Seriously, there are almost too many books to even know where to start, so I’ll go for the jugular and talk about one of my not-so-secret favourite things: YAOI. Might as well, since there are five whole books of this sordid ilk coming to us and inquiring minds want (need) to know, especially after such a dry season.
The first title to do a happy little dance for is the long-anticipated Volume 3 of Finder, which is the wonderfully dirty tale of Akihito, a freelance photographer who happens to take some incriminating pictures of the wrong scoop! With evidence of some of the Yakuza’s underworld dealings on film, Akihito is kidnapped by mobster, Asami, who then takes him as his personal pet. I tend to be a real jerk about art, especially when it comes to shoujo and yaoi manga, but I can safely tell you that Finder is far from the typical, almost lazy lackluster that can be found in those genres. Also, unlike a lot of yaoi manga, Finder doesn’t pull its punches with the sexy stuff: it’s definitely not for the underaged. It’s also got a decently convoluted, dark plot to make it more than just a pornographic indulgence, so if you’ve yet to add it to your yaoi library, here’s your chance to fix that!
Another promising yaoi book this week is called Honey Coloured Pancakes. It’s a collection of short stories, which is always nice for a casual read. Though some of them are more successful than others, the title story makes the whole thing worthwhile. Ever since I read Fumi Yoshinaga’s Antique Bakery, I’ve become an absolute tool for food manga, so another yaoi story that centers around desserts is definitely what the doctor ordered. In it, famous actor, Tougo, is out on his luck and manages to sucker his way into the home and heart of Chiharu, a well-known pastry chef he holds in high esteem. There is some great emotional juxtaposition when the inevitable drama-con hits, and it almost makes you wish that manga-ka, Keiko Kinoshita, had spent more time fleshing out this lovely story instead of treating us to a rather mixed-bag of other ones. Still, it’s definitely worth looking at.
Of all the yaoi books to talk about this week, I saved the best for last: Crimson Snow, by Hori Tomoki, has been getting a little attention as of late, and for good reason. Even just the premise, while still typical of many yaoi tropes, is more unique than most BL stories, not to mention, rife with lovely artwork. What’s nice about the match-up in this story is that each man comes from a separate, but incredibly Japanese background: one is of the Yakuza underworld, while the other comes from a long, aristocratic line of tea ceremony practitioners. The story is also much more poignant and real than most, and it’s always lovely to see two opposing characters see themselves in one another. (I will not turn this into fanstuff, I will not turn this into fanstuff, I will not…) I’m a huge fan of subtlety, so this really hits my buttons. Not to mention that there’s super sexy time to jazz up the seriousness of the plot.
Make sure to check out these and the other new titles, both yaoi and otherwise, up on the manga floor of Forbidden Planet! You’ve got a lot of reading to do, minna-san!