Friday, May 30, 2008

A Foreign Love Affair by Ayano Yamane review

A Foreign Love Affair

Author/Artist: Ayano Yamane

Publisher: 801 Media, Inc.

Rating: 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Comedy, Romance, Organized Crime

Grade: B+

Ranmaru is the son of a powerful Yakuza and is on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean for his wedding to the daughter of another Yakuza clan. They obviously don't get along and instead of enjoying his honeymoon with his new bride, he's drowning his sorrows at the bar. Ranmaru insists on wearing traditional clothing so people are constantly staring him down. You generally don't see dudes in kimonos in Italy. He catches the eye of the handsome Alberto Valentiano. Al, as he is known throught the rest of story, loves all things Japanese (me, too). Al takes Ranmaru to his room and seduces him, so instead of sleeping with his wife Ranmaru spends a sweaty night with this Italian stranger. The next morning the Japanese party disembark and we find out that Al is the ship's captain. Deciding to head to Rome, Ranmaru's new wife leaves him behind to fend for himself at the villa they are staying at. Ranmaru tries to catch up but doesn't have much luck. Because he still insists on traditional dress he sticks out like a sore thumb and guess who happens upon him, Al! Al takes Ranmaru to his home, a beautiful villa. More hijinks and some crime follow. You want to know what they are? You'll have to pick up A Foreign Love Affair to find out!

There is also another cute story after the main story about a research scientist at a university. He's feeling the pressure of needing to find a wife. He goes to a matchmaking agency and ends up falling for the matchmaker instead of the women he's set up with. Since it's a yaoi story, yes, the matchmaker is a guy. A cute bubbly guy at that!

I haven't had the opportunity of reading any of Ayano Yamane-sensei's work prior to reading this one, but I do know she has a huge following both here and in Japan. In seeing her art and the quality of storytelling I can see why she is so popular. Her art is so clean and beautiful it's amazing. This story was a fun, wild, and sexy romp through the Mediterranean and it was a riot from beginning to end. The second story was very sweet and I enjoyed it as well. 801 Media doesn't disappoint with this volume of manga. The dust jacket has a beautiful pearlescent lavender background with Al in his uniform and Ranmaru sitting with a wide open, disheveled kimono and wearing only a fundoshi underneath. Mmm, mmm good! You'll check it out if you know what's good for you (I'm channeling my inner Yakuza, what do you think?)!

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

The Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy by Youka Nitta review

The Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy

Author/Artist: Youka Nitta

Publisher: 801 Media, Inc.

Rating: 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance

Grade: A+

Our Two leading men in The Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy are Koushi Yoshinaga and Tomohiro Shiraishi. This story is very heavy on plot so I'll do the best I can in breaking it down. Koushi Yoshinaga is a Japanese diplomat assigned to Thailand. Tomohiro Shiraishi is the son of the Japanese ambassador to the United States and brother to Yoshinaga's fiancee Michiko. He's also been assigned as Yoshinaga's assistant. Since Shiraishi is new to the Thailand office he starts hearing rumors about Yoshinaga using bedroom diplomacy and that is why he is so successful at such a young age. Baffled by this Shiraishi, hanging at a bar, witnesses a guy hitting on Yoshinaga. Upset, he drags Yoshinaga home and ends up sleeping with him. We're starting to get into quite the pickle.

Even though Shiraishi loves his sister, he finds himself falling for his soon to be brother-in-law. Not only do they have to keep their relationship on the down low from family, but how would it look for two effective diplomats to be sleeping with one another. It would disgrace Japan! Will their relationship contiune down the torrid path that it's on? Read The Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy to find out what happens.

All I can say is this volume of manga has it all: sex, intrigue, sex, etc. I learned all kinds of new things about the world of diplomacy and it's really too bad that the world of ambassadors isn't filled with the beauty that Youka Nitta-sensei has given us. The story is gripping and dripping with sex, I think I mentioned that there was sex. It's pretty graphic and explicit as well. Yoshinaga and Shiraishi are extremely gorgeous, and you would expect nothing less from Nitta-sensei. Not only are they gorgeous naked but when they are clad in numerous different suits. The further on in Nitta-sensei's career her quality continues to get better, like that's possible! Michiko, the fiancee, is beautiful and actually looks like a woman (I know that's a weird comment but in Embracing Love the women [and I don't mean Sawa] look like men in wigs). I'm impressed! I honestly needed to take a cold shower after reading this manga, and according to the notes at the back there will be more volumes (be still my beating heart)!

I didn't think it was possible but 801 Media outdid themselves with this tome. Not only is there a full color cover page but it covers the inside of the cover and the first page, kind of like a Playboy centerfold but with beautiful biseinen. Not only that, the back page and inside of the back cover has another full color picture, I'm ready to pass out from all the heat this volume gives off! I usually order my 801 titles through my local Borders, but this time around I decided to order from the 801 Media store. I am never ordering my 801 titles from Borders again. My book came faster in the mail than at my store and the presentation was absoulutely adorable. It came in a cute little organza bag and had 801-chan's Guide to Sound Effects. Even my receipt came with a little note from 801-chan herself (I will treasure it always since I am 801-chan's biggest fan!). I know I sound like a broken record about 801 titles but I haven't been too disappointed in the titles they release and the production quality is top notch!

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

The Sky Over My Spectacles by Mio Tennohji review

The Sky Over My Spectacles

Author/Artist: Mio Tennohji

Publisher: 801 Media, Inc.

Rating: 18 and over

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance, School Life

Grade: B+

The Sky Over My Spectacles was my first Mio Tennohji title. Azuma is known far and wide (at least in his school) for having a glasses fetish. His attention has been drawn to fellow classmate, Sorachi. One problem, Sorachi is a guy. Not only that, Sorachi seems to hate Azuma, or does he? After passing out in PE, Azuma carries Sorachi to the infirmary only to catch himself almost kissing Sorachi while he slept. The next day Sorachi approaches Azuma and confesses his love. It turns out Sorachi wore fake glasses just to get Azuma's attention. Once Azuma and Sorachi start dating, troubles soon arise (like always in yaoi). Azuma is worried that the Student Council president is after Sorachi and Sorachi is worried that Azuma won't like him if he finds out that his glasses are fake. Luckily all their worries are for naught and spend their date at a love hotel, in the middle of day no less. Sorachi doesn't have much experience in the dating and sex areas and Azuma's never been with another guy. In their first sexual encounter they don't get beyond touching one another. Sorachi finally decides to leave the glasses behind and all the girls at school start drooling. Azuma gets jealous, which he seems prone to do on a regular basis. Azuma and Sorachi are invited to a mixer by one of Azuma's friends, that also happens to be a girl. She assures Azuma that she will make sure a girl in glasses will be there. Now it's Sorachi's turn to worry. Is their relationship doomed?

