Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Spring Fever by Yugi Yamada review

Spring Fever

Author/Artist: Yugi Yamada

Publisher: Deux Press

Rating: M - 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Grade: A

In this volume of yaoi there are two one-shots. Well, one one-shot and a continuing story spanning several volumes and publishers. The two stories are Spring Fever and Wildman Blues.

Yusuke Onishi has the tendency to fall in love easily. He also has really weird taste. He's only eighteen but he seems to be interested in women who are older than him. Having recently gotten his heart broken he figured he was doomed in the romance department. Until he meets Hirokazu Takami. Takami is a 38-year-old single father. Yes, I said father. Didn't you see "Yaoi" in the genre section above? Takami moved into the home next to Yuske's. Takami's ex-wife recently died in an auto accident, so he is left to raise Yu, his son, alone. Since Yusuke has fallen for Takami, he tries to do everything he can to help. Besides, Yu could use a playmate and Yusuke and Yu get along really well. But things don't go quite as Yusuke would like, especially with the entrance of Takami's former brother-in-law. What is on the horizon for this budding romance?

In Wildman Blues we meet Naoki and Ayu. They were neighbors at one time, but as soon as Naoki graduated from high school he and his mother moved away. Three years later Naoki has moved back and by some twist of fate Naoki and Ayu bump into each other on the street. There's a flashback that shows what things were like between Ayu and Naoki and why their friendship ended. Naoki has fully come out and Ayu is straight and currently has a girlfriend. Little do either party know that their worlds are about to be turned upside down.

I stated in my review for Don't Blame Me vol. 1 that I initially had no desire to read anything written or drawn by Yamada-sensei. Of course it's now been proven how wrong my opinion was. Her art compliments her stories perfectly. They are written with the perfect amount of humor to hook you and by the time you reach the end you'll feel satisfied. Spring Fever is very sweet and you can't help but fall for Takami either plus Yu is adorable. I love how Yamada-sensei draws children. They're so cute and precocious. I really liked Wildman Blues. Out of the two tales, Wildman Blues is definitely the more explicit of the two. But who would want to ruin the sweet story of Spring Fever with so much sex that it ruins it. Deux Press never ceases to amaze me. Since Spring Fever was one of their first releases it is fairly stiff like Hate to Love You and I Shall Never Return. Even though you have to wrestle like mad to keep it open, it's still worthy of having in your yaoi collection.

Like I mentioned in the first paragraph Wildman Blues is part of a larger story. Yamada-sensei has published different parts of Naoki's story in different compilations; so to be helpful I'm going to list in chronological order and where you might find the stories.

A Little Glass Sky - This shows us Naoki in high school being bullied by other classmates. Here we're introduced to Naoki Suzuki, Souhei Shirai, and Yada. Yada is Naoki's tormentor. You can find this story in Glass Sky published by Juné.

Wildman Blues - Naoki has been out of high school for three years and a new love welcomes him. Souhei Shirai and Yada show up for a brief moment, along with Chikazawa (another former classmate but we really don't meet him until Laugh Under the Sun.) This story is located in Spring Fever published by Deux Press.

Extras - We see Naoki in top form and showing up to a class reunion. He faces his bullies and deals with them with flair. Ayu, Chikazawa, and Shirai show up in this quick story. This is published in June's Glass Sky.

Laugh Under the Sun - This story focuses on Shirai and Chikazawa's story but Naoki is pretty involved and we see what I would assume is the back of Ayu in a couple of panels. This is a one-shot called Laugh Under the Sun released by Juné.

This list really helped me iron out Naoki's story which helped me figure everything out. You don't have to read these stories in chronological order to enjoy them. I read Wildman Blues first. It didn't ruin anything and reading all of the chapters really helped.

***Review Copy purchased by Reviewer***

Don't Blame Me vol. 2 by Yugi Yamada review

Don't Blame Me vol. 2

Author/Artist: Yugi Yamada

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M - 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Grade: A-

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

I'm not really in the mood to summarize the complicated plot of Don't Blame Me vol. 1 here, so be sure to check out my previous review. If you have a desire to read this series (and I say you should read it) you'll definitely want to start with the first book.

We start this book where the last one left off. Nakamura doesn't know what to do about his feelings. Is he in love with Kaji? Why is he spilling his guts to Kujirai, in whom he is extremely jealous of? Of course Kaji just happened to be on the other side of the door hearing all of this. It's also cultural festival time. To make plans they all meet at the pub that Kaji works at and the film club gains a new member, Yamazaki. She is crushing on Kaji big time. Poor Nakamura, he now has to be jealous of two people - Kujirai and Yamazaki. After a huge argument Nakamura musters up the courage and plants one on Kaji.

Since they decided to make a funky horror film for their cultural festival project, life moves at a hectic pace. One day during filming Nakamura and Yamazaki go at each other over Kaji. Man how would that be (as a single gal I really wouldn't know!) The set collapses around them and Nakamura gets injured trying to push Yamazaki out of the way. Kaji takes Nakamura to his apartment to take care of him, and realizes that he also has feelings for Nakamura. How will this story play out? I don't want to spoil the climax for you (get your minds out of the gutter, but if your reading yaoi it's already too late) so I'm going to end the plot summary here! Now you'll have to go out and read this.

