Comic Books Magazine

Lies Are A Gentleman’s Manners Review

Posted on the 15 January 2014 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

Lies are a gentleman's manners - CoverTitle: Lies Are A Gentleman’s Manners (Usotsuki wa Shinshi no Hajimari)
Genre: Yaoi, Romance, Drama
Publisher: Juné
Artist: Marta Matsuo
Translation: Steven LeCroy
Original Release Date: September 20, 2013
Free Preview >>HERE<<

Lies Are A Gentleman’s Manners is a one-shot manga composed of small stories in chronological order that concern the very physical relationship between taciturn college student Jonathan and his gentleman-of-a-professor, Paul Thomas Haskins.

For a one-shot with a “Student and Teacher are in love” plot many have already seen before, Gentleman’s Manners did a good job of remixing it and rendering it much more different than some would expect, the most visible element being the characters’ personalities and roles.

Jonathan, for example doesn’t completely fall into the stereotype of the uke; he’s brash, unpredictable and a bit of a smarty-pants, especially whenever he interacts with Haskins. As for Mr. Gentleman, he’s a character who seems much more approachable than your typical seme – while he does play the cool card rather frequently, there were times where he revealed his soft side – and made him all the more likable in my eyes.

I can’t say much about the other characters, since they rarely appear in more than one short story and serve merely for the sub-plot (a point which I will enter in depth later), which I find a shame really. Focusing on only the main characters can quickly make things tiresome and make you want to skip through the pages until the next hot scene (not judging), but since we get to discover a new facet of Jonathan or Haskins in every story, it’s not as flagrant as I’d thought it would be. To be honest, it’s only after ending the manga that I’ve noticed the other characters didn’t get their chance to shine – sure, they make their appearances, talk with one of the main characters, then disappear to I-don’t-know-where, but they were easily forgettable and once again, only served for the sub-plot.

Lies are a Gentleman's Manners

Okay, so story-wise, I had fun seeing Jonathan and Haskins’ relationship have its unavoidable ups and downs, twist and turns and…you get the point. I also appreciated the fact that their couple wasn’t what I consider close to being shoujo-esque – in other words, dramatic situations capable of making one’s eyes do a 360 – and their troubles or little problems were rather realistic. There were concerns such as Jonathan being afraid of Haskins falling for someone else than him, or Haskins who hesitated whether or not to renew contact with an old lover. However, the topic of being homosexual was one of the things I wished they could have put more attention onto, mostly since I wanted to know if they had any fears about how others would see them (seeing as they were keeping this fact secret from their friends and family) and how they managed they handled their this secret. For example, I do remember Jonathan in the first pages denying the fact that he might be gay, but also later on, he started worrying about what people on campus would think regarding him being still single and rejecting other girls (because apparently, he’s pretty popular). Having a few pages focusing on Jonathan’s thoughts could have made the story seem more credible instead of pushing it away and moving on to other things.

And another little thing – when thinking of the manga’s title, one would immediately believe it refers to Haskins, and I believe it does too. But if the title concerns Haskins and his ways, why couldn’t they focus on his thoughts too? Just like Jonathan, a page or two shows their lives without their partner and I found it very unsatisfactory. Until the end of the manga, Haskins and Jonathan still remain mysteries to us, which at the same time, is classy yet frustrating.

Lies are a Gentleman's Manners

A last element – the artwork. For once, I didn’t have a problem with the art and found it decent. It isn’t exaggerated (which is the problem I have with most Yaoi, or manga in general), fits the story perfectly, and it isn’t sketchy.

Okay, so maybe it is sketchy at times, but it really didn’t bother me at all. Honest.

Lies Are A Gentleman’s Manners was a good first read of the year and I really enjoyed the interactions between Jonathan and Haskins. I wish it could have been more than a one-shot, even if it did end on a satisfying note, but I guess it’ll be too much to hope for. Maybe if a physical copy is ever published in my country, I’ll consider purchasing it and permanently adding it to my collection.


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