There are a couple of short unrelated short stories. Another involving schoolboy romance. One story stars adults, a private investigator and a cafe employee (I really liked this story). And the final story is two childhood friends one two years older than the other. Finally there are a few four-panel comics starring our first couple Azuma and Sorachi that are really cute!

In some other reviews that I've come across people don't seem to like this title as much. I don't know what they're smoking, I really liked it! I loved the long, lanky looks of the characters. Each and every character is handsome/beautiful (the girls). The lines are clean and the art is nicely detailed. Sorachi is one of the cutest ukes that I've come across, I just want to sit on his lap and snuggle (DARN IT, I'M A CHICK! Oh well?!). The story is strong and even though the schoolboy romance is done regularly there isn't anything lacking. I mention this every time but 801 Media has some of the highest quality productions out there. You get a great manga with a beautiful full color dust jacket, a full color cover sheet, and the 801-chan comic on the back flap of the jacket. The story moves smoothly, which means the translation is good. The printing is clean and the typos are rare to non-exsistent. Any time you get an 801 Media manga know that it is going to be of the highest quality smut!

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Paranoid Next Door Neighbor by Kazuka Minami review

My Paranoid Next Door Neighbor

Author/Artist: Kazuka Minami

Publisher: 801 Media, Inc.

Rating: 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life

Grade: A

Yaoi seems to have a template that mangaka like to follow. My Paranoid Next Door Neighbor by Kazuka Minami (also goes by Haruka Minami) is no different.

One night at dinner Yukito is informed that his childhood friend Hokuto will be living with them for a while. The excuse that he is given is that it is just too hard for Hokuto to commute from his home to school and it is close to exam time. It turns out that Yukito and Hokuto's father's are very good friends. It makes you wonder if they (the dads) had that kind of relationship at one time in the past.

Yukito has been crushing on Hokuto for quite some time, which is why Yukito has been avoiding Hokuto for the past several years. Of course with Hokuto under the same roof dealing with his attraction is not going to be easy. It turns out that Hokuto shares the same feelings as Yukito and wants to start a relationship. There is a slight problem. That problem goes by the names of Ogishima and Shiga-sensei, dun-dun-dun!

It turns out that Ogishima and Shiga-sensei are sex friends and also share an attraction to Hokuto. They also seem to enjoy teasing poor Yukito by making him jealous. Is that how Hokuto learned his masterful bed technique? Yukito is beside himself and flips out (Yukito has quite the temper). Will Yukito and Hokito's budding relationship be able to weather this storm? Be sure to read My Paranoid Next Door Neighbor to get the answer to that!

My Paranoid Next Door Neighbor is a funny, cute work. I would expect nothing less from Kazuka Minami-sensei. It contains only one story, which is quite refreshing (I've been reading a lot one-shot anthologies lately, so lay off!). If you've never read anything by Minami-sensei, you'll be in for a surprise. She is the queen of perversion (in a good way, of course). Her art is definitely in the cutesy vein, but it works with the story that is written. Often times with harder core yaoi it's more about seeing how much sex can fit into a certain number of pages instead of having a strong story that can be accented by a sex scene or two. In My Paranoid Next Door Neighbor you need not worry about it. The story is solid, the sex steamy, and humorous throughout. As always 801 Media does an amazing job, from the full color cover page to the beautiful dust jacket. This manga has quite the sexy cover. Luckily when I ordered it through my local Borders the salesperson who was helping me didn't catch the cover. If he had (keyword HE), I would have had to crawl under a rock due to the embarrassment. Oh well, it's still a hot cover! This is a must catch for fans and non fans of Kazuka (Haruka) Minami alike. It's also good for someone who isn't familiar to her work to read this first. I liked it and so should you!

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

Affair by Shiuko Kano review

Affair

Author/Artist: Shiuko Kano

Publisher: 801 Media, Inc.

Rating: 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance, School Life, Anthology

Grade: C

Affair is a collection of one-shots written by Shiuko Kano. Shiuko Kano-sensei's work is known for showing all other works the middle finger (figuratively, of course). Her characters have the tendency to be rough around the edges and not your standard wide eyed shoujo types that you see in many other works.

Affair is about two guys who were on the same baseball team but ran into each other some years later. Yoshiyuki seemed to be hostile towards his sempai because of things that happened in the past. His sempai, Okabe, had the possibility of becoming a well known baseball player but due to some mysterious circumstances he quits the baseball team, and quits school, without any explanation. You'll have to read on to find out what the mystery is.

The next story, My Dear Mad Dog is about a couple of half brothers (they have different mothers, but the same father) one of which is to head up the organization (a yakuza family). Hijiri does everything he can to protect Kyouichi and Kyouichi does everything in his power to make Hijiri miserable. They were born at the same time, they go to the same school, and are constantly compared to one another. This one-shot has an Oedipus feel to it (I had to read Oedipus Rex for my Humanities class and found it utterly disturbing!)

One Lucky Guy is the tale about Hirose and Takei. They happen to be co-workers. Takei loses his job because of showing up a company CEO. Hirose tries to take the blame but it doesn't work out for him. Takei is ultra lucky and Hirose has bad luck big time. Takei moves in with Hirose and brings his luck with him. It seems that Takei has had a thing for Hirose and was hoping for something to happen relationship wise. Will Takei's luck help him out?

How unfortunate for Yagi. He's a college student and doesn't have a drivers license. In Love Machine Yagi starts taking driving lessons from Tamiya. Yagi and Tamiya met at a drinking mixer. It seems that Tamiya has a thing for Yagi, but Yagi thinks that Tamiya is always joking. Will Tamiya get what he wants in the form of Yagi?