This was defintely worth the time I spent reading it. The story is so well told that I put aside my attitudes about Yamada-sensei's art to the side. Besides, on the back cover Tsuchiya and Miki's baby is so adorably drawn that I could be forgiving. After reading this series I think I'm going to read more of Yamada-sensei's work. Plus the afterwords by the author are so blooming funny! You get the high quality publishing from Juné and the superb storytelling from Yugi Yamada-sensei, a winning team!

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

Don't Blame Me vol. 1 by Yugi Yamada review

Don't Blame Me vol. 1

Author/Artist: Yugi Yamada

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M - 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Grade: A-

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

I've seen Yugi Yamada-sensei's books on the shelf at my local Borders. I've seen them advertised in the back of several of my other Juné manga. I've also read reviews on some of her titles. But, here's my major confession, I've never read anything written by Yamada-sensei. When we learn to read we're always taught not to judge a book by it's cover. Well, when it came to Yamada-sensei I was judging the contents inside by the cover. I must admit that even though I was not terribly impressed by the covers, I was wrong.

Don't Blame Me is a two volume series. The first volume starts off by adorable thirteen-year-old Makoto being dumped by his girlfriend. Now, not only is Makoto girlfriendless, but he's stuck with tickets to some lame movie. Instead of allowing the tickets to go to waste, he decides to go. He insists on sitting through the credits and is surprised to see his cousin's name listed as an assistant cameraman. Truly excited he immediately goes over to cousin Toshi's apartment to congratulate him. While he's there he meets some of Toshi's friends from college and is surprised and saddened to find out that Toshi has given up being a cameraman. A few days later Makoto decides to go back to Toshi's, but he's not around. Fortunately for Makoto, though, two of his college buddies were there and are willing to spill stories about Toshi, including info on his "girlfriend." Toshi shows up at home to find his cousin and friends watching some of the stuff they filmed in college. Makoto confronts Toshi about giving up his dreams and during their arguement Miki, one of the college friends, goes into labor. Toshi gets roped into filming the birth and at the hospital Makoto finally finds out that Toshi is gay. Here is where the story really begins.

Toshiaki Kaji (cousin Toshi, if you hadn't figured it out) is a law student at A University. One day he's eating lunch in the cafeteria and sees a guy in a bear suit eating in the cafeteria as well. Kaji goes from one strange event to another. While waiting outside a teacher's office he's hit up by some guy for a cigarette (do the Japanese not know how bad cigs are for one's health?). All Kaji has is an old, hard piece of gum. The teacher he was needing to meet with was indisposed (gum man had just given him a blow job) so Kaji had some spare time and decided to check out the school's film club. Here is where we first meet Nakamura (Toshi's significant other), Miki (the friend who gave birth), Tsuchiya (Miki's hubby), Takasaki (the bear man), and Kujirai (gum man). It so happens that Kujirai is gay and Miki is a yaoi fangirl (she loves filming guy-on-guy action.)

The film club doesn't seem to have much to do with films, or filming for that matter, but do party a lot. Kaji doesn't seem to think that Nakamura (Kaji and Nakamura are the only freshmen in the club) likes him but it turns out that he's just shy. It turns out that Nakamura likes sophisticated horror movies and Kaji likes horror movies in general. This is where their bond begins. It turns out, however, that the two have met before.

Initially, I didn't think I was going to like this book. I like really clean and detailed art, and this isn't super clean or detailed. It does make up for the art by being an amazing story. The plot bobs and weaves and is fairly complicated, but it is easy to follow. It's touching, it's funny, it's dramatic, it's indescribable. I was hooked after the first chapter. Once you reached the end of the book, I couldn't wait to read the next volume. I have been converted to the religion of Yugi Yamada-sensei. My only complaint is I had a hard time keeping the names of Kaji and Kujirai straight, but I think that's because I'm an idiot. Since this is from the family at DMP it has a dust jacket, it's a larger trim size, and the margins are a little wider. I have no complaints for DMP releases. I recommend this title highly and if you haven't read anything by Yamada-sensei, I say why not start with Don't Blame Me!

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

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yaoi Novels

Helloo! I have read a lot of yaoi novels recently. Instead of copying the reviews from Lincoln Heights Literary Society and posting them here, I'm going to link to them so you can click on the title and enjoy!

A Promise of Romance - by Kyoko Akitsu; illustrations by Tooko Miyagi
Better Than a Dream - by Raica Sakuragi; illustrations by Katsumi Asanami
Caged Slave - by Yuiko Takamura; illustrations by An Kanae
Eternal Love - by Mizumi Takaoka; illustrations by Yukariko Jissohji
Gentle Cage - by You Shizaki; illustrations by Kumiko Sasaki
Immoral Darkness - by Miyu Matsuda; illustrations by Yukariko Jissohji
S - by Saki Aida; illustrations by Chiharu Nara
S: A Love Bite - by Saki Aida; illustrations by Chiharu Nara
Sweet Admiration - by Yuuki Kousaka; illustrations by Midori Shena

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pathos vol. 1 by Mika Sadahiro review

Pathos vol.1

Author/Artist: Mika Sadahiro

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M - 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Supernatural, Horror

Grade: A

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

It must be vampire month at DMP. First it's Necratoholic by Meguro Wasabi, then it's Red Angel vol. 1 by Makoto Tateno, finally Pathos vol. 1 by Mika Sadahiro. Pathos is the tale of two vampires who adopt a human boy.

King is a caring and kind older brother. J is a mondo jerk. Ace is our main man who is human, but desires to become a vampire to be closer to J. Initially J tries to avoid Ace by being unkind, but you can tell that there are some emotions boiling right under the surface. Because J has a major desire to drain Ace of his life force King decides to send Ace to boarding school in Boston. To seal Ace's fate, the day before he leaves for America J partakes of Ace's blood.

While Ace is at school he finds himself using Dracula by Bram Stoker as a means to help him pleasure himself. His roommate Rand decides to seduce Ace. By the time he turns eighteen Ace has made up his mind to become a full vampire.

We also learn how J becomes a vampire and how he tries to exact his revenge on his captor.

This is an interesting read. The very first page has some pretty steamy sex. When it starts off so randy like this you never know if it's just going to be sex, and more sex, and lacking in story or it might just be a great read. I'm not a huge fan of vampire stories but this one surprised me. It was gripping and now I am anxious to get my hands on the second volume. Mika Sadahiro-sensei has an interesting art style. You are able to tell the characters apart from one another and even thought the eyes aren't as detailed as other mangaka they are still expressive. My only issue is with King's hair. He has a Robert Plant (Led Zepplin)/Roger Daltry (The Who) vibe going on. It's a little creepy. This is of course a high quality release from Juné. It's a larger trim size, is very flexible, and has a beautiful dust jacket. The copy that I have is a matte finish on the dust jacket as opposed to the glossy finish that they usually do. I prefer the matte finish better, but that's just me. I say check it out, it's worth the time and money. And for someone who doesn't really like the vampire thing to say that you ought to read it, it must be somewhat worthwhile!

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

The President's Time by Tamaki Kirishima review

The President's Time

Author/Artist: Tamaki Kirishima

Publisher: 801 Media, Inc

Rating: 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Romance, Salarymen

Grade: A+

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

801 Media has made another brilliant choice with The President's Time. Mutsuki Nagasawa is a truly talented CEO. He is good at his job, thoughtful to his employees, and an all around nice guy. There is one problem. Mutsuki has yet to fulfil his father's final wish for him. He is supposed to become an evil president. So evil in fact he needs to be able to summon Beelzebub himself. What is Mutsuki to do?

After work one day it is decided that Mutsuki is going to perform "Ding Dong Dash", the ultimate of evil (at least for Mutsuki). While standing at the buzzer he discovers he can't be evil and he runs away leaving his chauffer and secretary in the dust. Mutsuki has no sense of direction and ends up lost. He is rescued by the mystery man Makoto Torii. Soon Mutsuki finds himself falling for this strong, sincere man. Torii also gives Mutsuki some words of encouragement to help him commit his first evil deed, crossing against the light (gasp!).

As the 10 year anniversary of Mutsuki taking over the family company approaches he is reminded that if he can't become an evil president he has to forfeit his inheritance to his uncle, who truly is evil, regardless of how successful Mutsuki has been running things. Will Torii be able to support Mutsuki in his quest to become evil? Check out The President's Time to see what happens.

The President's Time by Tamaki Kirishima-sensei will keep you laughing from the time that you crack open the front cover to the time you reach the last page. You'll even laugh just thinking about it. Or at least I did. Salarymen stories aren't new to the genre but I haven't read anything this funny for a while. You have a fantastic cast of characters from Mutsuki the kind-hearted president, Torii the straight arrow employee/lover, Mochizuki the dedicated chauffer who is unsure of his feelings for Mutsuki, Shizuka the sadistic brother to Mutsuki, etc. Each character is endearing and interesting in their own way. They also ooze major hotness and honestly I wish I could do my laundry on several of these characters abs! 801 Media always publishes to the highest quality and The President's Time doesn't disappoint. The book is covered in a full color dust jacket and a full color cover page. There is also a hidden manga on the cover hidden under the dust jacket and a bonus four panel comic on the back flap, it makes more sense once you've read through the whole manga. I was worried that there wasn't an 801-chan comic but it was in a different spot. I always highly praise 801 Media releases in both quality of publication but their impeccable taste in choosing the manga that they license. The President's Time is one of these fantastic releases and I can't recommend it highly enough, but make sure you can handle yaoi because that's what you get and lots of it!

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