Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spell by Hyouta Fujiyama review


Author/Artist: Hyouta Fujiyama

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M – for ages 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance

Grade: A+

Takamasa Natori grew up in a small town near the mountains. His life didn't really start until he started college in Tokyo. He's constantly being invited to mixers but soon finds himself bored. Not only that, he gets chewed out by childhood acquaintance Yasuha. But this time around he's unable to get out of it. While at this mixer he meets Junpei Kisugi, one of Takeda's friends from high school (Takeda is the dude organizing the mixer). Kisugi and Natori hit it off immediately and start spending a lot of time together. Natori thinks that Kisugi is one groovy dude (did I just type that?) but when Natori finds out that Kisugi is bi you'd think that this small town boy would freak. Surprisingly he doesn't and the two are still as inseparable as always.

The more time the two spend together the more Natori finds himself attracted to Kisugi. He knows that Kisugi is currently in a relationship but comes onto him anyway. Not only is this a crazy situation but Yasuha also has the hots for Natori. So when she witnesses a passionate kiss between these two she's more confused than ever. Can things possibly work out for all involved?

Fujiyama-sama is one of my absolute favorite mangaka. I haven't read anything of hers that I haven't enjoyed. Spell is at the top of my favorite titles list. Even though we have a typical yaoi story, it's still original and fresh and the characters are more realistic. With Kisugi he doesn't shy away from the fact that he's bi but he doesn't go around and announce it to the world. Japan is just like many other countries where opinions of homosexuality are mixed. So in Kisugi's case he doesn't mind when Takeda shares the information with Natori. Natori also deals with this information that he receives. At first he's a bit weirded out and really doesn't know how to feel about this information but because he enjoys spending time with Kisugi he quickly gets over it. Yasuha starts out as the typical yaoi female, you know whiny, obnoxious, annoying, but by the time you reach the climax of the story Yasuha plays a very important part to the story.

Not only do we have a great story but you can't lose with Fujiyama-sama's art style. It's got a kind of sketchy feel to it and her men have an everyday guy quality. Because of that it makes it irresistible. It seems that Juné has a corner on the Fujiyama-sama market which in my opinion they are the best to showcase her work. With the larger trim size it really showcases her amazing talent. I'm just waiting for them to bring the rest of her works out (with the exception of Crescent Moon Story, which has been picked up by Yen Press and from what I've seen of them as a publisher they'll also do a great job.)

This is a total aside but Digital Manga, Inc. has many ventures. They of course publish manga but they also have other business ventures. One of them are the Pop Japan tours that they conduct. Every year they have the Fujoshi Paradise tour for those who are yaoi connoisseurs. They arrange the meeting with a mangaka. The mangaka they meet with regularly is Makoto Tateno. For this reason I've been tempted to take this trip, but if they were to arrange a meeting with both Makoto Tateno and Hyouta Fujiyama I'd be on that plane so fast they wouldn't know what hit them.

OK, with that out of my system I recommend Spell for any and all yaoi readers. I feel that any of Fujiyama-sama's titles are great for beginners because even though you do get some steamy sex it is very tastefully done and is a great way to ease into more graphic yaoi manga.

***Review Copy purchased at Borders***

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