Speaking of Ross & Rachel . . .
I mention in an earlier post that it helps a manga if the characters have jobs. I've decided that, at least for me, it also helps if there are actual difficulties for the romance characters to overcome.
|In Library Wars, Kasahara has to give|
|up her memory of the perfect guy|
|and deal with (grouchy) Dojo as he is.|
|She learns to do this as they work together.|
So romance ("luv") by itself shouldn't run the story but neither should the crazy events (she had his baby, then he lost his mind, then his long-lost sister with whom he has an incestuous relationship returned after which the heroine was kidnapped by a nobleman with a fetish for twins, of which she was secretly one . . .)
On the other hand, I find Tail of the Moon--with its unstoppable adventures--immensely charming. In fact, most manga series rely on continual external problems for their middle books. (And some manga writers are so good at continual problems, their series' endings fall a little flat.)
So, what's the difference (and I maintain there is one) between the romance run by a good problem and the soap opera romance run by (rolling my eyes) complications?
I think the difference is a direct heir of "the characters need jobs" motif. The soap opera romance is run by whether or not the couple will fall into bed this time and is less effective (in my eyes) than the romance which is run by how the characters get along as they tackle a specific problem (murder mystery, haunted house, social conundrum).
Falling into bed happens in some of the better romance/manga; when handled correctly, it takes place within a context that allows the characters to bond and grow, not simply shriek, "You never told me that your long-lost father is my uncle!" Bones and Castle rightly determined that keeping the main characters' relationships unconsummated through increasingly manufactured interference was rather pointless, especially since the consummated relationships offered far more story potential.
|I've said it before. I'll say it again: no one did "romance|
|while a story is going on" better than Mulder and Scully.|
Increasingly bizarre and wild complications that separate a couple are far less satisfying than increasing understanding between two characters who face a single obstacle together. Such an approach also convinces the reader that the characters will survive as a couple. All the soap opera approach does is convince one, "Man, that relationship is doomed."