This isn’t your most conventional style OR genre of yaoi manga. Some of you may criticize me for this, just as this manga has been criticized, but there’s a strangeness to this manga that I find attractive. Moreover, I think its awkward and slightly disturbing elements make it high on the list for me.
Backtrack a little bit, though. I’m not saying I agree with the violent nature of this manga, but it’s a passion that I can’t ignore. Therefore, you can’t ignore it either. Because I said so. And why should you agree with me? Well, you’re reading this, aren’t you?
Because of the somewhat controversial nature of this manga, I’m not going to vote it as One-Shot of the Week (It’s a bit early for that too, although I always like to write in advance). Even as an afterword, the mangaka apologized for spewing out domestic violence straight off the bat.
Alright, I’ve been building on it for long enough. Once I get into the review you’ll realize all that hype is for nothing. Well… almost nothing. There is violence in this manga, but not to the extreme limits you’d think. It’s still violence as a product of aggressive anger, and that’s what puts the shock in it.
Shouta is your average college student, working part-time at a video store and as gay as can be (did I mention this was yaoi?) for one of the costumers. He spends the first couple of pages fawning over this older guy who comes into the store in his business suit and his glasses and his cute smile – oh it’s wonderful.
By the way, this is my random paragraph to go off-track and mention little tidbits about the artwork. Starting… NOW! Okay, I have to say, I really like the way this guy dresses. I’m not very girly and I’d dress like that. Casual and comfortable with random accessories (headband/scarf/bracelet) to add a nice touch. It looks like you have good taste but because it’s so relaxed and easygoing, it looks effortless. However, I can’t understand why he’d be required to wear an apron at a video store. It’s not like he’s going to be serving DVDs with some tartar sauce on the side. *sigh* This isn’t a fashion blog. I’ll move on to REALLY talking about the artwork now.
This is a really attractive style to me. I’ve noticed – especially with yaoi – that this is the new face of manga. It’s not the traditional ones where the eyes are really larger than life, the hair is elaborate and the expressions are drastic and dramatic. Maybe it’s because it’s targeted towards males. Manga evolves and you can already pick up on different styles, and this is a look that you can notice as being less whimsical and more focused. The lines are hard, sharp and clean. No screwing around. It makes it seem less flimsy and more… well, let’s admit it. More manly. I’d have to say, I like the yaoi style like this much more than shoujo. However, girls don’t really look that good drawn like this most of the time, which is why this is a style that is usually set aside for the good ol’ man-to-man.
Back to the story! :D Although Shouta’s totally hot for this guy, Shiraishi, there’s little to gained from his side. Ah, unrequited love. Hurts like a bitch. But Shouta’s not lacking in the sex department. Oh noooo. Enter Kuraki, Shouta’s… friend with benefits – if we’re going to put this delicately.
Oh wait, this is Mho-Shoujo. When have I ever been delicate? Screw that, they’re fuck-buddies. That’s what FB really stands for. Not Friends with Benefits. Not facebook. Shouta goes over to Kuraki’s and they do the nasty. As soon as you see Kuraki, you already know who’s on top. Besides, Shouta looked terrified as he was about to go in. The room. Go in the room, okay? GOD, you’re all a bunch of perverts.
Anyway, they get busy, Kuraki has a smoke, Shouta falls asleep. Silly little boy, he mumbles Shiraishi’s name in his sleep. Kuraki hears it. The thing about Kuraki is that he’s one of those squinty characters. He’s constantly got his eyes narrowed – giving everyone the most evil look his muster. Like “I hate you all” So at this moment, he turns to Shouta’s sweet sleeping face, gives him that look, and looks away.
At this point, you’re thinking ‘Uh-oh’ because you can tell nothing good’s going to come of it. And you’re probably right. The next time Shouta goes over to Kuraki’s to get some (Just SOME. You know?), Kuraki’s waiting to confront him. Actually, you wouldn’t call it confronting; Kuraki doesn’t even want to hear what Shouta has to say. So after taunting him, cornering him, threatening him with cigarette burns and a bit of yelling, Kuraki knocks Shouta to the ground.
Whoops, we have a bleeder.
By this time, the scene is getting a bit grim. Major non-con starts happening, Shouta’s freaking terrified and sporting a pretty bad nosebleed. If the bleeding didn’t get to you, the thrusting will. The blood on the floor, the sweat, the sound effects are pretty disturbing. This is borderline rape, and you’re reading this not sure of whether you’re supposed to be enjoying it or be shocked. I said ‘borderline’ because at that point, Shouta has a sort of epiphany – if you want to call it that. In the heat of the moment, he can’t remember Shiraishi’s face. He then turns around and sees Kuraki with almost a tender look on his face.
Now, all the while Kuraki had been shouting at Shouta. Yelling that Shouta likes it rough, will never be satisfied with anyone else – and you can understand why a few minutes later, he has that expression on his face. If Kuraki was the heartless bastard we would normally make him out to be, he wouldn’t have been provoked (and even threatened) by Shouta’s mentioning of someone else – even if it was in his sleep. This is the passion I was talking about in the intro. You can tell Kuraki genuinely cares, and I think the anger and the acting out stemmed from fear. I think Kuraki actually freaks out at the thought that Shouta would want someone other than him. It’s a crime of passion! Literally! See? You’d have to learn to appreciate the more odd ways of showing someone you care about them. Like I said in my disclaimer – here on Mho-Shoujo, we don’t discriminate :3
How Shouta reciprocates Kuraki’s actions is sweet. The ending, to me, was perfect by one-shot standards. A lot of people say that in situations like this they feel dissatisfied with what they call ‘open endings’. It’s true that it’s open, but in the sense that it says “What happens, happens! This is the story, there is a future, and we’ll leave it up to you to interpret what you think will happen!” A lot of people don’t understand that concept of ending one-shots. It’s a standalone chapter for God’s sake. It’s supposed to leave it at a point you can call the end, but not say “Yay! Happy ending!” but more like “Yay! Wish them luck for the future!” I mean, you don’t say “Happy birthday!” to someone and that’s it, they die. Noooo, it’s “Happy birthday and many years to come!”
See? I love putting things into perspective.
So, kidlets, if you’re not easily shocked, don’t feel bad about a bit of blood (it wasn’t THAT much), into a bit of rough sex, then pick up this one-shot and find out about it’s ending ;)
(Image © Kyuugou. None of these images belong to me)