I've wanted to spend time yammering on about some of my favorite mangaka for quite some time but I could never decide with whom to start so I never got around to it. But since word on the net is that Yugi Yamada just isn't as popular here in the States I just have to put in my two cents about sensei's work.
I'm the first to admit that I wasn't one bit interested in Yamada-sensei's work. Every time I saw one of her covers I thought that the cover art was ugly and being new to the whole yaoi scene I truly judged every book by the cover (I've learned now that you can't do that because some of my favorite titles are those very books I thought were ugly). I was somewhat upset because I was running out of Juné titles to read and when I started reviewing for J LHLS I was usually battling with other reviewers for the Juné and 801 Media titles. I had requested a couple 801 titles but for me to get them sooner I had to request a couple more books for my editor to spend the money on postage. The only titles that were available were vols. 1 and 2 of Don't Blame Me. Since I really wanted my 801 books I decided that what the heck I'm not paying for the books I can just read them, slam them and get on with the titles I really wanted. What I didn't expect when I opened up my package of books was getting hooked on Yamada-sensei's work.
When it comes to yaoi titles that I like to read I love humor, I love my characters to behave like men (seeing how that’s what they are), and I like rich, interesting characters with art that matches the story. I especially like unique art styles that compliment the storytelling. That's what I found with Yamada-sensei. I picked up the first volume of Don't Blame Me and within just a few pages I was sucked in immediately. The characters were interesting, unique, and I found myself laughing. I couldn't put the darn thing down. The next thing I knew I had powered through the first volume and was impatiently ripping off the shrink-wrap dying to continue. Now, you see manga doesn't take too long to read but I simply had to read these back to back and immediately because I had to find out how the story ended. Once I finished it I was converted. The story moved quickly with wit, humor, and depth that is honestly rare to find in yaoi. Even the art grew on me and now she is one of my favorites. After I read Don't Blame Me I honestly ran to my nearest bookstore that sold yaoi to purchase the rest of the titles that were released in English. I even went so far to check out many of her titles that had been scanlated and found several more of her titles that I've really enjoyed and would love to see them brought to our shores.
The title that really spurred me on to write this little (yet crappy) editorial is the release of Close the Last Door vol. 2. Juné licensed several of Yamada-sensei's titles but seem to have a difficult time selling her books. Close the Last Door was one of the titles that they licensed before the Biblos bankruptcy. You see Biblos was one of Japan's largest boys love publishers but due to poor management the company went bankrupt. Libre was then created and picked up the Biblos licenses and all the English publishers had to go back to renegotiate the terms for releasing the titles. Close the Last Door was a fun, crazy story about a guy who was in love with his kohai but when said kohai got married he was so upset he ended up drunk and slept with the kohai's wife's coworker. This story was released several years ago and was caught up in the Biblos mess. But it seems that Juné worked through all those issues and are back on track with publishing these titles. But it seems that because Yamada-sensei just doesn't seem to sell all that well we’re going to have to wait until the end of 2010 to get that book. I realize that they have to make money and I don't blame Juné. I blame all those people who haven't given Yugi Yamada-sensei their time. I'm sure that there are people out there who feel like I did (you know thought her art was ugly and so on) but once you crack open one of her stories I know you'll be hooked. We need to show this popular mangaka (in Japan) that we American readers love her work as well. Then maybe we'll get some more of her work (including one of my favorite titles Taka ga Koi Daro [which this was actually written by Saki Aida author of S]).
If you are interested in seeing my reviews of some of her titles feel free to click on the links:
Don’t Blame Me vol. 1
Don’t Blame Me vol. 2
Laugh Under the Sun.
Yugi Yamada-sensei is a hidden gem in a mountain of mediocre yaoi and deserves to be read. I would love to hear your opinions on Yamada-sensei and her greatness (or lack thereof if that's how you feel) in the comments section!