I just found out it’s been over a year since I’ve done a proper full-blog post on a manga! The last one was in Nov 2015 and it’s now the end of Jan 2017! Oh man… ahahaha… Time passed so fast I didn’t even realise it. Had actually planned to share about a series I love very much every November for my blog’s anniversary (and my birthday), but that didn’t work out so well last year (2016) OTL I always have plans for my blog but never really have the chance to do them. Still working on that time management and posting faster thing I guess, but here’s something I really wanted to share about after finishing it recently.
Manga: Loved Circus「ラプドサーカス」
Loved Circus is a Yaoi, slice-of-life, comedy, drama, romance by Asada Nemui. It was serialised over the course of a year (from Apr 2014 to Apr 2015) and is complete with 6 chapters and an extra, compiled into 1 tankobon volume.
Trying to help a female sex worker he’s fallen in love with, plain and ordinary salaryman Kei has thrown away everything. In despair over his own failings, he attempts suicide. The next time he opens his eyes, he finds himself still alive and inside a sex establishment catering to gays: Circus.
Loved Circus follows the story of Kei, along with 3 other guys (Shiro, Joe and Rin) who work at Circus, as they search for love and their own ways to live.
WARNING: Guyxguy. A little NSFW with a few explicit scenes but artfully censored in the way panels are framed and drawn. It’s honestly not so much the explicit scenes that make it rated, but more of the crude humor and blatantly natural storytelling of… well… people that are paid to have sex as their job. It’s a story for mature audiences. That’s it.
After reading so many Yaoi and BLs, lots of them just kind of blur together and I will always have trouble remembering mangakas, titles, art styles and story styles. There are always so many good ones out there, but the Yaoi/Bl genre is crazy-densely populated with such short publications — It’s nigh-impossible to remember all of them in detail, at least for me.
Loved Circus is definitely one I won’t be forgetting anytime soon though. I’m going to put it on my ‘purchase tankobon someday’ list too!
With a cover image like the one above and the colour image below, the first impression I had of the series was that it would be very protagonist-and-love-interest-centric in that the story would be predominantly based on 1 relationship with just a little bit of others. I’m glad I was proven wrong.
Loved Circus isn’t just based on one relationship, nor is it JUST a romance drama. It’s basically a slice-of-life story on the relationships and every-day life of these 4 sex workers working in a gay sex club + their boss: Things happen and everyone has their own shit, but at the end of the day, they’re still trying to live life as they can. That’s the feeling I get from it.
The story and relationships between each character was told in such a way that everything felt natural and just as it is. From the smooth conversations they have to the way they behave and react, you’re immediately drawn to each of the 4 guys in Circus. Every character has a well-developed personality with their own circumstances that led them to work in the same place. I’m at a loss on words to explain how… easily everything developed, but reading this manga was a breath of fresh air that I didn’t know I needed. Not to mention, I really liked all the crude humour that was thrown in, as expected from a setting+comedy like this XD
For a story on people who have sex as their job, I’d like to add that there is a surprising lack of explicit scenes. I can count on less than one hand exactly how many scenes are actually shown, while the rest are just “jobs” and mentioned in passing. Whatever scenes that was actually shown was all for the development of a character/the story and had a distinct reason for being drawn in the first place.
Backgrounds in Loved Circus are scarce as with many other Yaoi and BLs. Not a lot of tones+shading is used either, but the atmosphere portrayed is always spot-on. I’ve always had a preference for simple, distinctive art styles especially for Yaoi and BL, so Asada-sensei’s sketchy, but expressive style is definitely right up my alley. It’s not anything very special nor is it pretty, but with one look at the characters expressions and their looks, you have clear impressions on them, like,”they’re very pretty, prettier than others” or “they’re super cool” or “they’re kind of average”… those kind of thoughts that help you get into it.
For as much as I (am trying to) wax lyrical about Loved Circus, I don’t think this is a series that a lot of people would like as much as I hope. It’s not a generic Yaoi/BL love story for one, there aren’t many sexy scenes for two, and three, if not for the fact of guyxguy explicit, i’d definitely consider this a slice-of-life, above any other genre it’s categorised under.
Asada-sensei’s a pretty new mangaka and only started officially publishing in 2014, but I’m definitely keeping them in my radar from now on. Most of their few stories I’ve read have left a surprisingly distinct memory on me. And with Loved Circus being only their 2nd full comic, that’s a lot of promise to consider.
Looking through the manga again while typing this post, I keep accidentally getting distracted and reading a number of pages before realising I was actually doing something else, ahaha. I’m a sucker for stories that portray characters living and making the best of whatever shitty situations they end up in, so this story was a major treat. I really enjoyed Loved Circus and the more I think about it, the more I love it. I just hope you guys (and others) might take the chance and try it out too! Asada Nemui’s definitely a mangaka to look out for in the future 🙂