Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One-Shot Review: Don't Stay Gold

Wow, okay. I have a love-hate relationship with this manga. For a one-shot, it’s high on the list – but not too high. The story, from what I could follow of it, seemed pretty genuine, so I thought it was an enjoyable read. For you yaoi fans out there, it’s not too explicit, and most of it leans more to shounen ai in the general aspect of the story. The drawing – flawless. I loved the art on this and it’s completely my style. Just enough balance between the physical and the emotional in the sense of expressions and movement, and you’re surrounded by controlled lines and neat detail. Right here you have a slick 40 pages by YONEDA Kou that tell a pretty good story in such a short space – but it does have its draw-backs.

I say ‘pretty good story’ based on what I caught of it. The dialogue’s a bit hard to follow sometimes because you have no idea who’s saying what and you’re left guessing. This was a major turn-off for me because essentially, I thought it’d be a fantastic story. That’s why I can’t exactly review the story too much – because I’m not entirely sure of it myself. All I can give you a review of is the progression of our lovely yaoi couple.

The bread and butter of the story is that some Yakuza boss has the hots for this one guy that’s paying off debt for him by fighting – or killing or something. Somehow this guy, the ‘Mad Dog’ gets himself beat up, and has to stay with the doctor for a while (because he gave the boss a big fat NO. Like “Hells to the NO, you’re NOT getting in my pants” kinda thing.)

Okay, the doctor’s not really gay to start with, the Mad Dog seems like he’s questionable (he doesn’t really reveal much in the beginning) and the boss is like a dog at the butcher’s – he wants some. The doc just won’t admit he has a thing for this guy, but as they stay together, some sort of connection develops between them.

Mad Dog (real name Kuga) seems to be young, the type that was abandoned and made his way by fighting. You know, survival of the fittest, only the strong survive, hunt or be hunted, yada yada yada. The doc (real name Kageyama) is not really in the closet. There was no closet. He’s just a guy with a burn fetish who saw Kuga’s burn marks, touched him in a completely yaoi way, then decided to make a closet – and then cover the closet with a tablecloth and deny the existence of it. It took a while for Kageyama to come to term with his feelings, but when he did, he acted on them pretty well. In an oddly similar way to Indigo Blue, Kageyama took some time to figure out what he was comfortable with. His denial phase could be deemed slightly adorable, but you never know. Some people might just think “STFU and get it over with!”

The chemistry between Kuga and Kageyama has its push and pull, which made it interesting as to where it was going. The story doesn’t follow a particular seme/uke relationship that most yaoi fans die for – but you’d be surprised at how well this works. It’s a lovely relationship between them, but I feel slightly unsatisfied in the development side of it. There could’ve been more, I think. There were some big steps forward, but it felt rushed, like running before you learn how to walk. I would’ve loved to see all the baby-steps in between. Granted, it’s a one-shot and normally you shouldn’t ask for much in 40 pages, but I’ve seem better moderated development in other stories that leave you way more satisfied. For that reason (although I did consider it) this isn’t a one-shot of the week. Well, at least it tends to your yaoi needs ;)

SO, pick this up for some enticing yaoi moments, and let it pull on your heart-strings (at least once or twice :D). Stay sharp, my feathered friends! More reviews will come your way.


(Images © YONEDA Kou. None of these images belong to me)


Anonymous said...

"I say ‘pretty good story’ based on what I caught of it. The dialogue’s a bit hard to follow sometimes because you have no idea who’s saying what and you’re left guessing."

i really, really hope you read this comment. don't stay gold is actually a sequel to another one-shot(tadayoedo shizumazu, saredo naki mo sezu)and that's why the story seemed random at times. it's actually pretty awesome, y'know.