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72 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quality shounen-ai manga.
Yun Kouga's Loveless ranks among the best shōjo ("young women's") titles ever constructed. Yun Kouga is at the peak of her dreamy, ephemeral art and every panel is clean and captivating. Her simple but sharp dialogue is complemented by a readable translation. The story itself moves at an even clip. The characters are emotionally complex and memorably designed...
Published on February 14, 2006 by Calico Kat

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my personal taste
I tried to get into this manga but it was a little bit advanced for me to read. The story is really good from what I hear from friends but it's not for readers who are new to manga.
Published 21 months ago by Jennifer Petersen


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72 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quality shounen-ai manga., February 14, 2006
This review is from: Loveless, Volume 1 (Paperback)
Yun Kouga's Loveless ranks among the best shōjo ("young women's") titles ever constructed. Yun Kouga is at the peak of her dreamy, ephemeral art and every panel is clean and captivating. Her simple but sharp dialogue is complemented by a readable translation. The story itself moves at an even clip. The characters are emotionally complex and memorably designed.

Written for older teens and college students, the manga follows the classic, inevitable progression from innocence to experience--from childhood to adulthood--of its central character, Ritsuka Aoyagi. Against the simple thematic backdrop (the tumult of adolescence), Kouga-sensei explores sexuality, the ties that bind us to our kin, and, prominently, the power words have in shaping our reality. There's plenty to enjoy here for both the casual and intellectual reader.

That said, Loveless is not for every reader. There are relationships in the story some readers may simply not be comfortable with. There are homosexuals (both gays and lesbians) in the story. For some readers, interest stops there. More prominently, Ritsuka (twelve) is shown romantic affection by a college-age young man. Even though there's more to this than meets the eye, some readers will be justifiably put off.

Aside from these relationships, the series generally contains darker elements that put it firmly on the side of its Ages 16+ rating. Kouga-sensei deftly flirts with the risqué in crafting a gorgeous modern fairy tale equally accessible to Japanese and English audiences. If you have the kind of open mind that doesn't accept everything it reads at face value, Loveless is a manga for you.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh man, is this good . . ., April 19, 2006
By 
EmCue32 (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Loveless, Volume 1 (Paperback)
There was a lot of hype (well, a lot for a shounen-ai manga release in the US) in the run-up to publication, which was kind of suprising at the time but turned out to be wholly justified. This is a work that's not just a great shounen-ai story, it's a great story, period.

It's also a story with an aspect that most readers will find majorly challenging to accept and that other reviewers have already called attention to: namely, the sexual tension (albeit largely unrealized) between Ritsuka and Soubi. While it's understandable people might find this offputting, I think the issue--like so much else with this manga--is more nuanced and complex than it intially appears to be.

First of all, the active yearning is coming almost wholly from Ritsuka's side; Soubi says quite explicitly that he's not interested in Ritsuka in that way, at least not yet. (Of course what Soubi says and what Soubi intends and does can be quite different things, but if it makes you feel any better note that Seimei still had his ears ;-).) What Soubi wants from Ritsuka is something more profound and elusive--and perhaps ultimately more disturbing--than sexual possession.

Second, Ritsuka's age is quite deliberately fixed at the point when almost everyone begins to experience the emotional, physical and social transformations that accompany the onset of puberty. We see him--and Yuiko and Yayoi, to a lesser extent--struggling with these changes, which can range from bewildering to exhilarating, and are frequently both at once and everything in between. Ritsuka's "multiple personalities" are, if you like, a flattening of a metaphor for adolescence, a subjective perception made an external reality (maybe). Into this turmoil steps an adult (gotta love those ears) who knows his real name and that of his beloved (heh) older brother, the psychological center of his life. Seen in this context, in addition to the other plot elements at work, Ritsuka's attraction to Soubi takes on an inevitable logic: it's an integral part of the story, not a gratuitous bit thrown in for some titillation.

Not to say there aren't great lashings of titillation and UST--this is a shounen-ai title, after all, and Ms. Kouga knows what her job's about. But it's not all catboys (and girls) and blond biseinen. Beneath the fluff there's a subtle but sophisticated exploration of issues that turn up elsewhere in her work: perception and reality, identity and desire, language and power. Her depiction of the conflicting urges driving Ritsuka's behavior is not only sympathetic but will also be cringingly familiar to anyone who's spent time recently with preteens or remembers being one: the awkward liminal stage of being precocious enough to know about sex but not mature enough yet to really know what it is, ferociously curious about it and other aspects of the adult world but still apprehensive and unsure.