Erotic Affair 2005: "Epilogue" features our men Yoshiyuki and Okabe getting it on. You also find out who is the uke and who takes on the seme role. Believe me, it's a tad unexpected on which roles they are.

Affair was enjoyable, but it's not one of Shiuko Kano-sensei's strongest work. Usually it's pretty hardcore, rash, and raunchy. Her sex scenes are generally quite explicit. But in this manga there is something lacking, and I can't quite put my finger on it. As always Kano-sensei's art work is brilliantly detailed and her men are ultra sexy. In the art aspect, there is nothing missing, it's as amazing as always. I think the weakest link is the story. I found myself fairly confused. Because I'm a blonde it's expected for me to be easily confused, but this is ridiculous. I'll just have to read it a couple more times and maybe I'll get it. Don't get me wrong if you think that I'm bad mouthing the work, I'm not. Like I said Kano-sensei has stronger work out there but I enjoyed it nonetheless. This is a must have for Kano-sensei fans (which I am one) and I say check it out. If not for the story, her art and 801 Media's presentation makes it worth it. It has a full color cover page of Hijiri and Kyouichi which is pretty hot. The 801-chan comic is hilarious like always. It has a full color dust jacket which is just stunning. I say check it out if you have the time but if you don't then that's cool too.

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

Sugarmilk by Jaryu Dokuro review

Sugarmilk

Author/Artist: Jaryu Dokuro

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M - 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Anthology

Grade: A+

My Memorial Day weekend was filled with one-shot manga. The second one-shot manga I read this weekend (the first was Everlasting Love by Ryoko Chiba) was Sugarmilk by Jaryu Dokuro. Initially I didn't have much of a desire to read it because I wasn't too fond of the cover (I know, I know, don't judge a book by it's cover), but after reading the reviews of Sugarmilk at The Journal of Lincoln Heights Literary Society (http://liheliso.com/buzz/, the reviews were written by Ryes and Cat) I changed my mind. Boy, am I glad I did. I LOVED this manga!

The first one-shot entitled What's Your Name is the tale of part-time convenience store clerk Yamada. Yamada doesn't believe in love at first sight until he sees Yamabe. Yamada figures he'll never see Yamabe (at this point, we don't know his name) again. The next day while out on the town Yamada is attacked (in a positive way) by a friendly dog. It turns out to be Yamabe's dog, Cerberus. Cerberus has taken a liking to Yamada. What will happen?

Our next story, Fifteen, is the tale of Shunsuke Nishihara falling in love with basketball star Satoshi Inoue. Nishihara witnesses Inoue turning down a girl who confessed her love, but then Inoue approaches Nishihara and confesses to him. Wow, lucky Nishihara! Being new to the whole relationship game, he doesn't know how to approach the whole thing. Will Inoue help poor Nishihara out?

The Lingering Scent of a Rainbow is where a teacher has fallen in love with one of his students. Furuya (the teacher) has gifted student Yoneguni in his class. In order to foster his ability it is decided that Yoneguni will go to a different school. Because Furuya has fallen in love with Yoneguni it will be hard to let him go. Can Furuya do it?

Next in line, Milk, is about two childhood friends. One night Sho Tanaka and Taichi Minamori were going to a party, but the party was cancelled. It's decided that they'll go to Sho's and get drunk. Sho is trying to quit smoking and Taichi gives him a milk flavored sucker (I've never seen much in the way of milk flavored candy in this part of the world). After getting drunk Taichi makes the moves on Sho. Taichi is supposed to be straight. Will this end their friendship?

Sugar is the continuation of the relationship between Sho and Taichi. It seems that Sho has always been in love with Taichi and Taichi can't seem to let Sho go. Sugar seems to focus more on their past than on the present, but we see that they need each other.

Waiting for Winter is a one-shot of how a photographer finds his muse in a homeless man named Yoichi. He literally picked him up off the street. Nakamura (our photographer friend) took him in cleaned him up and started photographing him. Nakamura, it seems, has lost the excitement of his job. Will Yoichi help him out of this slump?

New Years Eve is the final one-shot. We join Sho and Taichi on New Years Eve. It's a really short one-shot so I'll leave it at that.

Jaryu Dokuro-sensei has a great eye. Sensei has put much detail in her (I'm just assuming here) characters and you fall in love with each one. None of the characters look like one another (the curse that many mangaka have) and they have distinct personalities. I would have to say that my favorite one shot is What's Your Name. It had me laughing all the way through. There isn't much in the way of sex, and what sex there is it isn't explicit. I think that this release could have been rated YA for 16 years and older. But I'm not the one who rates them for age and who abides by the ratings anyway. I highly recommend Sugarmilk for any fan of yaoi or for anyone just getting started with the boys love genre. It's a great read!

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

The Color of Love by Kiyo Ueda review

The Color of Love

Author/Artist: Kiyo Ueda

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M - ages 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance, Anthology

Grade: A

The Color of Love is series of one-shots by Kiyo Ueda. This is such a fun and sweet manga.

The first story, The Color of Love is about Nao and Taira, best friends. Nao finds himself falling for Taira. The Ideal Love is about Makino having a certain ideal and Sasaki being in love wih Makino. Sasaki confessed his love while they were in college but was shot down by Makino because Sasaki didn't fit into his ideal type. How to Be Happy is another tale of childhood friends going from friends to lovers. Direction of a Smile is co-workers falling for one another with a touch of deception thrown in for good measure. Mix is another story of childhood friends hooking up, but one has an ultimatum. Friendship Formula is a tale of two classmates, one confesses to a girl, the is crushing on the other guy, but he's gay and has a thing for our first guy. It's then followed up by an extra featuring Nao and Taira on an early graduation trip.

I'm starting to get a bit tired of one-shots, but not because of the ones that I have read lately. The Color of Love is a sweet manga that is great for anyone who wants to get into boys love. If you already read boys love, then don't miss this one. The art is clean and reminds me a bit of Yukine Honami and Yuko Kuwabara mixed. Its very cute. The stories follow the boys love formulas. There isn't much sex, so I think that this would be one that could be rated YA (16 and above, remember). My favorite out of all of them would have to be Friendship Formula. Check it out, it's definitely worth your time.

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

Everlasting Love by Ryoko Chiba review

Everlasting Love

Author/Artist: Ryoko Chiba

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M - 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Anthology

Grade: A+

Everlasting Love is a manga full of one-shots. Sometimes I get a bit tired of reading one-shots but this manga is truly enjoyable. When I first read it, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not, but upon my second reading I discovered the joy of Everlasting Love.

The first story is Everlasting Love. Youji has loved Noboru since childhood. Obviously Noboru doesn't share those same feelings. In this love affair spanning 20 years Youji has done just about everything to try to catch Noboru's eye. To keep women from taking Noboru away, Youji takes them on a date and then sleeps with them. He got a high paying job so he can take care of Noboru. Youji would do anything for Noboru!

The second story is called Never Give Up Love. Hayato Ichimonji is in love with his classmate Atsushi Sakura. Ichimonji confessed his love only to be rejected, big time. Ichimonji, however, is very determined. He's worked very hard at everything he does to get what he wants and is determined to not give up on making Sakura his.

My Sweet Home is about Katsuki and Riku. Riku's parents died in an accident when he was only eight. Katsuki decides to take him in and raise him. But what happens is completely unexpected. Riku is applying to different colleges (yes, by this point he's older) but can't seem to make up his mind. He's also behaving strangely. Katsuki is trying to deal with the emotion of loss knowing that Riku will be leaving him. That's when Katsuki realizes that he's in love. Not love like a parent/guardian to a child, but romantic love. The story of Katsuki and Riku is continued at the end of the book with a one-shot, My Sweet Room.

The next one-shot I Found a Twinkling Star is the tale of Keita. Keita always wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. He finally got his dream job, and he has fallen for Tomoya, a fellow teacher. Keita is a bit clumsy and acts like a big kid. Tomoya is quiet but gets along well with all the kids. Keita wants to confess to Tomoya, but doesn't know if Tomoya feels the same way.

The one-shot of Naive Love Triangle deals with Nishiwaki, Kitahara, and Higashiyama. Nishiwaki has a major fear of dogs and once Kitahara came to his rescue. Because of that Nishiwaki has fallen for Kitahara. Kitahara decides to help Nishiwaki out by taking Nishiwaki over to his house to play with his dog (Kitahara's dog). The next day Higashiyama threatens Nishiwaki because Higashiyama has been crushing on Kitahara as well. Nishiwaki doesn't have any self confidence so he steps aside. Who will Kitahara choose?

A Town in the Evening is about how Chisato has always loved Yasuhiro. Unable to deal with these feelings, he's developed an angry personality. Yasuhiro spends a lot of time around Chisato making it even harder on him. Does Yasuhiro feel the same way about Chisato?

This was a fantastic choice for Juné. Each story is unique. Ryoko Chiba-sensei's art style is refreshing. Usually when dealing with bishonen-types (beautiful men, generally androgynous) they all look alike, and usually have super pointy chins. In Everlasting Love Chiba-sensei makes her characters look different, and not by changing up the hairstyle. They also have the everyday man look to them, of course they're still uber-hot. My favorite tale out of these one shots is I Found a Twinkling Star. I think the reason why I like this story so much is that regardless of my age it's still fun to act like a big kid. A Town in the Evening is written (or at least translated) to sound like it was written with a Kansai-ben accent (I assume). Of course the quality is second to none. I actually had a problem with the printing with my first copy (some of the dialogue bubbles were missing text and some of the pages were heavily inked) so I had to exchange it with one that was printed better (luckily they had one in stock). It is the larger trim size and has a matte finish dust cover. I much prefer the matte dust jackets. One more thing, when you take the dust jacket off, there is a bonus comic. Kudos to Chiba-sensei, I look forward to more of her work!

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

The First Stage of Love by Kazuhiko Mishima review

The First Stage of Love

Author/Artist: Kazuhiko Mishima

Publisher: Juné

Rating: YA - 16 and older

Genre: Shonen Ai, Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life, Anthology

Grade:A+

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

We've all been there once, right? The butterflies in your stomach, the... the tongue that gets all twisted, the twitching. These can be some of the the first signs of love. OK, that beginning was a little cheesy, but the book was a little cheesy as well. It was sugary, syrupy, and sweet. With all the angst, sex-laden, and intense yaoi I've been reading lately, this set of five one-shots was just what the doctor ordered to refresh my spirit.

The first few one-shots in The First Stage of Love are quite short. Strawberry Milk is a story of a student who likes to go to the roof to smoke and gets caught by a teacher. Yui-sensei tells Nanase that he hates kisses tasting of cigarettes. Nanase challenges Yui-sensei to kiss him and is surprised when sensei actually does it. To help Nanase along with breaking the habit Yui-sensei hands over strawberry milk flavored candies to suck on. It's all downhill from there for Nanase.

Worries of the Future tells the tale of salary man Keiichi Mitsuzuka dealing with aging, even though the dude is only 25. He flips out at being called "Sir" by a little girl that he refuses to meet up with his boyfriend. A little while later he's still freaking out when a couple of female coworkers pick on him by pointing out gray hairs, making things even worse. While going through his breakdown, his boyfriend calls, which one of the coworkers answers. The boyfriend freaks and hangs up on him. Will Mitsuzuka realize that we all get older?

In His, Her, and My Relationship Seta and Murakami are coworkers and lovers. Murakami is unsure of their relationship because they just recently consummated it. Now Seta seems to be avoiding Murakami. Not only that, Takahashi - the office babe, seems to be all over Seta. Murakami has a hard time dealing with it and no matter what Seta says to try and clear the air, it doesn't seem to help.

The First Stage of Love is centered on Kikuchi, a young bookstore clerk, and Kaji, a handsome salary man and regular in the bookstore. Kikuchi is immediately drawn to Kaji and finds himself looking forward to seeing him whenever he comes in. One afternoon Kikuchi's coworker asks if Kaji is married because he just purchased a child's picture book. Unable to handle the news, Kikuchi chases after Kaji to clear the air. Is Kaji married, and if he isn't what will Kikuchi do? In The Second Stage of Love the story of Kikuchi and Kaji continues.

