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Liberty Liberty!    by Hinako Takanaga order for
Liberty Liberty!
by Hinako Takanaga
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

After reading You Will Fall in Love and its sequel, You Will Drown in Love, I became a big fan of Hinako Takanaga. Her latest manga to hit stateside, Liberty Liberty!, is a little tamer than her others (she even admits this in the author's notes) but, even being more shonen-ai than hardcore yaoi, it is still just as much fun.

Ostracized after accusing an upperclassman of plagiarism, writing major Itaru escapes to Osaka, only to wind up passed out in a pile of garbage. Cameraman Kouki, who is trying to get footage of a stalker for a local cable station, rescues Itaru, who immediately breaks his camera. With no home, no job, and a huge debt, Itaru ends up staying with Kouki until he can get back on his feet and replace the camera. Kouki isn't too sure of his new roommate at first, but warms up to him when Itaru saves him from a knife attack. Itaru feels more than friendship for Kouki. He does not want to jeopardize their living arrangement and working relationship, but the pain of losing Kouki is as bad as the pain of giving up writing.

Itaru is an interesting protagonist. He starts off lost and weak, but as he gets back on his feet, he becomes much stronger and even somewhat admirable. Kouki, however, does not change much, although he eventually, sort of, in typical guy fashion, admits his feelings at the end. One of the most entertaining characters, though, is Kurumi, the head of the company and a cross-dressing reporter. She always lightens the mood whenever she appears.

Liberty Liberty! (I don't understand the title) is more about Itaru's internal struggle and desire to prove himself than it is about him and Kouki hooking up (which, unlike in most yaoi, they do not do). Hardcore yaoi fans may be a little disappointed, but those who like a good story with cute boys who have a crush on one another will enjoy Hinako Takanaga's latest offering.

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