To flog a dead aphorism, there's more than meets the eye in this series, and you'll be rewarded if you take the time to explore it.

By the way, the anime adaption of Loveless is smashing. Check it out.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WELL CRAFTED STORYLINE, March 20, 2006
This review is from: Loveless, Volume 1 (Paperback)
Loveless proves the adage that you should never judge a book by its cover. What on the surface looks like it may be a whimsical romantic Manga is actually very different, not to mention a bit dark and disturbing. Ritsuka Aoyagi is the new boy in school and there is early hints at a very troubled past. He's immediately branded as something of a weirdo by the other students except for the beautiful but flighty Yuiko Hawatari who immediately becomes infatuated with him, constantly talking to him and following him around, even when he constantly insults her, even driving her to tears at one point. Ritsuka is lonely...his best friend and brother Seimei died and Ritsuka learns that it was murder.

Ritsuka meets a man named Soubi, an adult who claimed he had been Seimei's friend. Ritsuka is thrilled to meet any friend of his brother and perhaps unwisely trusts his every word until Ritsuka is creeped out when Soubi tells him that he loves him. Ritsuka learns that Soubi is a fighter unit, sworn to protect his master. He had been Seimei's defender and Seimei made him swear to protect Ritsuka should anything ever happen to him. Soubi soon has to live up to his charge as confronted by a rival fighter unit sent by Septimal Moon. The two engage in a battle of spells and the attacker is forced to retreat. Ritsuka's troubled past soon comes to light...loss of memory, the development of a split personality, and an abusive mother. Lots of secrets are hinted at in this first volume. How did Soubi transfer his protection from one master to another? Who or what is Septimal Moon and why did they kill Seimei? What is the reason for Ritsuka's memory loss and personality disorder?

Yun Kouga has given readers a lot to think about in this opening volume to her new series. The various plot threads are inter-woven masterfully throughout the story. I especially found myself liking poor Yuiko who at first just seems to want to be close to Ritsuka because she thinks he's hot, but soon we see that she truly cares for him despite his constantly pushing her away. Even he begins to thaw a bit towards her a bit as they team to work on a school project. The art is very good and I will be interested to see where the story goes from here.

Reviewed by Tim Janson
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Go Loveless-less (okay, that was lame), March 28, 2006
This review is from: Loveless, Volume 1 (Paperback)
'Loveless', I must say, is the most compelling and interesting manga I have read in a long while. It is unlike any other manga, with characters that have (almost) realistic problems, and believable conflict. 'Loveless' makes one believe that one can step outside and find yourslef in the middle of a battle by wordspell. The shounen ai elements, however, may cause some to stop reading right then and there, but I personally don't think that's a dilemma. All in all, 'Loveless' is a beautiful, complex story that someone like me can really relate to.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beloved Loveless, June 13, 2006
This review is from: Loveless, Volume 1 (Paperback)
New to manga/anime/yaoi/shonen-ai/shota, as of about four months ago, I encountered Loveless very early in my quest for the secrets of this amazing literary form, and I must say I got the impression all anima/manga was as profound and exquisite as Loveless. I saw the first episode on the Newtype free DVD and have been screaming and weeping and clapping my hands ever since. In spite of the ethereal beauty of the anime in vol.1 (or because of it), the suffering seeps through immediately. You know this child (Ritsuka) is abused one way or another, and that there are real secrets here as moving and significant as in any great work of literature. You know what you've got to work with as an empathetic viewer/reader: BIG HEARTACHE.

The longing is tremendous, and manifests in the yearning for each other among the other characters as well(Yuiko, Yayoi-san, the teacher and the therapist, Koya and Yamato, not to mention Ritsuka's poor mother)almost as much in the dance of relationship (whatever its nature)between Ritsuka and Soubi. There is throughout constant pleasurable tension in which the heart slowly breaks. This is not frivolous stuff. The lightness and humor which appears often only draws us into greater identification with the characters, and enriches the story.

