Amateur astronomer meets the laziest boy around.
Star Collector begins by introducing the reader to Flynn, a teenager with an excessive lazy streak. His favorite thing to do is lay around in the grass and have a smoke, skipping out on school and all responsibilities. His girlfriend/best friend, Zoe, dumps him, and to take his mind off of it, he goes on a nightime walk. On a hillside he runs into Niko, a amateur astronomer and classmate who loves the sky that Flynn has never noticed before. The two start to meet up and look at the stars and talk nearly every night, as they slowly develop feelings for one another.
This is a cute boys love manga that subverted a few of the usual romance manga tropes. Our main character Flynn is the kind of guy that’s usually painted as the bad boy everyone wants, but in Star Collector he’s reads as kind of a loser. He skips school, he has no real goals, he’s a nice enough guy but it doesn’t go much further than that. However Niko, the resident nerdy astronomer is newer to the school and has made loads of friends. He’s not the quiet, nerdy boy who needs the bad boy and is his only form of socialization; he has a whole friend group of his own and seems to be doing fine. They don’t make him dependent on the protagonist which I enjoyed.
The relationship growing between Flynn and Niko feels more organic and when they do finally kiss, it makes sense. They spend time together, they have conversations and flirty moments. They don’t just fall for one another because of proximity; the author actually takes the time to show that they’re learning about one another and figuring things out.
The story doesn’t cover a lot of Niko’s backstory, or a lot of Flynn’s inner feelings about the end of his relationship with Zoe and him coming to terms with being gay, he just sorta moves on, but since this is the first volume I have a feeling that will be explored more in the future. There’s enough groundwork laid here that it seems like something that will be called upon again.
This is a simple, cute love story that I managed to read in one sitting on the stationary bike at the gym. It passed the time well and I would happily continue reading the next volume. I also thought the artwork was beautifully done and I only just realized the author/artist are I believe German and Bavarian, not Japanese, which is really neat since I don’t think I’ve read a manga that wasn’t written by someone native to Japan.
Title: Star Collector (Volume 1)
Author: Sophie Schönhammer
Three descriptions: LGBT+, Likeable, Charming