Monday, August 9, 2010

Finder vol. 1: Target in the Viewfinder by Ayano Yamane review

Finder vol. 1: Target in the Viewfinder
Author/Artist: Ayano Yamane

Publisher: Juné

Rating: M – 18 and up

Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Action, Organized Crime

Grade: B

*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at Check it out! ***

Akihito Takaba is a freelance photographer who got a hot tip and a huge scoop involving politicians and the criminal underworld but unfortunately the story was quashed. The crime boss Ryuichi Asami won’t have Takaba butting into his business so to intimidate Takaba he kidnaps and rapes him. But that won’t keep Takaba down. He’s determined to get the story one way or another. But he’ll need to watch out now that he’s entangled in Asami’s world. Not only is Asami after Takaba (he’s attracted to him) but it seems that Takaba’s caught the eye of the Chinese Mafia and their boss Fei Long. Man, poor kid! How will he handle these rough (but gorgeous) men? Also included are a few one shots: Love Lesson involves high school students, Plants in Love feature two classmates who find out their dads seem to be having an affair, and Risky Society is about a secret crime fighting group where the members have superpowers. Sorry for the poor synopsis but I really don’t want to give away the story.

This has to be one of the biggest, and most anticipated, releases of the year. Since the demise of BeBeautiful fans have been clamoring for any yaoi publisher to license this series. Earlier this year Digital Manga, Inc. announced that they had acquired this license just on the heels of the announcement that Ayano Yamane was going to be this year’s guest of honor at YaoiCon. Digital Manga announced that the title would be released through their Juné line. Initially there was excitement to be had but then worries about the fact that Juné was releasing it and not 801 Media (Digital Manga’s more explicit boys love line). Since Juné is Digital Manga’s mainstream BL line it’s a known fact that in the past they’ve been known to make some content edits to make it possible to sell their titles in more places i.e. brick and mortar stores like Borders. To try and quell the fear Deb Aoki at spoke with the folks over at DMP regarding this title (click here for that article.) Now just to let all of you know I don’t own the original Japanese tankobon (I will eventually) or the BeBeautiful series that was released several years ago (by the time I started reading yaoi it was out of print). But thanks to a friend of mine she did have a copy of the first two volumes and lent them to me so I could compare the two against each other.

Now I can inform all you rabid fangirls out there that you have nothing to worry about. This is a beautiful release and you will be pleased. In my opinion it is a far more superior than the BeBeautiful version. They’ve included a full color cover page. The translation read smoothly and they’ve kept the honoriffics (-san, -sama, etc.). For someone who is new to the series and only read the BeBeautiful version right before the Juné volume the Juné translation was clear and made it easier for me to understand what was going on. In the volume Finder is only the first third of the book and the rest are brief one shots. In the BeBeautiful version the one shots Love Lesson and Plants in Love have aged up their characters and either state that they are university students or imply they are college age. But looking at the artwork they look like they are high school students (uniforms and the like). In the Juné edition it is vague. There is no statement of their ages but you know they’re high school students. With the new translation I was able to enjoy Risky Society a lot more and it made much more sense. And finally no artwork has been altered in any way, at least comparing it to BeBeautiful's version. All in all I have to say that the Juné’s is miles ahead in quality over the BeBeautiful volume. I’m sure that there are people who will prefer the other volume but for me Juné wins.

Ayano Yamane-sensei is a fan favorite and I can see why. Her art is simply stunning and her men ooze sexiness from every pore. The sex is hot, explicit and leaves very little to the imagination. Yamane-sensei is also known to be very protective of her work. She insists on the highest quality and won’t settle for less. Because of this fact I was one of the few fans (of sensei’s, not of Finder seeing how I haven’t read it until now) that knew that Finder would get the best treatment and there wouldn’t be anything to be worried about.

All of the characters are impossibly beautiful, extremely ruthless, and everything you would expect in the criminal underworld. You can’t help but feel sorry for Takaba getting roped into all of this. The Finder story starts out with non-con and some pretty kinky stuff so if that isn’t your thing you may want to stay away but this series is a piece of yaoi history created by one of the genre’s most gifted artists. Do you want to be left behind?

***Review Copy provided by Juné***
***Reposted with permission from The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society***