Yaoi Review: Hero Heel vol. 3

Hero Heel Vol. 3
Story and Art: Makoto Tateno
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1-56970-728-6
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-728-9

Review by I-hsiu Lin

A passion that blossoms from behind the set of a live action drama. It’s been some time already since Minami became the hero, Oreidos. After their one night together, Sawada has rejected any feelings towards him. Resigned, Minami promised that he will not see him beyond their roles as enemies. That resignation appropriately supplies the drive needed for their characters on screen. During the filming of the special, Minami meets and ends up working closely with Takagi, Sawada’s old partner (on and off the screen.) As Minami and another actor, Katagiri draw closer together, Sawada agreed to give Takagi a chance at love again. Two couples taking a step in their new relationships. But then Sawada suddenly kisses Minami….

And we’re only up to the second half of the shooting!

When Sawada was hiding his injury, Minami hopes to help only by providing medication. However, he is caught by Sawada’s advances. Minami is getting tired of getting mixed signals from Sawada and declares his thoughts to Sawada in front of Katagiri and Takagi. In just a few more months, the show will be over. The passion that flared inside towards Sawada will no longer matter. He is with Katagiri and all is well…just a few more months and the year long torment will be over….

Hero Heel is a story within a story. Tateno seamlessly ties together the drama of ‘Trans-Dimensional Warriors Airguard’ and the love story of Sawada and Minami. I’m not just referring to the feelings that the characters are feeling in the live action reflection what is going behind the scenes. The subplot of shooting a drama is as much as part of the story as the romance. And the romance apparently grows on the set as well. Whether or not Sawada is pushing Minami away, he faces him when they shoot the scenes. Their interactions are limited to their lines and scripted actions, but Minami always manages to put a bit more. (As an actor, I guess he is one who acts on feelings and not just skills.)

The character development in the story is amazing and I’m happy to see the personalities come alive through the pages via three volumes. In volume one, I rather disliked Minami’s actions of threatening Sawada into sleeping with him. Of course, I couldn’t dislike him for long since he matured in his thoughts and actions. Sawada Kazuomi is Tateno’s typical seme character: dark, strong, stoic, who broods and acts on impulse (like advancing on his ‘target’) at surprising moments. But he really shows his weakness in his inability to break off his relationship with Takagi even though he realizes how futile it was.

Actually that leads me to one of my favorite moments in the story: when Minami confronts Kazuomi in chapter 10. With Katagiri in tow, Minami rushes to clear up any misunderstandings. His declaration to Sawada is nothing like his resignation in volume two. The words are similar and the meaning is clear: he will only face Sawada as ‘Gadriel’, an enemy on the set. However, the strength is shown through this time. He will not be pulled about by his feelings for Sawada anymore.

Even with this being a BL manga, I can’t help but wonder if Shigehara and Yuki are in a relationship. In the last volume, they are seen together alot. Perhaps it’s because of their involvement as the ‘good guys’ in the drama, but I wonder if there is something more?

The entire series was a great read. I really enjoyed the mixture of scenes for the drama and the action inbetween. Three volumes may seem pretty long for a BL manga, but the length is perfect since watching the developement and breakdown of the different characters (especially watching Minami grow as an actor) is enjoyable. The pacing of the story is not boring at all and the artwork is beautifully detailed in true Tateno style.

Kris also has a wonderful review on Hero Heel vol. 3 as well. Enjoy!

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