nursing a crush on Kurumi for years. Is there any hope that his feelings will be returned?
Liberty Liberty! is generally lighthearted in tone, and I appreciated the time spent on developing the characters’ backgrounds and relationships. Even though the other supporting characters didn’t get featured as much as Kurumi, it was easy to visualize the camaraderie that developed between the group at the scrappy TV station. I realized after reading this manga that it was by the author of You Will Drown in Love, so the character building and attractive art were to be expected.
There’s nothing particularly explicit about this single-volume title other than a few kisses, which may make it a good choice for libraries who want to stock yaoi titles that aren’t 18+.
Review copy provided by the publisher.