Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kabuki vol. 1 - Flower by Yukari Hashida review

Kabuki vol. 1 - Flower

Author/Artist: Yukari Hashida

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M – for ages 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Comedy, Romance

Grade: A-

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

Death will never separate these lovers.

Kounosuke is the young master of Kiyonari Castle during the Tenshou Era (between 1573-1592 AD – thanks to the manga for publishing those dates). He has a young page named Kageya. During a siege the castle had been breached and the enemy was making its way to where Kounosuke and Kageya had retreated. Knowing that there was no option but death the two lovers swore to one another that they would search for each other in the next life. The next thing you know Kounosuke is lying in a modern hospital bed. He is utterly confused. Where on earth is Kounosuke?

There was a fire at young master Kounosuke's mansion. It seems that Kageya has gotten fatter and balder and Kounosuke is in the body of a 17-year-old. Kounosuke is suffering from amnesia. Yet the man at his side says he's Kageya. He isn't Kounosuke's Kageya. Since the mansion is going to have to be cleaned up and repairs made Kageya takes him to his home. While there he meets another Kageya, Gorou Kageya. This Kageya is younger and looks a little more like Kounosuke's Kageya, yet he's still quite a bit older than the current Kounosuke. Kounosuke feels that Gorou Kageya is his. But a third Kageya comes into the picture, Shirou Kageya. Oy! That's a lot of Kageyas. Which one is Kounosuke's Kageya?

Once the Kageya mess is straightened out (we were all hoping it was Shirou) it's time for Kounosuke to get back to his normal routine, with one exception. Kounosuke doesn't remember anything about his life before his accident. He just remembers the time during the Tenshou Era. It's all very frustrating to Kounosuke. Not only can he not remember anything but he's in high school and Shirou is an adult.

I'm sorry if I confused you with the above synopsis of Kabuki vol. 1. This is a pretty complicated story to describe. You switch between past and present for the first two parts of the first chapter. But it does that to establish the eternal feel of the story. Besides anytime you have backstory it takes some time to lay it all down. When I first started reading Kabuki I had to read the first chapter twice just to get basics of the story down. Once I got a grasp on the whole thing it finally all made sense.

I know I've said in previous reviews that I would judge a book based on the cover (and not be impressed by said cover) and then be pleasantly surprised when I made the plunge (ie: Yugi Yamada, Makoto Tateno, Shiuko Kano, Hyouta Fujiyama, and Momoko Tenzen are just a few). Yukari Hashida-sensei belongs on this list. Seeing the covers I wasn't terribly impressed by the art. I had no desire to read this book and was thinking in the back of my mind that if I didn't get a review copy of Kabuki I wouldn't be missing anything. I was also judging this book by my opinion on the cover of Waru, another Hashida-sensei title published by Juné. Man, was I wrong in my opinions! I may not be a fan of the cover, but the book was amazing. You'd think that this book would be some deep philosophical read but it's actually got a great amount of humor between those two covers. Hashida-sensei's art has a real ethereal quality to it. Her chibi renderings are just what they are supposed to be. Also the characters are drawn so expressively. You can tell what they are thinking just by looking at them. My only complaint is all her semes look alike and seem to share the same hairstyle and all her ukes look similar and have the same hairdo as well.

Because of Kabuki vol. 1 I made the venture to Waru and I now want more Yukari Hashida available here in the states. For those diamonds in the rough, Juné sure knows how to polish them up and present them in all their stunning glory. I love to read amazing titles in the larger size. I love to show off amazing titles in the larger size. The dust jacket makes it that much more beautiful. Hashida-sensei's work falls into this category.

I look forward to the rest of the series. I know that there are currently four volumes, and volume two comes out in December. Don’t let the cover scare you off like it did initially for me. I was so pleasantly surprised that I'm really kicking myself now. Why did it take me so long to cross over to Yukari Hashida-sensei's side! If you do anything after reading this review, it better be picking up a copy of Kabuki vol. 1!

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

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