Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ichigenme... The First Class is Civil Law vol. 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga review

Ichigenme… The First Class is Civil Law vol. 1

Author/Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga

Publisher: 801 Media

Rating: M – 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Comedy, Romance

Grade: B+

When it comes to Fumi Yoshinaga-sensei I am torn. I'm not a huge fan of her art style but her storytelling is so amazing that I find myself drawn in every time. I hadn’t planned on buying Ichigenme… at the beginning but I decided that I wanted to collect all of the titles that 801 Media released. So I decided to purchase them. Yes, I'm glad I did.

Tamiya is a third-year student at Teinou University. At the zemi's (seminar's) launch party it seems that the new students are required strip and do the "human formaldehyde" bit. Tamiya really has no desire to participate in these hijinks and is saved by fellow student (and the one who started the night off by stripping and causing things to go downhill) Tohdou passionately French kisses him. This starts off a bizarre friendship. The zemi is known for being the easiest zemi on campus where the richest of the rich gather. Tamiya, however, is a serious student and was unaware of the reputation of the zemi.

Tamiya insists that he is straight and Tohdou is gay. Yet Tohdou continues to pursue Tamiya. After an incident with a male professor Tamiya begins to question his sexuality, and is Tamiya attracted to Tohdou after all?

The two main characters have quite the chemistry from the get go. They are seriously polar opposites. Tamiya is serious and kind of grumpy. Tohdou is a complete freak (in a good way of course) and is totally hilarious. I really liked the series despite my misgivings in regards to Yoshinaga-sensei. I read Antique Bakery and fell in love with that story and the amazing storytelling, but I'm just not a huge fan of her art. And these comments are coming from someone who likes unique artwork. I do like her chibi renderings though. They are very cute. The panel lay out is very clean and she shows the range of emotion through facial expressions. This is a pretty graphic work, but the second volume is smuttier than the first. The relationship starts off how it should, as friends first. There is a large cast of characters, but it focuses mainly on Tohdou and Tamiya. There were many times that I found myself laughing out loud, which isn't too hard for me seeing how I find humor in everything.

Of course this is a quality 801 Media release. I love them with a passion. The books fit nicely in your hands and are flexible without being crappily made. It is wrapped in its signature dust jacket and features an 801-chan comic (which is always a highlight for me.)

Before Yoshinaga-sensei's rabid fans begin to gather on my lawn to protest I do recommend this work. This is probably a good training wheels volume to introduce you to the smuttier side of yaoi. It's graphic, but not too graphic and most of the scenes involving sex focus on the facial expressions and not the actual body parts involved (but there are a few of those panels as well). I'm still not a huge fan of Yoshinaga-sensei's art but I'm not so against reading her works thanks to Ichigenme… The First Class is Civil Law.

***Review Copy purchased through 801 Media Store***

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