Sensual Phrase, Vol. 1
by Mayu Shinjo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So, as I said I would I read through Sensual Phrase (Kaikan Fure-zu) by Mayu Shinjo. The story of Sakuya, a visual kei rock band singer (with a distorted past) and Aine, a high school girl. Upon a chance meeting (Sakuya almost runs her over) Aine becomes the lyricist for Lucifer, Sakuya’s band — and their relationship quickly develops into a hot & heavy romance.
I like this series but some parts are certainly better than others. Some of the angsty feelings between this couple get annoying after a while. They’ve obviously said they trust and love each other, and then seconds later they will not trust each other. It’s like no matter how much they can say something, they don’t actually mean it — and that can get annoying.
There are parts which are really good. I love the little side-stories where Sakuya’s bandmates fall in love. I love the relationship their producer has with them. And I do appreciate that bad things actually happen to the characters. Sometimes stories about teenage angst is only emotional. This series gives you plenty of terrible situations that the characters have to overcome. Sometimes they’re more successful than others, but usually they’re entertaining.
The worst part of the series comes in book 18, the final volume. The short-story where Aine, and Sakuya return home from New York after 2 years. The artist is clearly different — it almost feels like a fan-made doujinshi. The characters have metamorphosized into being younger and cuter, which doesn’t suit their characters or where they’ve come from. They’ve been through too much garbage to be looking so cute by the end. I also think the bedroom scene moves it too closely to the “Ladies Comic” (i.e. pornographic) genre of manga. I didn’t think this was necessary, but whatever.
There are a few short stories by the original artists at the very end. They are highly enjoyable, and take away the awful saccharine taste that you get earlier in the volume.