Wait Weight Wait is the adorable story of Uehara, a chubby kid, and his best friend, Mori. Mori confesses to Uehara that he likes fat kids. Unable to handle this information Uehara loses weight over summer break. When he shows up for school once the break is over everyone is surprised to see a skinny Uehara. Mori takes it personally, thinking that Uehara hates him and begins to avoid him. Uehara didn't want to lose his friend, and didn't realize that losing the weight would hurt Mori's feelings. So what does Uehara do to try and get into the good graces of his friend again? He tries to pack on the pounds again, without much success. Will things work out like Uehara wants?

I really liked this book. The art style is very clean and very cute. I look forward to seeing more from Kazuhiko Mishima-sensei. Even though some of the story themes weren't new to the yaoi genre, the approach of these five were fresh. The most original story I think would have to be Wait Weight Wait. How often do you see a story about body issues in boys love? I didn't notice any missteps in spelling, grammar, etc., and the honorifics were kept intact. Also when the sound effects were translated, they kept quite a few of the original characters with the translations to the side, but without being in the way. I recommend this to anyone who wants a sweet read, and with it being rated 16+, it's a great introduction to the boys love genre. As with all Digital Manga, Inc. titles the larger size, dust jackets, and higher quality paper make it all around enjoyable!

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

Thursday, May 22, 2008

King of Debt by Sanae Rokuya review

King of Debt

Author/Artist: Sanae Rokuya

Publisher: 801 Media

Rating: M - 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Anthology

Grade: B+

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

I didn't know what to expect when I first picked up this book. I was surprised to find that it was a series of one-shots. I'm generally not a huge fan of one-shots, but I enjoyed this one! 801 Media sure knows how to pick out their dirty little books. They are so fun!

The first one-shot is King of Debt. Taketora, nickname "The King of Debt," is always borrowing money from others and then fails to pay back the debt. Souta, a friend from college, can't seem to ever say no. Sadly, or not, depending on how you look at it, Souta loses his job and hunts down Taketora to collect on his past unpaid debts. When he arrives at Taketora's apartment he's surprised to find a posh condo and his friend standing out front in an expensive suit, leaning against a pricey luxury automobile. Dumbfounded, Souta demands cash which Taketora replies that he has none, but he'll pay back his debt with his hot, sexy, bod.

Rush, our next one-shot, is about boxers. Shinpachi Nakamura, being a cocky jock, busts in at Fujieda Boxing Gym and challenges the strongest fighter. Tsugihiro Fujieda takes him up on the challenge and kicks his butt. Fujieda sees potential in Nakamura and offers to train him. They get training in and out of the ring.

My personal favorite out of this series is the next one-shot My Dear, My Bear. Minori has an older brother complex. This brother left, but in his place left a stuffed bear to keep him company. A year later some strange man claiming to be Minori's stuffed bear is in his bed. Is this really his stuffed animal, or some creepy, perverted stalker?

Call My Name is a typical yaoi one-shot. Yanase, in high school, had a thing for Natsume. After Yanase confessed his feelings Natsume shot him down. Several years later the two of them happen to run into each other. It seems that Natsume's feelings are quite different now days.

Finally, VS is a tale of a veteran and a newcomer in the world of host clubs. The newcomer, Ryuuji, challenges Natsuki's seniority and claims that he'll be the number one host in the club at the end of the month. The end of the month approaches and it seems that Ryuuji has the number one host, and his spot in his sights.

Like I mentioned at the top of the review, I was pleasantly surprised. Many of the stories were a little more original than you usually see in the genre. The thing that was most refreshing, however, is Sanae Rokuya-sensei's art style. It is very clean, detailed, and you can tell the characters apart. Some mangaka have a style where all their semes and ukes look alike, but with Rokuya-sensei each character is unique. Plus, as an added bonus, sensei throws in a cross-dressing brother. It's great, you don't see that enough, in my opinion.

As always, 801 Media has put out a quality product. The high color dust jacket and high quality paper makes it an enjoyable read. I also love how they have the 801-chan comic on the dust jacket flap. You know that if it comes from 801 Media it is an excellent product! I just sounded like an infomercial just now. Sorry.

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

Love Circumstances by Aco Oumi review

Love Circumstances

Author/Artist: Aco Oumi

Publisher: 801 Media, Inc.

Rating: M - 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life

Grade: B

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

Love Circumstances is another steamy release by 801 Media, Inc.

Yamaguchi and Takagari were best friends, but they started dating over their summer break. Even though they are in love, Yamaguchi has some insecurities. He doesn't seem to know what Takagari sees in him. Not only that, but Takagari wants to kick it up a notch and take their relationship to the next level. Yamaguchi isn't quite sure what to do about that either. Instead of clearing these things up with his boyfriend, he approaches Takagari's cousin for some answers. You'd think they were all middle school girls the way that they are handling this relationship. Onda, Takagari's cousin, doesn't have any answers for Yamaguchi. Takagari makes a visit to Onda's house for some advice and finds out that Yamaguchi has been feeling a little, okay a lot, self concious. Will Yamaguchi get over himself and tell Takagari that he loves him. Will Takagari get lucky? Read Love Circumstances to find out.

This was a fairly quick read and really quite graphic. I was taken aback at how detailed the sex scenes were drawn. This manga is a sequel, but the first book Peach Colored Pure Hearted Boys hasn't been translated and released here. I think that would have helped the story. I felt like we jumped right into the middle of the story and we were all expected to know who all the characters were, how their relationship came to fruition and things of that nature. I hope that 801 Media will think about getting a hold of the license to this because I think that would make Love Circumstances a much better read. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it. There are a few one-shots at the end of the book and the one entitled Love and Work was really sweet. It was really short, too. There wasn't any sex in that story either. If you think that makes it less enjoyable, the other two one-shots have plenty in them to keep you satisfied. The packaging was pleasant, as always, and the full color first page is really quite hot, and humorous. One of my favorite things about 801 Media is the four-panel 801-chan comic printed on the dust jacket flap. The comic this time around was hilarious! This is another quality release by 801 Media, and I say check it out (but make sure that you are 18 or can handle graphic sex!)

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

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hero Heel vol. 1 by Makoto Tateno review

Hero Heel. vol.1

Author/Artist: Makoto Tateno

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M - for 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance

Grade: A

Masaki Minami is an aspiring actor who has been cast in a new television show. It is one of those of Power Rangers type shows. Minami thinks that he is too good to act in shows like this but he accepted the job because he isn't able to land any other gigs. When the cast is introduced to the press Minami feigns interest. His co-star Kazuomi Sawada, who is a veteran to these types of shows, snickers catching Minami's attention. Sawada, unlike Minami, approaches his character professionally and expects that his co-stars do the same. Soon Minami is consumed by thoughts of Sawada.

