Black Sun vol. 1
Author/Artist: Uki Ogasawara
Publisher: 801 Media
Rating: M – 18 and above
Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Historical
*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at http://liheliso.org. Check it out! ***
Gerun Fortress – home to 200 Monastic Knights is on the verge of falling to the enemy, 20,000 Middle Eastern soldiers under General Jamal Jan. To save the lives of his men Prince Leonard de Limbourg offers himself to Jamal as a prisoner of war to spare the lives of his men. Jamal takes him up on the offer but forces himself on Leonard and rapes him in front of all his men as punishment. As they travel from Gerun Fortress back to the capital city Jamal uses this opportunity to continue forcing himself on Leonard and pounding him into oblivion.
Once they arrive to the palace and even though Leonard is a prisoner, Jamal seems to treat Leonard as though they were lovers. Leonard won't have any of that and wants to humiliate Jamal in front of his own men. To no avail, Jamal doesn't seem to be embarrassed while being paraded down the hall completely naked and with a hard-on. As time passes, however, it seems that the more time Leonard spends with Jamal he falls in love (Stockholm Syndrome anyone?). Trouble seems to be waiting for Leonard and Jamal in the form of the former commander at Gerun, and the Sultan of the Kingdom that they are in (there isn't any mention a city).
Black Sun is quite the porny manga. If you like extreme detail in everything this might be something you would enjoy. The story (or lack thereof) leaves much to be desired. I found the raping a little hard to swallow (fangirls, get your minds out of the gutter). I know that this is a common plot point – the whole falling for your tormentor, but I still have a very hard time with it. The story consists of embarrassment, rape, torment, and sex and very little else. I realize that the Crusades were a black mark in history and this could be a really great setting for an amazing story, but it seems that Ogasawara-sensei failed to grasp it. The only thing I truly enjoyed was the extra story called "My Elegant Day." It's a brief story told from the point of view of a black panther that lives in the palace. It was quite humorous.
The art on the other hand is truly amazing. The characters are all gorgeous even the old Sultan. Everything was drawn with exquisite detail both background, costumes, everything. When I mean everything is drawn in detail I mean EVERYTHING! There is little censoring of the images so don't be shocked in detailed penises. Not much shocks me anymore, but I did find myself taken aback by the in your face nature of it.
This is 801 Media's first dust jacketless release. It is still beautiful but by removing the dust jacket where are they going to put the 801-chan comic? Even though there isn't a dust jacket the price is still $15.95. I now feel like the price is a bit of a gyp, but I guess because they take big risks when it comes to licensing I'll overlook it, for now. If the quality continues I won't have a problem. But if they allow the quality to fall and continue to charge the higher price I'll have a few choice words to say about it.
I can't say I recommend this title. Even though the art is beyond fantastic the story really drags it down. You make the decision if you want to read this title but you can't blame me if you don't like it, I warned you!
***Review Copy provided by 801 Media***
***Reposted with permission from The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society***