Junior Escort, Vol. 3: Crazy Star
Several years ago, Kyo Ayukawa was a rising star in Japan. He shared the screen with the handsome Koji Mizuhara, but their feelings for each other ignited off the screen as well. Kyo seemed to have it all until one fateful day when a man he rejected took revenge by taping a group of foreigners gang raping Kyo and distributing the tapes under the title "Crazy Star."
Since the incident, Kyo has left show business and lost his memories of his time as an actor. The only thing he can sense is a desire to meet Koji. To do so, Kyo reenters to the world of entertainment as "Natsu," a member of the pop boy-group X-Cross. The members of X-Cross know Natsu's true identity but decide to keep him in the dark to protect him while gathering the scandalous videos.
One day, when Koji returns, Natsu instantly knows that he has some kind of connection with the star. He decides that he is ready to learn the truth about his identity, no matter what the consequences. Little does Natsu realize that someone close to him has been working behind the scenes to ensure that doesn't happen.
Crazy Star is a tale of love found, lost, and found again. This whole time, the characters in Kyo's life all think the best way to protect Natsu is to keep him in the dark rather than help him recover his memory. It is a sweet gesture, and it makes the reader question if they would do the same. Is it really better to forget a traumatic past than to face the horrors head on?
Clearly, this series is meant for adult readers with its themes of sexuality, rape, suicide, and blackmail. Hanafubuki searches for something deep, dark, and real despite the glamorous lifestyles the characters lead.
Instead of reflecting that darkness with gritty art, Hanafubuki went with a simplistic shoujo style, which puts the series into a more romantic, yaoi setting. Although it is visually aesthetic, the simplicity sometimes makes it troublesome to differentiate between some of the characters. Some scenes cut back and forth, much like a television show would, which makes it even more challenging to keep track of who is speaking with whom. Hopefully by this third volume, readers will have grown accustomed to the characters.
Crazy Star offers more plot than in a typical yaoi manga, which will make it very refreshing to a veteran reader who desires more of a plot than "Boy meets boy. Boy falls in love with boy. Boy has secret relationship with boy."
Reviewed by Courtney Kraft on July 9, 2012