When filming begins Minami discovers a huge secret (huge is of course relative). Sawada is gay. Oh my stars, an actor who is gay, who would have thunk it (yes, that last sentence is dripping with sarcasm). Since Minami is new to the biz he doesn't know how to deal with this news. Sawada seems to look down on Minami because Minami doesn't take his role seriously. Minami comes to a decision. He decides to adjust his attitude so Sawada won't look at him with contempt. He wants to be seen as an equal in Sawada's eyes.

Minami finds out that Sawada starred in another sci-fi type hero show in the past. Minami wants to see what type of actor he is in that show so he checks it out. To his surprise he is drawn to the plot (and one of the lead actors, Sawada). Sawada finds out that Minami has been checking out these shows and discourages him to watch beyond the first few episodes. Minami doesn't understand Sawada's motives behind his comment.

After filming one of Sawada's partners meets him at the studio to escort him home. Minami is feeling weird and doesn't understand the emotions that he's feeling. The next day Sawada and Minami are changing in the dressing room and Minami catches some scratches on Sawada's back. His heart sinks. It turns out that Minami is in love with Sawada (are we shocked? no? didn't think so.)

The show has become quite popular and the producers have decided to hire a couple of new actors. Katagiri, one of the new actors, seems to be enamored with Minami and tries all kinds of things to get his attention. But Minami is focused on Sawada. Will Minami come to terms with his feelings? Is Sawada attracted to Minami as well? If you want to find out what happens in this crazy love triangle read Hero Heel vol. 1.

Makoto Tateno-sama is one of my all time favorite mangaka. If you have read any of my reviews, you'll know that. Her art is clean and beautifully detailed. In my imaginary world all of my men would look like her drawings come to life. This is a great premise for yaoi. It is nice fertile soil for a story to grow from. We all know that in the acting profession that being gay isn't all that shocking. Actors tend to be sensitive and imaginitive. When it comes to guys if you exude any of those qualities growing up other guys pick on you and you tend to relate to girls. Growing up I knew several guys like this, although they are all still straight.

Juné has come out with another quality release. It is the larger trim size and has a dust jacket. I recommend this manga to all who like (or love in my case) Tateno-sama, anyone who likes yaoi manga, and anybody who likes interesting stories. I guess that means I recommend this manga to all!

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

Love is Like a Hurricane vol. 4 by Tokiya Shimazaki review

Love is Like a Hurricane vol. 4
Author/Artist: Tokiya Shimazaki

Publisher: 801 Media, Inc.

Rating: M - 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Romance, School Life

Grade: A-

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

It's school festival time for our all-boys school. Because of all of the preparations being made Mizuki and Azuma, and Akira and Izumi don't seem to have enough time on their hands to spend time with their respective lovers. So it's no surprise to walk in on Akira and Izumi getting it on.

Mizuki's class decides to host a teahouse theme and want to dress him in a French Maid costume. All of Mizuki's fanboys seem to like the idea but he's not so sure, but goes with the flow anyway. That seems to be normal for Mizuki, allowing peer pressure to run his life. As the preparations continue Akira is blackmailed into helping and Izumi is convinced that the reason for Akira's bad mood is that he's frustrated, sexually frustrated I mean.

The day before the festival Mizuki finds out that his class is running a haunted house instead of a teahouse. He is terrified and refuses to participate. His classmates chase down Azuma who arrives to calm Mizuki down. Luckily the plan worked and Azuma convinces Mizuki's class to host a teahouse.

On the day of the festival Mizuki realizes how popular Azuma is and how many fanboys and girls he has following him around. Of course Mizuki gets jealous and the misunderstandings fly.

This is the second to last book in the series and I have no idea how this series is going to end. Shimazaki-sensei outdid herself with this volume. It has the highest story value of the four, so far. The art is cute, the story isn't quite as disjointed as the others, and I have to admit, Mizuki looks better as a girl than I do. That's the joy of yaoi! 801 Media doesn't dissappoint, like always, and the final installment comes out this June. Will I be able to wait? Nope! But, unfortunately, I'll have to!

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

Love is Like a Hurricane vol. 3 by Tokiya Shimazaki review


Love is Like a Hurricane vol. 3

Author/Artist: Tokiya Shimazaki

Publisher: 801 Media, Inc.

Rating: M - 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Romance, School Life

Grade: B

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

Mizuki is consistently getting himself in trouble, and Azuma's pals seem to be the ones placing him into those situations. When I was a kid I was taught never to take candy from strangers, unless it was Halloween. Even then, the candy got checked over by a loving parent. I think Mizuki didn't get that lesson. Miyamoto, Azuma's cousin, feeds Mizuki some strange candy that turns out to be an aphrodisiac that he was making in his free time. Not only is Mizuki feeling the fever, but his pheromone production has gone into overdrive. Azuma is nowhere to be found, and Miyamoto feeds Mizuki to the throngs of rabid wolves waiting outside of the student council room.

After the craziness subsides, Mizuki is showered with gifts from many a guy at school. Unable to deal with all of the rock star attention he gives the gifts to Azuma. Azuma decides to use this to his advantage. Mizuki is in need of tutoring and unable to pay in cash, he offers Azuma what ever he wants. It turns out Azuma has some crazy ideas in store. One word for you-cosplay. Some studying gets done, but the bed did more work than Mizuki.

In the series, the story goes as follows: Mizuki does something dumb, Azuma shows up, sex ensues, and the cycle starts over again. Initially I thought that I would get bored of the predictability of the whole thing, but it seems that I still am enjoying it. Shimazaki-sensei's art is very cute. 801 Media's production value is still worthy of my infomercial, and I anxiously await what insanity that will ensue in the following volumes!

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kissing by Teiko Sasaki and Shoko Takaku review

Kissing

Author/Artist: Teiko Sasaki/Shoko Takaku

Publisher: Juné

Rating: YA - 16 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance

Grade: B

Kazushi and Haru have been best friends since childhood. They are now in college but are still inseparable. One day at school Kazushi kisses Haru to ward off the advances of pushy girls. Kazushi says that it's harmless, but was it? Haru is a tad confused and doesn't seem to know what to do.

