Laugh Under the Sun
Author/Artist: Yugi Yamada
Rating: M – 18 and above
Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Comedy, Romance, Sports
Sohei Shirai wanted to be a boxer, or at least he made up his mind after reading the manga Ashita no Joe. But these days he just moves from girlfriend to girlfriend. You see Sohei is definitely a good-looking guy. Now you're probably wondering why he's now a kept man as opposed to being a world famous boxer like he wanted. There was an unfortunate accident early on in his career that scared him and now he can't bear the idea of being a boxer. The sad thing is, is that everyone around him are successful. His two closest friends Naoki Suzuki (recognize that name?) and Osamu Chikazawa have even moved on up. But Naoki and Chika are there for Sohei regardless of the past.
Chika has been crushing on Sohei for years but because Sohei is straight Chika just does what he can to remain friends. Of course Sohei knows that his two best friends are gay and it doesn't bother him (too much). Eventually Chika convinces Sohei to go back to boxing. Now Sohei has to get back into boxing shape. He's 25 and hasn't trained for years and all of the young punks at the gym treat him like a geezer. Plus Chika's advances seem to be increasing, putting even more pressure on Sohei.
I always include this title in the list of Naoki Suzuki stories. Even though this story revolves around Chika and Sohei, Naoki does play an important part in this story. Of course he's always a bright spot in any story and if Yamada-sensei were to write more with him in the plot you'll always have my attention. But since this is about Sohei and Chika I guess I'll have to stick with them. I really liked this story. Since I've been converted to Yugi Yamada-sensei I can't seem to get enough of her works. This is of course typical Yamada-sensei. Men who actually act like men (with the exception of Naoki but that's to be expected), men who actually look like men, and she captures the essence of maleness in general. The story moved along nicely and was very well paced. My only major complaint is the stiffness of the actual book. Other than that I have no qualms. You don't need to be familiar with Naoki's story to be able to enjoy this manga but there's no harm in reading them, you'll just find out how wonderful Naoki really is!
I am now a dyed in the wool Yamada-sensei fan and I look forward to every release that comes out from her. She has a great sense of humor and her sketchy art style. The perfect 1-2 punch (OK, I think I need to avoid lame puns like that one!) I recommend this title because you get Yamada-sensei's humor and Naoki Suzuki.
***Review Copy purchased at Borders***