There was a time where my memory was more fresh; where I could remember a voice actor’s or a manga artist’s name in a heartbeat. Now, I can remember only the major ones, my ‘major’ here being the series that I go back to re-read regularly. It gets worse with voice actors. I can’t really pick a favorite, either but Hayakawa Nojiko’s name appears in a second when I’m asked who my favorite BL manga artist is. Me, still waiting even after 5 years for the artist to finish Suna wo Kizamu Hari might give you an idea how bewitched I am.
Title: Endou-kun no Kansatsu Nikki
Artist & Author: Hayakawa Nojiko
Release Year: 2010
Status: Finished, 1 volume. Has 2-volume sequel, Endou-kun no Jikken Note and a spin-off, Imamade Korekara.
Licensed? (Y/N): No (Who do I need to fight?!)
3-second-synopsis: Your next love story might sail off thanks to an hair-obsessed hairdresser-in-the-making classmate.
Endou enters Tsuda’s radar due to his friend Kanzaki’s obsession with hair. Kanzaki is pestering Endou to let him cut his hair. Since he’s a chatterbox, on the side he keeps whining how Endou is brushing his pleads off to Tsuda. Tsuda, for the life of him, cannot understand what’s the deal. His interest in this shaggy-haired boy sitting in front of him starts with a fleeting image that appears in his mind, kindling something within that is akin to desire. Not being able to name this feeling, he continues to observe Endou while trying to communicate with his dismissive classmate. Little does he know that, under the wavy long hair and behind his glasses, Endou has been watching Tsuda, too.
What do you think are the reasons that a piece is speaking to the reader? Storytelling? One of the characters, character designs, the topic? That thug you feel in your heart you just can’t put in words or a combination of these? My interest in Hayakawa Nojiko’s works started with the covers. I enjoy seeing in ‘fragments’. Images that reveal themselves partially, discontinuity in events and time in a plot, seeing through a narrator like puzzle pieces; probably this was the reason I was very fond of how the cover art looked as if the image was broken into candy-like, translucent pieces.
Then came the storyboards. Nojiko’s style allows them to aid the emotional flow through non-conventional framing and speech bubbles. Can’t say I’ve read heaps of manga, however, it is still the only example I saw with such dynamic usage of this tool. I already know storyboard is a topic in and of itself, an aspect that artists put great time and effort into learning and executing; Hayakawa Nojiko takes it to another level.
Not to mention the sketch-y feel and really pretty character designs. At this point, the story would be about oil price changes in the Middle East and my heart would still skip a beat. Yet, the story is executed brilliantly, too. The only thing left for me to do is to cry about it on social media. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Another positive aspect is, sadly, it’s quite common for women to be portrayed as evil in all forms in BL, used as a plot tool for the pairings to progress without making the reader feel remorse. If the third party in a love triangle is just as good and desirable as the main love interest, then we become invested in them. However, in Nojiko’s works, women are not portrayed as cunning, jealous or relationship-breaker (just made up a new word). Instead, they are their own people and have their own characteristics even if they are side characters..
I recommend Endou-kun no Kansatsu Nikki for many reasons listed above, but also because it’s neither too lighthearted nor too heavy, has such a good pace and delightful characters. When all else fails, I’m sure somewhere in the world, it’s scientifically proven that looking at pretty images makes you feel happy. This is all for today! Hope you enjoyed and see you next week ~~