Star Collector was originally published by Tokyopop Germany and has now been brought to North America by Tokypop as part of their International Women of Manga initiative. With appealing art and an entertaining story that’s full of drama and romance, this is a great series for fans of Boys Love manga.
Fynn is a slacker who’s just been dumped by his girlfriend for half-assing their relationship like he does everything else. Fynn goes to the highest hill in town to wallow in self-pity and have a smoke in peace but Niko, a nerdy classmate who recently moved into town, wants to use that spot to star gaze. Niko starts getting on Fynn’s case about smoking and, while initially annoyed, Fynn later finds that he can’t get Niko out of his head. He starts heading to the hill on a regular basis to see Niko and their relationship quickly turns from combative to flirtatious, but will a misunderstanding involving Fynn’s ex put a halt to their romance before it can really begin?
Original English Language (OEL) Manga often get short shrift in the manga community, where some view them as being amateurish or of lesser quality then regular manga. Technically this is an Original German Language Manga (OGL Manga?), but I fear that it will end up being overlooked by some Boys Love manga fans because it’s not Japanese. That would be too bad because this is a solid series with a lot to recommend it. The art is very good, particularly the lovely watercolour pages included at the front of the books, and the story deals with some serious topics that you don’t often see in a Boys Love manga. Fynn comes out to his mother later in the series and we eventually discover that Niko’s grandfather suffers from Alzheimer’s. There’s a poignant scene where Fynn and Niko visit his grandfather and Fynn initially struggles with what he should say or do before realizing that just being there is the important thing. I appreciated that, even though Niko’s grandfather doesn’t always recognize who Niko is, their relationship is shown to still be valuable and that Niko is able to take comfort in spending time with his grandfather while he still can.
My one major complaint with the narrative is that all of the main conflicts could have been pretty easily avoided, or at least quickly resolved, if Niko and Fynn were just better at communicating. This can get a bit frustrating, but it does make sense, given what we learn about Niko’s past, that he would have trust issues and difficulties opening up. Fynn, on the other hand… well, Fynn is kind of a dumbass and there were quite a few moments where I found myself getting annoyed with him. In the end, however, Fynn doesn’t give up on his relationship with Niko and manages to get his act together. He puts in the work so that they can come to a better understanding of each other and they are ultimately able to build a relationship that’s supportive and feels genuine.
Star Collector is a sweet and romantic story about young love, learning to trust and to fight for the things that you want. If you’re a fan of Boys Love manga, even if you don’t usually try series made outside of Japan, I recommend that you give this comic a shot.
Final Score: 7 out of 10.
For more information on the Star Collector series visit Tokyopop’s website: https://www.tokyopop.com/book-catalogue-new-titles/2018/8/23/star-collector-vol-1-cg7h2
What did you think of this series? Are there any other OEL Manga that you’d recommend manga readers give a try? Let me know in the comments!
Also be sure to check out my reviews of some other great OEL manga: