Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Clan of the Nakagamis by Homerun Ken review

Clan of the Nakagamis

Author/Artist: Homerun Ken

Publisher: Juné

Rating: YA – 16 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Grade: B

Haruka Iijima and Tokiyo Nakagami have been dating for a while now. They met over bizarre circumstances; Nakagami-sensei found someone's pet alligator and Iijima helped him out. They are lovers but have a few things going against them. First, they're men, second, they're student and teacher, and third, Tokiyo's family is rather strange and they love Tokiyo way more than normal. The Nakagami clan is a very weird bunch. They don't seem to age and are devastatingly good looking. Tokiyo's parents look more like siblings, he has an older brother who is a shojo manga artist who cross-dresses, a younger brother who is the same age as Iijima, and a grandfather who looks like an elementary school student and can drink anyone under the table. They all have a weird obsession with Tokiyo, which I don't think is at all healthy. Iijima want to further their relationship but with a Nakagami family member at every turn will they ever be able to go all the way?

There are also a few one-shots found: The Travails of a Struggling Assistant Detective, Thief x Thief (also found in J-Boy by Biblos also published by Juné), and Going to Oikawa-kun's House. These are cute stories but have nothing to do with the madcap adventures of the Nakagami family.

It took me a while for me to decide to pick this title up. It's sad to say that I had to wait until it was at fire sale type prices to convince me to grab it. This was such an enjoyable title. I seriously laughed throughout the whole thing and the story about how Tokiyo and Iijima met had me rolling on the floor. Who knew that gothic/lolita fashions and pet alligators went together? The storytelling is paced rather quickly but there's enough of a story to go with the quick pace to keep you hooked. Homerun Ken-sensei is a very talented artist. The detail is impeccable and even though she has wide eyed characters they have an Asian angle on the eyes, which is very nice to see. In many cases when manga-ka draw their characters they seem to have more of a European look as opposed to an Asian look. I love the shape and angle of Asian eyes and facial features and to see that in sensei's renderings is very refreshing. The panels are laid out in a way that make it easy to read and aren't overly busy. The costuming is great and I honestly wonder how Kijinojyo makes his boobs so large when in cross-dressing mode. You see a wide range of clothing (kimonos, gakuran, suits, etc.) to satisfy any preference. The look is definitely awesome with this manga.

This is a Juné release with the dust jacket, which hugs the book quite well. The pages are a beautiful white but are flexible which makes for nice reading. You won't develop any wrist injuries while reading this manga. The picture on the cover has nothing to do with the story included but it's that madcap feel that makes this an enjoyable read. Sensei mentions in her Afterword that she intends to continue the Nakagami story some more and Juné has plans to release it any time now, it's Clan of the Nakagamis: The Devil Cometh.

I recommend this title to those who like comedic yaoi stories, those who might be new to the genre, and manga fans in general. For a great male perspective on Clan of the Nakagamis check out Tom Good's review at J LHLS.

***Review Copy purchased through Yaoi Club***

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