Friday, August 8, 2008

Tough Love Baby by Shiuko Kano review

Tough Love Baby

Author/Artist: Shiuko Kano

Publisher: Deux Press

Rating: M - 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Grade: B-

Shiuko Kano-sama (notice how I've changed her honorific from -sensei to -sama) is the queen of sexy, real, crass men. I have truly been ruined. I will never find myself a man now, because hers are just too hot for words.

Tough Love Baby follows two different couples. Yoshino Kakei left his hometown three years ago, but decided to come back. Years before, Yoshino had fallen in love with his girlfriends younger brother, Sachi. Once recognizing these feelings he didn’t think it fair to Keiko and Sachi to stick around. Now that he’s back little did he know that the young boy he’s fallen in love with is living next door. It seems now, however, that sweet little Sachi is now a thug and treats Yoshino with contempt. Yoshino blames himself for Sachi’s current bad behavior and wonders what he can do to remedy the situation. Keiko informs Yoshino that when Yoshino left the first time it really screwed Sachi up but if he leaves again who knows what will happen to Sachi’s fragile psyche. He may look like a tough guy on the outside, but he’s just a hopeless kid on the inside.

Our other couple involves Taketora, one of Sachi’s closest friends. It also turns out that Taketora is in love with Sachi. He can’t stand the fact that Yoshino has shown up on the scene once again and figures that Yoshino will hurt Sachi again. We know that Yoshino won’t let that happen; so reluctantly Taketora gives up. Waiting for Taketora is his admirer, Sora. Sora is a couple years younger than Taketora but boy is he persistent. Can Sora’s cheerful disposition cheer up Taketora? Will Taketora be able to find love again through Sora?

You can definitely tell that this is one of Kano-sama’s earlier works. The cover has her trademark gorgeous recognizable style, but on the inside the art is a bit less like what I’m used to. With this being Kano-sama you know that there will be fist fights, blood, drama, and comedy. This has its humorous moments, but it’s a bit more serious. It is sweet that Yoshino has named his pet cat Sachi, after his beloved. In other reviews I’ve checked out some say that they would have rather seen a Sachi and Taketora pairing, but I don’t think that would really work. Sora is adorable with his oversized uniform, but a few years in the future he hits his growth spurt and has actually grown taller than Taketora. I have a couple issues but nothing catastrophic. I’m not to wild about the art style in this volume. I have to say I’m a bigger fan of her later style. This book may be called Tough Love Baby but the guys aren’t really all that tough. They just seem to be your run of the mill rebellious teenagers. The cover, on the other hand, is gorgeous. I would expect nothing less.

This is a Deux Press release. Deux Press may not have all the bells and whistles like other companies, but they do a pretty good job with their titles. I recommend this title to fans of Shiuko Kano-sama and those who might want to check her out. She tends to be on the explicit side of yaoi so by starting out on a title like Tough Love Baby might be the way to go. Just be aware that the art style isn’t up to the amazing work that you can see nowadays from her. The story is pretty solid so if you can just get absorbed into the story quickly, you won’t be wasting your time, I promise.

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

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