Object of Desire
Story and art by Tomoko Noguchi
Published by Luv Luv Press, imprint of Aurora Publishing
Review by Jilly Gee
Object of Desire is a collection of five, short love stories for ladies; six, if you count the two-chapter one as two. Five different, unrelated stories, five different leading ladies, three of which are a little ditzy. For the lucky ladies who weren’t ditzy, the guys turned out to be cheaters. Actually, all of them were cheaters with the except of one. I suppose the theme of this graphic novel should be “boyfriends who are jerks”.
Kako wants a guy to admit that he only wants to have sex with her instead of going through the motions of being her boyfriend and trying to hurry their dates along so they can go to a hotel. She finally meets that guy! They have sex, they actually have an amazing date, he tells her about his girlfriend…
Atsushi is constantly sleeping around with women other than Atsuko, she’s even caught him at it, and yet she still clings to him and obsessively texts him. The conclusion may have been sweet, but the premise of this story just doesn’t make any sense. She has threatened to break up with him if he cheats on her, and he actually tries to hide this cheating from her despite the fact that he thinks she is annoying and doesn’t want to be her boyfriend in the first place.
The two chapters of Shizuka and Kimura’s story was the best out of this graphic novel, not just because it was two chapters and had more room to develop the characters and their feelings than the 25 or so pages the other couples got. This first chapter alone had more depth and feeling than the rest of the other love stories put together. Shizuka has always been a smart, cool, cheeky girl. Everyone except Kimura is awed by her, so of course, she is attracted to Kimura. She admits, in the most casual way possible, that she likes him and they actually begin a relationship. The cheekiness she usually shows to him, though, is absent whenever they have sex, which rattles him. He tries to take his mind off of it with another girl, resulting in an unexpected blow-up from the cool Shizuka.
The follow-up chapter leaves behind most of the angst that was in Shizuka and Kimura’s previous story behind and is more comedic, with Shizuka scheming to get what she wants out of the relationship and the two of them playing baseball against a team that practically worships cool Shizuka.
Yuji is the one guy in this book who is not a cheater. Yay for Yuji. His girlfriend, Airi, is a kind, pretty, klutzy…airhead. In other words, she’s like an older version of the typical shoujo manga heroine, except without the incredibly long and awesome coming-of-age story to make her look less idiotic. The problem in this relationship comes when kind and klutzy Airi overhears what Yuji’s coworkers really think of her when they meet her at a party and she concludes that they are right. The story is sweet and makes a hell of a lot more sense than Atsushi and Atsuko’s, but it’s not anything more than that: sweet.
The final couple, Mami and Steve, do not have a sweet story, nor are there passionate, emotional feelings involved. Mami is a horny virgin and Steve is an exchange student staying with Mami’s family for the summer. Passionate, summer love? If only it were so. Just a quick summer fling, in this case. Mami, although disappointed that Steve was just looking for casual sex and not really in love with her, gets over it extremely quickly and is back to lusting over the guy from the beginning of the story.