Monday, February 23, 2009

Glass Sky by Yugi Yamada review

Glass Sky

Author/Artist: Yugi Yamada

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M – ages 18 and above

Genre: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Anthology

Grade: A

Yugi Yamada is a great storyteller. I always struggle with anthologies but in the case of reading hers I seem to enjoy them. In Glass Sky you get stories of all shapes and sizes but all enjoyable. I've also referred to Glass Sky in my review of Spring Fever because of the Naoki Suzuki story line found in Wildman Blues. Glass Sky contains the beginning of Naoki's story and a brief extra after Naoki comes out. This is a very touching story and I enjoyed it immensely! Now on with the synopses!

But I'm Young – Aoki and Hiroyuki are coworkers and sex partners. But throw in a girlfriend for Hiroyuki that also works at the same convenience store (and the fact that they Hiroyuki is still a high school student) and madcap adventures ensue.

Could It Be Love/Too Embarrassed to Say – Kojima confessed to Sakamoto and it seems that the feeling is mutual, but when it comes time to seal the deal Sakamoto feels the pressure and becomes impotent. It seems that even the hottest girls can't even help Sakamoto out and Naoki Suzuki (one of my favorite Yugi Yamada-sensei characters) and his golden touch can't get Sakamoto Jr. to stand.

That's All From Me/That's Enough For Today – Two lovers from high school reunite at a Kasa-Go performance. Incorporating the performance of Kasa-Go we see what happened between these two men in both high school and beyond.

Our Symphony – At a prestigious music school a student fantasizes about a gorgeous young man he meets. He got lost looking for the auditorium, but things don't always turn out the way you wish.

The Teacher I Love – Tetsu and Tomoyuki have been dating since high school. Now 7 years later Tomoyuki is a teacher and that world remains a mystery. Tetsu worries about his adorable uke dealing with horny teenage boys and the existence of this world that Tetsu isn't a part of drives him crazy.

Guys, Girls – Guy in love with other guy but has a hard time accepting it seeing how he's only been attracted to girls.

A Little Glass Sky – We've reached the title story and the pinnacle of Glass Sky. Naoki Suzuki is gay, but he hasn't officially come out yet. He's been bullied for years and the bullying has continued even into high school. Many of the other boys beat him up, hide his books and indoor shoes, etc. Sohei Shirai stands up for him but since he's a hothead the two only become friends (sort of). But Naoki feels a pair of eyes on him all the time. That happens to be Yada. Yada is one of the bullies but he seems drawn to Naoki. Yada takes Naoki by force and once they've done the deed Yada then beats Naoki up. Naoki sees that Yada is infatuated with him but when he confronts Yada about it, Yada gets all violent and takes it out on Naoki.

Extras – This is a continuation of A Little Glass Sky but takes place much later. Naoki has come out and looks fabulous. He's now comfortable in his own skin and accepts himself. He shows up at a high school reunion where former bullies apologize and we find out what happened with Yada. Naoki gets his happily ever after.

I often get tired of anthologies because you don't get full character development and they always feel rushed to get to the sex. In the case of Glass Sky (and other Yamada-sensei anthologies) the characters feel much more developed and interesting. The art of course is classic Yamada-sensei. It has a somewhat sketchy feel to it but it is so charming you get drawn into the stories. The art fits the story so well you can't help enjoying this manga. Each story hooks you immediately and won't let you go. I found the way that the story That's All From Me was very interesting. The way that Yamada-sensei weaves the current events with the past all while incorporating the recitation of Kasa-Go makes a fascinating way of presenting culture with a lovely story. The Teacher I Love was a story I enjoyed immensely. I giggled the whole way through and found Tetsu to be just simply adorable. The title story, though, is what makes this a great book. A Little Glass Sky is a very angst filled story and can be rather disturbing. But it shows you an actual gay character and the situations of gay bashing and intolerance that you generally don't see in yaoi. You can't help but feel for Naoki because of all of the bullying that he had to deal with. Luckily he gets his "happily ever after" but to see all of that you have to read the stories that he's featured in (I'll provide a chronological list momentarily).

The only complaint I have about this book is in the production value. Don't get me wrong, Juné won't let you down. The translation and flow work well and I didn't catch any typos. My issue is with the dust jacket and the paper the book was printed on. The dust jacket on my particular book was a little too large so the jacket shifts around easily. The paper is brilliantly white and makes the pages look stunning but it is so heavy and stiff my hands and wrists literally hurt after I read it. Reading shouldn't be an activity that causes you to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If we could have a nice tight dust jacket and the brilliant white paper that is flexible and light that would make this an exceptional book.

Pick up Glass Sky simply for the Naoki Suzuki story. This is a character that is a true yaoi gem, just like Glass Sky is a classic yaoi anthology.

OK, I promised a chronological chart for Naoki's story:

A Little Glass Sky – The story that introduces us to Naoki and his plight (published in Glass Sky by Juné).

Wildman Blues – Naoki is reunited with a childhood friend (published in Spring Fever by Deux Press).

Extras – Naoki confronts his high school class and proves that he's happy and content with life (published in Glass Sky by Juné).

Laugh Under the Sun – Even though this story focuses on two friends of Naoki's, he plays a major role (published in Laugh Under the Sun by Juné).

***Review Copy purchased at Borders***

No comments: