A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{September 2, 2012}   Comics and manga of the week (56)

It’s the birthday edition of Comics and manga of the week!! Only manga this week. I’m making some progress on my to read pile.

Affair by Shuiko Kano

  • Three short BL stories: two high school lovers meeting again, two yakuza half-brothers, and a supremely lucky man who falls for his co-worker. Kano draws some hot men in really intense relationships. I should probably warn you that the second story is a bit intense: full of incest and near-rape. It won’t be everyone’s boat.

Bond(z) by Toko Kawai

  • Four more hot BL stories. The title stories is about two friends with girlfriends exploring their sexuality together one hot summer. We also have two stories about boys who repress their feelings because they were taught as children that men don’t love other men. Also a rather strange one about the spirit of a rose bush falling in love with a human boy. A solid collection all in all.

The Dawn of Love by Kazuho Hirokawa

  • Masahiro falls for his gorgeous fellow student Takane. Takane agrees to become sex friends but admits to having other lovers. Masahiro is thrilled at first but soon he wants Takane all for himself. I have no strong feelings about this manga one way or another; I’ll soon have forgotten it. But if I was Takane I’d be pissed that all the men in my life were trying to manipulate me and telling me how I should feel.

A Devil and her Love Song, volume 4 by Miyoshi Tomori

  • I continue to love this series about blunt, awkward Maria and her attempts to make friends. In this volume, her teacher and a manipulative student turn the class against her to make themselves look better but she manages to get most of them back on her side through sheer stubborness. Very touching. Also, there’s some romance in the air!

GTO, volume 13 to 16 (French) but Toru Fujisawa

  • Onizuka has won over most of his troubled, distrustful students but he is faced with his greatest challenge yet. The principal’s grandson Mayu has returned to class in order to take down Onizuka once and for all. Onizuka is as immature as ever and some of the gags are tasteless but his ability to help his students remain fun and touching.

Hotaru, volume 11 (French) by Satoru Hiura

  • After spending a drunken night together, Hotaru and Kaname decide to try dating. Can men and women be friends? (My answer: of course, they’re human beings.) Can such friends falls in love? There also seems to be a new woman in Seeichi’s life who threatens Hotaru’s place in his home.

Itsuwaribito, volume 6 by Yuuki Iinuma

  • Utsuho and his friends manage to save a girl from evil puppets and leave on a quest for 9 treasures. This series remains fun and full of adventure. There are fewer of the interesting, complex lies that Utsuho is known for.

I’ve Seen It All, volume 1 by Shoko Takaku

  • Saikawa is a doctor at a men’s clinic and he sees unhealthy penises every day. He’s starting to despair of seeing a beautiful, healthy one until he meets Asano. But in his quest to see this perfect penis he falls in love. This manga is entertaining for sheer ridiculousness. I kept yelling out “that’s very unlikely!” and “doctors don’t/shouldn’t do that!” but putting the silliness aside, their relationship is sweet.

Je ne suis pas un ange, volume 3 & 4 (French) by Ai Yazawa

  • The continuing story of Midori and her friends in the student council. People are getting dumped and fall in love left and right. It sounds like a soap opera but the relationships are handled with such complexity and sensitivity that they feel like real people. I cried, in public. And even if he doesn’t get as much love as he deserves in this series, I have a special place in my heart for Ken. (Not available in English, known as Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai in Japanese.)

The Man I Picked Up by CJ Michalski

  • Well the title says it all. This is a pretty good title as BL goes. Good art, interesting relationships and a couple of hot scenes but nothing out of the ordinary… or so I thought! It went above in beyond with the last 3 interelated stories about a very manly cheer squad. I was in stitches. “This is pure MAN LOVE.” *laughs*

Sawako, volume 13 (French) by Karuho Shiina

  • Sawako finally meets Kazehaya’s family and the whole class leaves on its school trip to Okinawa. There are lot of new romances beginning to bud. This remains a beautiful, touching series, well worth a read. (Published as Kimi ni Todoke in English.)

Under Grand Hotel, volume 2 by Mika Sadahiro

  • Under Ground Hotel is a a maximum security prison but the inmates that have learned to enjoy their incarceration call it Under Grand Hotel. Soon after arriving, Sen allied himself with the gang leader in the jail, a violent murderer known as Swordfish. He never expected to fall in love. But Sen isn’t really a murderer: he took the fall for the woman he loved. And now he might have a chance to get out. Will he give it up to be with Sword? I won’t mince words: this manga is explicit, violent and triggery (though at least rape isn’t portrayed as something sexy as in some BL). And yet the art is beautiful and the writing is remarkably good. A very unusual, and definitely not tender, love story.

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