Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ruff Love by Tamaki Kirishima review

Ruff Love

Author/Artist: Tamaki Kirishima

Publisher: Deux Press

Rating: M – Ages 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Comedy, Romance, Supernatural

Grade: A

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

Taketora Kanbayashi is an author of historical fiction. Sadly, he’s not very good. So, to make ends meet he works part-time in his uncle’s bar. Taketora is known for being extremely handsome, but kind of boring. Little did Taketora know that his world was about to be flipped upside down by his grandfather’s reincarnated pet dog, Shiba. When Shiba passed away, he wished to be able to return to Takeyuki, Taketora’s grandfather, and repay his kindness. Taketora’s grandfather had passed away twenty years before. Shiba was a little too late. Taketora then made the decision to allow this cute, but clumsy half-human, half-dog stay with him and take care of him. Yes, Shiba is mostly human but still has dog ears, a tail, and large canine teeth.

Shiba’s intentions are pure, but he’s very clumsy. Taketora usually ends up cleaning up after Shiba and his clumsiness. Shiba may not be too much help around the house, but he seems to have worked miracles in influencing Taketora’s writing. The longer that Shiba stays, Taketora finds himself emotionally opening up. It seems he’s fallen in love with Shiba. It turns out that Shiba has fallen in love with Taketora too. Their happiness is cut short by the entrance of a large black dog.

A second dog-man enters the picture. His name is Akatsuki. Akatsuki has the ability to switch between a dog and a man. It seems he’s taken a liking to Shiba. Of course, Taketora will have none of that. But Akatsuki sticks around anyway. He’s endlessly grouchy and always hungry. He also doesn’t trust humans. Thus ends Taketora’s peace and quiet with Shiba. Clouds form on the horizon for Taketora, Shiba, and Akatsuki. Check out Ruff Love to find out!

I haven’t been too impressed by human x part-human, part-animal pairings. I had read a story earlier in the year that was somewhat similar to this story and found it really quite disturbing. Whether it was because I was still a newbie in yaoi genre, or it was the fact that the idea of sleeping with your pet creeped me out, big time. I’m not a fan of the idea of bestiality. Yet I found myself drawn into this story. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Shiba remains human-ish throughout the entire story. I was introduced to Tamaki Kirishima-sensei and her work through The President’s Time, her first work translated into English. Another reason why I may have liked this one so much is I really related to Taketora. I know exactly how it feels to live alone without experiencing deep love for someone. I honestly found myself tearing up and actually crying at a section of the story (and doing the same thing in subsequent readings). I know I’m really weird. I also really like Kirishima-sensei’s art. You look at it and immediately know that she created it. She has some of the most adorable chibi renderings in the world of manga as well.

This is a Deux Press release. I did catch a few spots where the manga bubbles were a bit messy. You could see where the original lines of Japanese were removed but weren’t cleaned up properly. Other than that, the rest of the book is up to Deux’s high quality standards. Out of all of the works released by Deux Press (or I should say the works of theirs that I’ve read), this one is by far their most explicit. The art is very, very, very detailed in the sex scenes, with very little censoring. If you can’t handle very realistic looking reproductive organs or are new to reading yaoi, you may want to stay away. Other than that, I highly recommend this work. It is a very quick read, but it’s also an emotional read. You’ll laugh and cry. I know I did!

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

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