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Ootsuki Miu: Paradise Baby

Ootsuki’s stories are usually hit or miss. I liked the first title I read by her, but a few of the works after were misses, so along with the art I wasn’t too fond of, I decided that I didn’t like her. I could say Ootsuki’s art has grown on me, but, like any artist, over time, she’s managed to refine her penmanship. I don’t mind it so much anymore. As for the stories, I always manage to find a decent one that keeps me from ignoring her work as a whole.

This was a hit and gets the highest score to-date for the stories I’ve read by her. Aside from Micchan, what I liked most about the title story was that the couple’s issues weren’t based on the isolated fact that they were both guys. Many of their concerns stemmed from it, so it was the nucleus of their issues, but it wasn’t solely that. And because of that, the obstacles they had to face and how they addressed them seemed not only plausible, but natural.

You’ll read some things and think, “it would be perfect if the writer just did XYZ.” Or “if A and B were flipped, it would be more interesting.” And that’s cool, but what that also does is erase that actual story the author wrote. Some things are like that, though. If a particular element was changed, it actually would be perfect and you (and maybe everyone) would be happier with that new version. The thing about the main story for me is that I don’t want to change any part of it; I appreciate it just the way it is. However, it has made me want to see another story written with an almost identical framework; an AU. I think it would read well if Sawa was the seme. Shiroi would still be younger, the confessor, and the more aggressive one; and Sawa would still be the older and visibly nervous one. With the friendship dynamics, the original is already a type of story I don’t recall reading before, so I think flipping Sawa and Shiroi’s roles would introduce yet another layer and not just between the couple, but the best friends as well. It might also be interesting if—and not that I want to break Sawa’s heart–Micchan and Shiroi kept each other company, although that’s totally doujinshi material because too many things would have to change for that to happen. But some main story line material is something I’ve only ever suggested/allowed once before and that is a party of three relationship. I think the foundation is there and with that, only one thing would need to change.

Although I had to suspend my dislike for people that don’t take “no” for an answer, I enjoyed the second story, “Love Letter.” It’s about changing perspectives and second chances. The last story, Kira Kira, was your average one about one friend confessing to the other and even though the one who was confessed to isn’t sure about how they feel or doesn’t feel the same way (yet), they still start dating. I’m always annoyed by those characters that take another’s feelings lightly by going into a relationship halfheartedly, but the story wasn’t bad.

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