“Conventions of Love” – DramaCon (OEL) – 7/10 Black Cats


Love at first sight is often cured by a second look.
Love is sweet when it’s new, but sweeter when it’s true.
Love is like a butterfly, it settles upon you when you least expect it.
Love is the hardest habit to break, and the most difficult to satisfy.
~Drew Marrymore

Genre: Romance/Comedy/Drama

Review Status:
Complete (3 Volumes/3 Volumes)

Licensed: No. It was currently licensed by Tokoypop, but it isn’t any longer.

Art: Very good! All the characters are easily recongizeable, and very cute! The panels flow well, and the backgrounds are excellent.

Summary: When amateur writer Christie settles in the artist alley of her first ever anime convention, she sees it as an opportunity to promote the manga she had started with her artist boyfried. But when she unexpectedly falls for a mysterious cosplayer, things become complicated. What do you do when you love someone who is going to be miles away from you in just a couple of days?! (Back cover of the 1st volume)

Review:
This manga has earned a special place in my heart. An OEL manga about being an OEL mangaka gives a unique perspective on being a first time con goer (and all the interesting complications, drama, and surprises that come with it!), and the difficulties of making an OEL manga in the first place.

This covers all its bases very well and realistically. There were quite a few things that I enjoyed, from the mention of the men in skirts that don’t shave their legs, to how hard it is to break into the hardcore fans because it isn’t really ‘manga’ (which the author obviously has an opinion on, and I do have to sympathize with). This treats them with intelligence and humor, and I felt that in many ways these were the best parts of the manga.

The characters having to deal with all that on top of romance and family troubles is definitely something to behold! It’s hard not to love them, each one being such an individual. All of them are fully realized, and it’s wonderful to see their personalities bounce off of each other and create both chaos and chemistry.

However, the plot doesn’t quite live up to the brilliance that I expected from the hilarious first page. Most of it is quite good, really, from having to deal with security and other congers, getting recognized in the industry, the rough choice between going for your dreams with or without the support of a family that just doesn’t understand. Unfortunately, there’s two things that really bothered me. One was the choice of using attempted rape. Rape should never be used lightly, and that’s exactly how it comes across, both from the circumstances that precipitate it and in the aftermath of what happens to her and the boyfriend. The other is another obvious plot device to get one of the main characters and her mother closer together, used in a thousand dramas before this one.

These bring down what otherwise is a good story about the issues about romance that can happen at a convention. It really is good at tackling why it can be complicated- the distance that people live from each other, how it can be scary to actually take the step to keep in touch, the things that can happen between cons. Of course, a love triangle does happen- where Matt ends up getting together with another girl because… Well. Actually, that’s really never made clear, because it’s obvious that he really liked Christie and wasn’t really that into the other girl. This makes for a really awkward and heartbreaking situation for the other girl. She’s understandable jealous and hurt by how she’s just forgotten when it comes down to it.

All this means that some things are handled more smoothly than others, but in the end is a very decent story. Plot issues aside the romance was sweet (and sometimes bittersweet), while the situations are something that every con-goer (both those that aren’t in artists’ alley and those that are) are familiar with. It’s relatable, and accessible, for anyone who enjoys their conventions!

Overall, this was an interesting manga about the fandom and a touching manga about romance.

Recommended: 16+. There is attempted rape, almost-sex (thankfully no more than some kissing happens, though in one part they’re clearly nekked beneath the sheets). There is mention that Christine has had sex with her first boyfriend- and both she and her boyfriend are about 16 in the first volume). It’s also brought up between Matt’s ex and Christie. There’s also language- everything except the f-bomb makes an appearance about twice a volume.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Bakuman (anime and manga)
Genshiken (manga)
Fall in Love like a Comic! (manga)
Comic Party! (anime)
Doujin Work (manga)

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