Saturday, August 9, 2008

I Shall Never Return vol. 2 by Kazuna Uchida review

I Shall Never Return vol. 2

Author/Artist: Kazuna Uchida

Publisher: Deux Press

Rating: M - 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance

Grade: B+

*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at Check it out! ***

It is so hard to review books in a series. You don't want to give away what happened in the last volume, but often you have to do some spoilers. I am going to apologize ahead of time if I ruin anything for you. Feel free to read my review for the first volume here.

Moeko Kobashi still has feelings for Ritsuro Yoshinari. But the only person for Ritsuro is his longtime friend Ken Amafuji. Moeko and Ritsuro are assigned as committee chairs for their senior trip to Okinawa. They are together quite a bit and everyone still thinks that they are together. Ken on the other hand is looking for the bright side in his life and decides to get a decent job and change his outlook on life. That's when Kazuyoshi Iwasaki comes onto the scene. It turns out that Kazuyoshi's father and Ken's mother dated for a while and they were to get married. Kazuyoshi was excited that he and Ken were going to be brothers. Although Kazuyoshi seems to like Ken more than a brother. Ritsuro thinks that the bond that Ken and Kazuyoshi share is strong and thinks that they slept together. But the relationship between Ken and Kazuyoshi isn't at all what Ritsuro thinks.

The day that Ritsuro is supposed to leave for Okinawa it is raining so hard that their flight was cancelled. Ritsuro skipped school anyway. It turns out that Ken and Kazuyoshi's dark secret is they raped a classmate/friend while in a drug induced haze. Not long after the incident, Yuichi (the friend/classmate) tried to commit suicide, was unsuccessful and lapsed into a coma. Yu passed away 10 months after the attempt. Ken wanted to pay his respects and visited the grave. Ritsuro wanted to be there for Ken so he accompanied him to the cemetary. But Kazuyoshi was there waiting for him to kick his butt. After the fight Ken finally gets to ask for forgiveness and put this terrible thing in the past.

Ritsuro and his class head to Okinawa. It turns out that they are staying near a hotel that Kazuyoshi's father designed. While in the lobby, Ritsuro runs into Kazuyoshi's father and finds out that the two of them don't get along. Ritsuro wants to help Kazuyoshi and become his friend. While Ritsuro is trying to help Kazuyoshi, Ken is in Osaka working his tail off. He gets a postcard in the mail from his mom in Singapore. She informs him that she's going to be in Japan and that she wants to see him. The only problem is the day she arrives is the same day Ritsuro gets back from his trip. He feels that Ritsuro is more important.

Ken works as a Mexican pizza delivery boy. While making his deliveries, one stop was for a bunch of dudes. It turns out that they are from Ken's past that he's trying to put behind him. One of those guys happens to be the one who stabbed him in the first volume. Because Ken used to be a prostitute the guys figure that they can take advantage of him and he was gang raped. How will Ritsuro deal with all of this? Will Ken see his mom? You'll have to read I Shall Never Return vol. 2.

If you are at all confused by the synopsis of this volume, I apologize. I tried to keep spoilers to a minimum. This is a very complicated story to put in synopsis form. This volume is really good and I felt much easier to read than the first one. That probably has to do with the fact that having read the first book things made a lot more sense for this volume. The art is beautiful. Kazuna Uchida-sensei did a great job and it has plenty of angst and intense moments. Deux Press has done a great job. They kept the original artwork for the front cover (but I like the covers of the later volumes starting with the third one). They must have changed the paper that they print on because it is much easier to hold. The paper is still high quality, though. This is a must read series, and I have been hooked!

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

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