Haru and Kazushi's birthdays are only three days apart and they are quickly approaching. Kazushi lets it slip that he's in love and Haru wants to know who with. Be careful what you wish for, Haru! Kazushi confesses to Haru and Haru is beside himself. He wants to remain friends with Kazushi but doesn't feel the same way. Or does he? Will Haru fall in love with Kazushi or will he continue to just be friends?

Teiko Sasaki wrote the story and Shoko Takaku did the art. Takaku-sensei is also known for her artwork in Passion. The characters are quite attractive and they do have some personality. This is a pretty good manga and it has the Takaku-sensei touch. The story is good but I do really prefer Passion. The childhood friend scenario is a bit common in the yaoi genre. If done right you don't notice it. This one is close, and this one is definitely one to catch.

***Review Copy Purchased by Reviewer***

Blue Sky by Yuko Kuwabara review

Blue Sky

Author/Artist: Yuko Kuwabara

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M - 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Comedy, Romance, School Life

Grade: A-

Yuko Kuwabara has quickly become one of my favorite mangaka since reading Alcohol, Shirt, and Kiss. Which this fact is kind of hilarious because this manga is only her second English release.

Ryoichiro Kihara is the Chief Resident Advisor at the Seiran boys' dormitory. There is a prophecy that the Chief RA always becomes romantically linked with his roommate. To make his senior year a little more exciting Kihara rigs the room drawing so he can be paired with Kyosuke Yoshimi, also known as "The Beautiful Prince of Ice." Kihara is quite popular with the student body and has his own nickname "The Prince of Warm Spring Sunshine."

It is obvious that Yoshimi is not looking forward to spending his senior year as Kihara's roommate. He even goes to the lengths to tell Kihara that there is no way the prediction is true because his brother was also the Chief RA at Seiran dormitory and he didn't become romantically involved with his roommate. The challenge has been leveled. Will the "Prince of Warm Spring Sunshine" be able to warm the heart of the "Beautiful Prince of Ice"?

There are two additional stories. One involving Yoshimi's older brother and the school's doctor, Hino-sensei. It turns out that the prediction came to fruition while Shunichi Yoshimi was the Chief RA. It seems that it's been kept on the DL. The second story involves Yoshimi's former roommate Suzuki and one of Yoshimi's many admirers Kaga. Suzuki and Kaga are roommates now and Suzuki finds himself falling for Kaga. It seems, however, that Kaga still has strong feelings towards Yoshimi even though he was turned down.

I love Kuwabara-sensei! I was so excited to be able to buy this at the Akadot Retail website before it's released in bookstores! Kuwabara-sensei has a great, clean, art style. No major clutter with excessive bubbles, a ton of flowers, etc. But there is enough detail to make it truly gorgeous. The story isn't as strong as Alcohol, Shirt, and Kiss but it is still truly awesome. It gets two thumbs up and more if I had more thumbs. Juné always does a good job with the publishing. The dust jacket fits nicely and it's got quite the sexy picture on the back. Check this volume out if you know what's good for you!

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Thirsty for Love by Satosumi Takaguchi and Yukine Honami review

Thirsty For Love

Author/Artist: Satosumi Takaguchi/Yukine Honami

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M - Ages 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Tragedy, School Life

Grade: A+

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

The blurb on the back says:

People say it's impossible to love two men equally at the same time. But what if you have a lot of love to give?
Yuka loves the passionate Orie, the arrogant Tatsumi and the painfully honest Suguru. All are different, but each is loved deeply and sincerely. One of the boys doesn't know that his girlfriend is cheating on him, another doesn't seem to care that he shares his girl with others, while one turns a blind eye to the situation. So what happens if you take away their common denominator?
Secrets and lies are unearthed and, with Yuka's sudden passing, the three boys are left feeling empty. But with Yuka gone, who will fill their thirst for love? The three are inevitably pulled towards each other and unwittingly bond together through their common lost love. Will they find comfort in each other's arms? Love, admiration and lust intermingle around them in an inescapable spiral in this coming of age romance.


This blurb does no justice to this amazing piece of work by Satosumi Takaguchi and Yukine Honami. The story centers on our three boys Orie Nakano, Suguru Suenobu, Tatsumi Kuwabara and the woman in the center Yuka Sarai. Yuka is triple-timing her men. Orie is the only one who doesn't know that Yuka is sleeping with other guys. Tatsumi comes across Yuka and Orie getting it on, but instead of freaking out, he joins in on the fun. Once the action is over and Yuka is in the shower, the two get into a bit of a scuffle and Orie leaves.

The story gets even more complicated from here. Orie plays on the school basketball team and has admired an upperclassman for quite some time. For some strange reason his sempai (for those unfamiliar with honorifics, sempai = upperclassman) suddenly quits the basketball team. Orie doesn't quite understand and takes it very personally.

The day after the threesome Tatsumi chases down Orie and drags him to the roof. Up there waiting for the two of them is Suguru, Orie's sempai. We soon learn that Suguru is also seeing Yuka and was aware that he wasn't the only one she was involved with. Suguru takes it particularly hard that the third guy in the equation is Orie. Orie breaks down as well, because he's upset that his sempai is quitting the team before he had the chance to play with him (not in that way, this may be yaoi but this is a pretty deep story!)

A few days later Yuka meets up with Orie on the way to school to explain that she loves the three of them deeply. She also informs Orie that she has a secret that Suguru knows, but she doesn't expound on it any further. Even though he walked with her to school, she wasn't in class and the teacher mentions that she'll be out of school for a while. It turns out that Yuka has Leukemia and it isn't expected to recover.

With Yuka's death brings deep pain to our three boys and the only way that they can overcome their grief is to cling to each other.

