Author/Artist: Isaku Natsume
Rating: YA – 16 and above
Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance, Sports
Akimoto decided to attend Miya High for one reason and one reason only, Saitou. Akimoto has been practicing Judo since childhood. He was about ready to quit when he witnessed a match between Saitou and a much larger opponent and Saito gracefully took him down. This was a revelation to Akimoto; he must go to Miya High and compete against Saitou at least once. Now that Akimoto is a freshman at Miya High he's in for the shock of his life. Saitou is not at all like Akimoto imagined. He's rude, demanding, and cocky, not to mention he's no longer practicing and competing. Now that his imagined Saitou image is shattered what will Akimoto do?
Cheeky is the other story contained in Dash!. Ohyama is a college student and on the basketball team. One day out of the blue his cousin Yoshirou calls and wants to crash at his place. Instead of his cute little cousin appearing in front him it's a snarky, sassy, gorgeous high schooler. It seems that Yoshirou is having trouble at home and wants to hide out at Taka's place (Taka is Ohyama). Yoshirou has definitely changed. He goes on paid dates, has girlfriends, boyfriends, etc., and uses Taka's apartment as a love hotel. Now Yoshirou is turning his attention and affection to Taka and he just doen't know what to do.
Dash! doesn't seem to be your typical yaoi tale, which is great. You have to have a change once in a while to stave off boredom. Instead of dealing with schoolboys, salarymen, and all the typical story lines that you come across, this time we deal with jocks. This is an interesting take on yaoi, hot athletic boys surrounded by other hot athletic boys. But instead of them being all over each other there is an actual story there. Akimoto actually struggles with his feelings of attraction to Saitou. In many yaoi tales they decide they are in love with someone of the same sex and just think "OK, I love you so who cares it you are another guy." When Saitou finds out how Akimoto feels he doesn't get freaked out and continues to treat Akimoto the same as always. The characters develop well-rounded personalities and are very interesting. I preferred Dash to Cheeky but I did enjoy them both. I think my hesitancy for Cheeky stems from my being slightly uncomfortable with cousins falling for one another. It doesn't bother me as much as it used to, probably because I've gotten so used to this plot point in yaoi.
One reason why I found Dash! to be endearing it the art style. It has a very shonen feel to it even though it’s a yaoi title. The lines are solid and there isn't a huge reliance on screen tone. The background isn't as detailed but that helps the focus stay on the action at hand. The action panels are done very well and you feel like you are included in the action. The panels are also laid out well and you are able to follow the story very well, there's no getting lost with this tale. I only have two minor complaints, and they are kind of lame. First of all the dust jacket isn't as tight fitting as others and where the folds are placed the writing that should be over the spine are a little off center. My other complaint is the stiffness of the book. The paper used is very high quality and bright white which does have a positive by causing the art to pop of the page beautifully but makes it terribly stiff and hard to keep open. At least my complaints had to deal with the physical book and not the story!
With an Older Teen rating Dash! is a great title to pick up if you are a yaoi beginner. You are introduced to some interesting stories and great art. It is definitely a fun title to read. There's humor but enough drama dashed throughout to keep you interested. You are introduced to yaoi plot points but it isn't so in-your-face to make you uncomfortable. It definitely belongs on any gotta read yaoi list!
***Review Copy purchased through Yaoi Club***