Kowloon Generic Romance - Mayuzuki






"Every Person Without A Past Has A First Day"

I read the first volume of this a few months back, and finally had time to catch up on volume 2 and 3 today. I remembered it as a cutesy romance in a setting I loved, and I was happy to see that continue - even if it was a bit less lighthearted than the first volume. I'm really in love with the aesthetic of Kowloon, especially in the somewhat future-esque way its presented here...its winding, narrow streets and stacked houses are a great silhouette that add a lot to a genre that can feel very same-y. Everything from the city streets to the offices were crowded, but neat - stored to maximize space, while keeping things from being completely overrun. Not that there weren't issues, with random street closings and winding paths only natives could understand. It all added a feeling of life that helped the story take shape.

I love romance manga, but from the start it was a nice twist to set things apart. The fact that our MC is a short-haired woman with identity issues that smokes is just a bonus.

I don't think its great when the main appeal is whats happening in the background, which isn't to say that the story is bad - I think a lot of the overarching themes are things I can really connect with. The feeling of nostalgia, even in a new place, coming from fleeing somewhere else is something I understand well. I don't think a city will ever mean as much to me as Portland for the same reason.

Her friend Yeomay was fairly trans-coded when it came to talking about throwing away her old life, and using surgery as a way to reinvent herself and start over. Mostly I connected to the MC's feeling of disconnection from her past, and from herself in general. While the story frames it as amnesia, I understand feeling like you're living a life that isn't entirely your own or that you're always in competition with some different version of yourself. She feels like a stranger in a world where everyone has some understanding about her life that they're keeping from her, and you can see how it impacts her decisions around everything from her (potential) relationship to where she eats.

Not to ramble too much, but where I think these last couple of volumes fell short is the greater conspiracy they're trying to put around everything. I know the title "Generic Romance" was meant to be ironic, but there's now some sort of doppleganger power structure conspiracy led by a yaoi doctor? Which like, cool...but I feel like some of it is at the expense of a more clear narrative. I'm interested to see where it goes, but everything feels a bit muddled. I'll keep you updated^^

The author was right about smoking and watermelon being a great combination.