The magical/fantasy element in the series suggests the truth of psychological struggle in the realm of the unconscious, and yet the action of story takes place in the world of realism, of believable emotional and social conflict. And while there are many conventions of the anime/manga I've seen (fighting with magical or scientific powers, high school or Jr. High social interaction, the necessity of loyalty and partneship in war, the awakening of love) Kouga takes these conventions to a level both more realistic and more sublime.

While Ritsuka's suffering is all-apparent and heartwrenching, I found myself worrying a lot about Soubi. He has lost Seimei, the Beloved, and will not have him back, however Ritsuka may have awakened him from the breakdown Kio describes. We also suspect he will not get what he really longs for however things turn out, that he will be the most tragic figure of all in this story. In addition, he is the so-called adult, who must not show his suffering, who must appear cool and mature as a model for these younger children. Soubi's role is in a way sadest and most sympathetic of all.

I did not at first know Earthian was also Yun Kouga's work. The contrasts and similarities are intriguing. In my opinion, the style of the art work in Loveless is much more beautiful, or perhaps just more to my taste. I will have to go back and check out the complexity I know Earthian contains. I want more Loveless and I'm afraid the next manga is all we're going to get. However, vol. 3 of the anime left things delicately open-ended, so maybe we're not going to be frustrated. Maybe Kouga-sensei will make some more gorgeous, thoughtful works of her beautiful art.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loveless vol.1, January 10, 2008
This review is from: Loveless, Volume 1 (Paperback)
I don't think my review matters any, seeing as this book gets 5 stars all the way across!

It's a great book, it's new and interesting. I came into this having seen the entire anime series first. I noticed that Ritsuka is more outwardly expressive in the manga series. I liked that a lot. It didn't make Soubi seem like such a perv in that aspect.

It's a great story, romantic, funny at times, adorable. Just a great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars surprised, February 13, 2008
By 
This review is from: Loveless, Volume 1 (Paperback)
Everyone around me seemed to be reading "Loveless". I finally gave in and read the first volume and I'm glad. The storyline was very unique and the artwork is beautiful. It is all around a good piece of work and is enjoyable to read. I couldn't put it down!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yun Kouga: Loveless manga vol.1, March 19, 2006
This review is from: Loveless, Volume 1 (Paperback)
Catboys.What else do ya need to know? Loveless tells the story of a 12y.o. Ritsuka. One day a strange man named Soubi comes to meet Ritsuka to his school, telling him that he's a friend of Ritsukas dead brother Seimei. Soubi takes him into a world of magic and hidden names, where words have more power than you'd ever believe!

There's many interesting aspects about the world that Kouga has created. For example the cat ears. They are so cute! I drooled all over this manga while reading it. So I had to buy a new one.. Apparently the ears dissappear when one becomes an 'adult' by losing his/her virginity. That's why Soubi doesn't have them. Let's just hope that in the end of the series Ritsuka doesn't have them either ;D Yeas, Loveless is a shounen-ai manga that has a heavy shota content. Lets face it: Ritsuka is 12 and Soubi is over 20 (I think). So, if shota is not your cup of tea then I'd recommend that you leave this manga alone and go grill your tennis socks or somethig as intelligent. Otherwise I need to congratulate you. For you have come across to an absolutely wonderful manga, with the most beautiful art, thrilling story (with some angst) and enough nosebleeds to end your life! I would have given this 7 stars if it was possible.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loveless, November 30, 2005
Loveless manga is a continuation of the anime series. It's about the developing relationship of Ritsuka and Soubi, after Seimei "died", leaving ritsuka as a fighter "Soubi". Not sure his, or soubi's role in his own life, Ritsuka searches for answers conserning his brothers death, and with Soubi's help (or more like Soubi's refusal to say anything and everyone else that knows soubi saying things here and there), Ritsuka gets closer to find out the ever present mystery of what really happened to his brother, and who the mysterious two moons are.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely. Just a note about the romance..., March 14, 2006
Loveless is compelling, well drawn, and has an interesting theme; the power of words. I just had to make a note about the romance. There are a few kisses between Soubi and Ritsuka, the two main characters. Near the end, Soubi has Ritsuka pierce his ears(while kneeling in his lap), and it's a rather provacative scene. I loved it, but there *is* a strong element of romance. It's definately 16+, and has a very light domination/submission theme, i'd say. A delighful treat for fans of Shônen-ai.
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Details

Loveless, Volume 1
Loveless, Volume 1 by Ray Yoshimoto (Paperback - February 7, 2006)
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