Kaname Itsuki’s single volume manga Lost Boys is a shonen-ai twist on the classic tale of Peter Pan. It was originally released in Japan in 2004, then released in the US by Digital Manga under their June imprint. The story opens with a young man opening his window to investigate a strange light he sees. When he does, an impish boy named Air pops in, proclaims him a “father”, then kidnaps him off to Neverland where he is expected to act as father to the group of lost boys who are under Air’s care.
Lost Boys takes many of the common elements of Peter Pan and has fun twisting them around for its all male cast. Tinkerbell is now the beautifully long-haired Reux who still has the same unrequited affection for his master and the same willingness to get rid of his rivals if it would mean keeping Mizuki all to himself.
While Mizuki is certainly a grumpier, older version of “Wendy” who smokes, he clearly has a good side, especially when he’s confronted with the adorable younger lost boys who were desperate for a father. It’s quickly apparent that he has some abandonment issues that make it hard from him to walk away, but he also continues to long to go home. Air is a much less narcissistic Peter, making him all together more agreeable and fun to follow. Sure he can act immature, but he also has his own worries and pains to deal with, and unlike the source characters, cares for the boys he looks after and he takes Mizuki’s early chastisement about responsibility to heart.
Of course it is a shonen-ai title, so central to the entire story is the growing relationship between Mizuki and Air, though this is a “sweet” title so it never moves past kissing. I particularly like that the story builds up the relationship slowly, where as with a lot of single titles like this the couple gets together almost too quickly.
The artwork is pleasing, with Air having a perfect mix of youthful innocence and older inner person. Mizuki’s design is clearly that of an older character yet one who still is on the adage of his youthful days. The lost boys are all appropriately young and innocent, and all of the characters are easily distinguished.
On the whole the plot is fairly simple and moves along quickly, though it did manage to have a few nice little surprises that I wasn’t expecting and the Pirates are rather hilarious. I would’ve liked a little more development around the backgrounds of the lost boys, and maybe how Air came to be their leader but it’s still a good solid work.
The paperback version of Lost Boys is out of print but easy to find at reasonable rates. It’s also been released in digital form by June Manga.