Saturday, December 13, 2008

More BL Than You Can Shake a Stick at!

It is a very cold day here along the Wasatch Front, what better than dig out some more starter BL manga?

Antique Bakery – This is a story about four men in a bakery called Antique. Ono is the only openly gay character and he has the ability to sway the hearts of even the straightest man, with the exception of his high school crush. It just happens that his boss at Antique is the former high school crush. This is a fun slice of life title with some very, very light shonen ai action. It's really hard to pin this title down as a boys love title, but there you go. This was the first Fumi Yoshinaga-sensei title I read. I'm not big on her art style, (which if you've been reading any of my reviews of her work you'll already know that) but I loved the story so much that I couldn't help it. There are four volumes in this series and Digital Manga Publishing publishes it.

Gorgeous Carat – Ray is an infamous thief in Paris known as Noir. Florian is an aristocratic young man sold to Ray to pay for Florian's family's debt. These two men travel through France looking for a priceless family jewel with a rumored curse to Morocco to search for the treasure of the Knights Templar all while being chased by thugs and the law. This is drawn with You Higuri-sensei's signature stunning style. The boys love action is hinted at and there are a few moments when you know that there are things going on but it is all handled very tastefully, as one would expect from Higuri-sensei. The series consists of four volumes published by BLU plus another volume entitled Gorgeous Carat Galaxy published by Juné. In the new year BLU will be publishing another volume called Gorgeous Carat L'esperanza.

Totally Captivated – This is the first Korean manhwa on my list. Ewon has quite the conundrum on his hands. He's a naturally affectionate young man and ended up cheating on his boyfriend. As a punishment Jiho (Ewon's ex-boyfriend) convinces his new man to hire him (but without pay). The new man happens to be the head of Saehan Credit Union's Gangnam Office (technically this is a loan shark business with ties to the mob). Mookyul is gorgeous and gay and Ewon is stunned by his beauty. These two may have a past link but who knows. Ewon is adorable and Mookyul is gorgeous but rough. He has the tendency to be rough and possessive. What lies in store for these two gorgeous creatures. This story was one of my first introductions into the world of manhwa, thanks to Amazon's 4-for-3 deal. The sex isn't graphic, but there is quite a bit there. It's handled well, though. Sometimes it is a bit violent (both the sex and the story, but we are dealing with the mob here) but it does serve a purpose in the larger story. The language is also a bit rough, if you take issue with foul language proceed with caution. This is a six volume series that has been serialized through NETCOMICS. The first five volumes have been published in book form (I'm still waiting for my fifth volume) and the sixth is currently available online (at least as far as Hajin Yoo has it written and illustrated). The fans over at NETCOMICS are rabid about this title (I'm also pretty passionate about this series as well).

Silver Diamond – Rakan seems to be a typical high school student. He's good looking, smart, polite, etc. Yet something mysterious has been going on. There seems to be a portal to a different world that happens to be located in his garden. His grandfather had told a bizarre story that that was how he found Rakan and his mom, but Rakan figures that is a fib that he was told as a child. Until two mysterious strangers with magical powers show up in his garden claiming that he is also a magical creature that can heal their world. I initially had no intention of reading this but when I held the actual book in my hand I changed my mind (I know that probably makes no sense, but that's how I roll). The boys love aspect to this is very subtle and it is handled really well. This is a series that is currently being published by TokyoPop. It also has a T rating so you know that you can expect that things are going to be toned down considerably. There are currently two volumes released with the third coming out at the end of the year. According to the series is actually up to volume 16 and it is still ongoing. Who knows what is in store for us?

Clear Skies – Taiga Obinata is an editor for a sci-fi magazine. To help make the magazine successful he brought along an acquaintance from high school to write for them. Shuu Asuou is a talented writer. Things seem to be going well at the Obinata household until Shuu and some mysterious yakuza-looking guy show up on the doorstep. It turns out that Shima Obinata (the oldest and only girl in the household) married Shuu and he will now be living with them. But things don't go easily seeing how it seems that Taiga had feelings for Shuu back in high school. What's a guy to do when the man he's loved since high school is now married to his sister, or is he? It's based on a BL novel by the same name. This two-volume set from Juné is a great beginners set. The art is well done and all you get is kissing. This is a really sweet story and when you read this you can see why fangirls are drawn into the genre.

I know that some of the descriptions are somewhat muddled but I'm buried in manga at the moment and was unable to read through these titles again for a refresher. But have no fear I stand by my opinions. I'm still compiling my list and will continue this segment (I'm having fun going back and checking out titles that I've forgotten how wonderful manga can be without the hot, sweaty, fluid-filled images!) Check back again and if you have any suggestions don't hesitate to share those titles with me, I'm always looking for great titles!

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