I'm high on "FAKE"
I must admit, this is my very first complete mangaand
it's a shonen-ai, to boot! I absolutely fell in love with this
manga so much that I avoided work (and my boss' calls) just so
I can spend the entire day reading volumes 2-7. That's how high
I am when it comes to FAKE. All logic, caution, and whatever objectivity
I try to muster in this opinion just dwindle away to a mass of
sighs that I seem to be producing on an hourly basis.
Four days after finishing volume 7, I still am not myself. I
kept re-reading favorite parts of just about all the volumes every
night before I go to sleep, particularly pages 148-158 of the
7th book (he he). During the day, I couldn't concentrate on meetings
and conferences, my thoughts lost in fantasy. I almost wish I
were born male. Male and gay.
So what makes FAKE so fabulous that I just can't stop thinking
about it? Well, for one, it was also the first shonen-ai manga
that was introduced to me by an online friend named Stella in
1997. Back then, what I can see were only scans off her own copies.
It was only late last year that I decided to buy my own set, inspired
by its overly short anime
OVA that I had rented recently. I spent $60 for the entire
set, but it was just worth it.
This is all thanks to Sanami Matoh, the ultra-talented author,
who knows just how to weave an erotic cop story filled with comedy
and romance. I've never been a fan of action films, but FAKE's
characters are so alive that you just can't help but adore them.
Two love angles make up the entire series. One is the Carol-Bikky
pairing and the other is the Dee-Ryo tandem. Dee Latener and Ryo
McLean are the main characterspolice officers working for
the 27th District of the New York Police Department. Oh and yes,
I forgot to mention that they're also a gay couple. What's good
about these two is that they break all sorts of stereotype associated
with gay people. For instance, Dee may be brash and macho, but
he's in fact the mushier half. Ryo is the "softer" half,
but he finds it difficult to express his feelings, especially
when it comes to Dee. Humor arises when Ryo's seriously bishounen
countenance gets flustered by Dee's not-too-subtle sexual advances.
Those who are not into boy-love scenarios, on the other hand,
can appreciate the Carol-Bikky love angle. Bikky is a golden-haired
African American boy who turns to acts of waywardness as a way
of rebelling towards a society that seemed to turn against him.
Cal, on the other hand, is a street-smart kid who has the same
naughty tendencies for (mis)adventures. Though Cal is three years
older than Bikky, this doesn't stop her from loving him...and
eventually sealing this promise of love on her 18th birthday (^_-).
Other characters that add more charm to FAKE are Berkeley Rose,
who not only holds a high ranking post at the NYPD but also has
a rather keen interest in Ryo; JJ, the second best sharp-shooter
in the department, who has the worst crush on Dee; Ras and Rai,
the teenaged couple who are friends with Cal and Bikky; and Diana,
the naughty FBI agent who can't seem to stop bestowing a little
complication upon Dee and Ryo's relationship from time to time.
Diana plays a very big role in the manga, as she will be the key
to Dee and Ryo's consummation of a long unrequited desire.
Once in a while, Sanami Matoh would add extra comic strips near
the end of a book, and these little strips would be written in
English. I find them extraordinarily entertaining, as the characters'
English resemble that of Noodle-chan's (Otaku Fridge's resident icon). A sample conversation would go:
Dee: He is fast asleep
Dee: I try to kiss
Bikky: (enters scene and stretches Dee's mouth, then runs away
Ryo: Oh...surprised... (doki, doki, dokiheart beating)
I noticed that the acts aren't necessarily in chronological order.
While the plot thickens in the middle of the series, some of the
acts seem out of place. Like for example, in volume 4 act 12,
Bikky and Cal "celebrate" Cal's 18th birthday. After
this act, they become children again. This persists in other volumes,
too, but it's not too much of a bother, since a break from all
the action can sometimes be needed.
All in all, I would highly recommend FAKE to anyone who would
be willing to listen and to anyone who is open-minded enough to
enjoy a good dose of comedy and action. I think shounen-lovers
(male and female alike) who are looking for something new would
also love this. Well, before I start sighing again, I must say,
"Try this. You definitely won't regret it!"