Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Don't Blame Me vol. 1 by Yugi Yamada review

Don't Blame Me vol. 1

Author/Artist: Yugi Yamada

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M - 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Grade: A-

*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at http://liheliso.com/buzz/. Check it out! ***

I've seen Yugi Yamada-sensei's books on the shelf at my local Borders. I've seen them advertised in the back of several of my other Juné manga. I've also read reviews on some of her titles. But, here's my major confession, I've never read anything written by Yamada-sensei. When we learn to read we're always taught not to judge a book by it's cover. Well, when it came to Yamada-sensei I was judging the contents inside by the cover. I must admit that even though I was not terribly impressed by the covers, I was wrong.

Don't Blame Me is a two volume series. The first volume starts off by adorable thirteen-year-old Makoto being dumped by his girlfriend. Now, not only is Makoto girlfriendless, but he's stuck with tickets to some lame movie. Instead of allowing the tickets to go to waste, he decides to go. He insists on sitting through the credits and is surprised to see his cousin's name listed as an assistant cameraman. Truly excited he immediately goes over to cousin Toshi's apartment to congratulate him. While he's there he meets some of Toshi's friends from college and is surprised and saddened to find out that Toshi has given up being a cameraman. A few days later Makoto decides to go back to Toshi's, but he's not around. Fortunately for Makoto, though, two of his college buddies were there and are willing to spill stories about Toshi, including info on his "girlfriend." Toshi shows up at home to find his cousin and friends watching some of the stuff they filmed in college. Makoto confronts Toshi about giving up his dreams and during their arguement Miki, one of the college friends, goes into labor. Toshi gets roped into filming the birth and at the hospital Makoto finally finds out that Toshi is gay. Here is where the story really begins.

Toshiaki Kaji (cousin Toshi, if you hadn't figured it out) is a law student at A University. One day he's eating lunch in the cafeteria and sees a guy in a bear suit eating in the cafeteria as well. Kaji goes from one strange event to another. While waiting outside a teacher's office he's hit up by some guy for a cigarette (do the Japanese not know how bad cigs are for one's health?). All Kaji has is an old, hard piece of gum. The teacher he was needing to meet with was indisposed (gum man had just given him a blow job) so Kaji had some spare time and decided to check out the school's film club. Here is where we first meet Nakamura (Toshi's significant other), Miki (the friend who gave birth), Tsuchiya (Miki's hubby), Takasaki (the bear man), and Kujirai (gum man). It so happens that Kujirai is gay and Miki is a yaoi fangirl (she loves filming guy-on-guy action.)

The film club doesn't seem to have much to do with films, or filming for that matter, but do party a lot. Kaji doesn't seem to think that Nakamura (Kaji and Nakamura are the only freshmen in the club) likes him but it turns out that he's just shy. It turns out that Nakamura likes sophisticated horror movies and Kaji likes horror movies in general. This is where their bond begins. It turns out, however, that the two have met before.

Initially, I didn't think I was going to like this book. I like really clean and detailed art, and this isn't super clean or detailed. It does make up for the art by being an amazing story. The plot bobs and weaves and is fairly complicated, but it is easy to follow. It's touching, it's funny, it's dramatic, it's indescribable. I was hooked after the first chapter. Once you reached the end of the book, I couldn't wait to read the next volume. I have been converted to the religion of Yugi Yamada-sensei. My only complaint is I had a hard time keeping the names of Kaji and Kujirai straight, but I think that's because I'm an idiot. Since this is from the family at DMP it has a dust jacket, it's a larger trim size, and the margins are a little wider. I have no complaints for DMP releases. I recommend this title highly and if you haven't read anything by Yamada-sensei, I say why not start with Don't Blame Me!

***Review Copy provided by Publisher***
***Reposted with permission from The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society***

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