This was a truly moving story. It was truly an amazing experience reading this work. Takaguchi-sensei's story is unique in the yaoi genre. Any time you include women characters they are generally shoved aside as jealous beasts because the guys are getting all the action or they are used as set dressing. But in this case Yuka plays a central role in bringing our three characters to their destined end. Along with Takaguchi-sensei's story, Honami-sensei's art brings the story to life. Her detailed simplicity (I know, I know oxymoron city, but that's the only way I can describe it) truly brings each character to life. You can sense the sadness and pain in their eyes. All I can say is WOW! If you want to read something that is truly unique in the yaoi genre, then this is the way to go. It is beautiful to look at, Juné always does a great job. The cover has a raw and gritty, yet beautiful feel to it. You'll definitely enrich your mind and soul by reading this breathtaking story. I'm glad I read it!

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

My New Name!

I know initially I would sign things as verygorgeous. But I've decided to use a little bit more of a normal name. Besides, I review manga both here and at Lincoln Heights Literary Society at http://liheliso.com/buzz/. At that site I go by the name of Kris. So if you want to check me in either location, feel free. I just want to be a little more consistent. Besides my reviews at LHLS, you can catch reviews from other awesome people. Be sure to stop by here regularly because some of my reviews won't be available anywhere else (the manga I purchase with my own cash I post here, the review copies I receive from the publishers show up in both locations!)

Hate to Love You by Makoto Tateno review

Hate to Love You

Author/Artist: Makoto Tateno

Publisher: Deux Press

Rating: M - Ages 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance

Grade: A

I was introduced to Makoto Tateno-sama through reading Yellow, another of her series. Initially I didn't know whether or not I liked her art style. It was different from what I was used to. Once I finished the first volume of Yellow I fell in love. Hate to Love You was the second work of hers that I read. I was intrigued because on the back it said that it is a yaoi version of Romeo and Juliet (Romeo and Romeo?). Since I love Shakespeare I couldn't pass on it.

Masaya Konoe and Yuma Kazuki are the sons of two rival real estate company presidents. They were raised to hate one another, since they are eventually going to take over their fathers companies. Even though they act as though they hate each other, there seems to be something more to their relationship. They used to play with another child in an adjoining estate: Akiko Tojoin. It seems that Konoe might have a little bit of a crush on Akiko. It is expected that Konoe and Kazuki are supposed to compete in every aspect of life and for some reason Kazuki is always the one ahead.

Kazuki is a bit of a womanizer, but that doesn't stop him becoming engaged to Akiko. Konoe is beside himself. As he runs away from Kazuki he drops a small, broken, charm. This seems to fascinate Kazuki. He holds this charm hostage and tells Konoe that if he wants it back they are to meet at a certain spot. Konoe shows up and the sparks soon fly. They realize that they have mutual feelings for each other and proceed to get it on out in the open and in the middle of winter (wouldn't that be kind of on the cold side?). Will the back and forth continue? Will their relationship last or will the family rivalries tear them apart?

This is a pretty good story. But I don't see the Romeo and Juliet aspect of it. The only thing that the two have in common is that they come from two opposing houses. The art is gorgeous and clean. Konoe is kind of a crybaby and Kazuki seems to be on the sadistic side. Akiko is a breath of fresh air. Often time in yaoi stories women don't show up too often and are generally portrayed as jealous shrews or angry bimbos. Tateno-sama, however, portrays Akiko as a strong, amazingly beautiful character that grounds our two main male characters. She also shares words of wisdom and is not your usual yaoi female. I recommend this book. My only complaint the book is a little stiff. I really don't want to develop carpal tunnel while I try to wrestle to keep the book open. Deux Press has improved it's printing (at least my copy of Yakuza in Love by Shiuko Kano is easier to hold). Whether it lasts I don't know, I only have three of their books and only one of them is easy to hold. The paper is super high quality though.

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Love Recipe vol. 2 by Kirico Higashizato review

Love Recipe vol. 2

Author/Artist: Kirico Higashizato

Publisher : Juné

Rating: M - For ages 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Romance

Grade: A+

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

This release of Love Recipe vol. 2 is by far the most exciting for me! I immediately fell in love with Love Recipe vol. 1 after I read it several months ago that I actually purchased the sequel in Japanese, and I don't even speak the language (I'm trying to learn it though!) The book arrived in the mail today and was waiting for me to get home from work. Needless to say, instead of doing the things I needed to I curled up on my couch and immersed myself in the tale of Tomonori Ozawa and his lover/mangaka Sakurako Kakyoin.

In the first Love Recipe we were introduced to Tomonori Ozawa, a new editor at a boys love magazine. He knew nothing about boys love when he started but was put through the paces almost immediately. His first major assignment was to pick up a manga submission from Sakurako Kakyoin. When he arrived at Kakyoin-sensei's condo instead of finding a female mangaka, he found a man, a gorgeous man at that. Kakyoin is immediately taken by this adorable new addition to the RoseBoy (the BL manga Ozawa works for) family and uses the excuse of needing inspiration to get into Ozawa's pants. The chief editor saw the positive effects of Ozawa's moe-ness (I know I just made up a new word, deal with it!) with all the artists. Soon after, Kakyoin-sensei claims Ozawa for his own and thus starts their relationship of editor/mangaka/lovers.

In Love Recipe vol. 2 both Ozawa and Kakyoin are super busy and hardly have time to spend with each other. The only time that they see one another is when Ozawa comes to pick up his work. Not only are they supremely busy Ozawa is put in charge of developing a new artist, another male artist going by a female pen name. Ozawa must have quite the uke scent going on because Inukai, the artist in training, has decided that he loves our lovable editor.

They have a little trouble with getting the right kind of emotion from Inukai. He goes more for the whole porn for gay men route as opposed to the female fancy boys love road. The chief editor decides that Inukai needs to be an assistant with current published artist and suggests that Kakyoin-sensei would be the best, since they're both men and Inukai is a huge fan (I forgot to mention, Kakyoin's gender is a huge, mega secret!) How on earth does Ozawa juggle Kakyoin, Inukai, and all of the craziness surrounding him? You'll just have to read it to find out.

This is one of my favorite series. I'm glad that Kirico Higashizato-sensei has plans to continue this series because, I LOVE IT! The art is simply adorable and setting the scene in the world of manga publishing. Not only is it enjoyable to read, but you actually learn something as well. Kakyoin-sensei is absolutely gorgeous, whether he's clean shaven or his scruffy, trying to meet a deadline self. Ozawa is a cute, cuddly, uke. If you want to read works full of angst this isn't for you. But this is such a fun story that how could you pass it up?

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