No Touching At All (Yaoi)

Author: Kou Yoneda

June; ISBN: 978-1-56970-1850

No Touching At All

No Touching at All is a story about a shy man named Shima who just started a new job. He meets his boss, Togawa,  in an elevator, and wasn’t impressed with him all all since he reeked of alcohol and cigarettes. But soon, his unruly boss invaded his every thought. Shima is torn because of past failures in love and doesn’t know how to treat Togawa as a new potential love.

The reason why Shima gets a new job is because he had relationship with a “straight” co-worker at his old job. When their relationship became known, Shima’s Ex quickly made it seem like Shima was the one who seduced him into a relationship. I generally felt bad for Shima in this situation because the person he thought he loved, quickly denied the existence of their love. Shima then has no choice but to give his love, and his job, so that his ex could move on with his life.

This whole situation caused Shima to act towards Togawa indifferently, since, he didn’t want to have another relationship with a co-worker. A lot of missed signals occurs, and at first Shima’s and Togawa’s after work relationship seem to go down the path of doom, but eventually they both realize that they truly love each other.

Shima, honestly, annoyed me at first. He just really didn’t know what he wanted with Togawa. He thought that Togawa was just playing around with him, and would leave him when he was bored. That was why he was normally indifferent to Togawa’s advances towards him. When he finally realize that he needed Togawa beside him, was when Togawa got a promotion and moved away from him.

Togawa on the other hand, in reality, if he was real, he probably be the kind of man I tend to avoid. Nobody wants to be near someone who reeks of alcohol and cigarette smoke all the time. So I could definitely see Shima’s first impression of disgust towards him. I would like him as a boss though, he seems laid back. lol

On a side note, I felt sorry Onoda, who had a crush on Shima. We all knew his crush will never be realized.

No Touching at all, was really different from all the other Yaoi I’ve read in the past. To me, it was simply more grown up. The reason I think so is because it involves an older cast of characters, and also instead of involving sex to advance their relationship, It seems like this story moves more on the character’s developments and emotions.

Grade: B

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Mr. Flower Bride (YAOI)

MRFLOBRIDE1What’s on the back: The powerful Souda family is big on tradition…and to Shinji Souda’s dismay, the tradition they’re keenest on involves him marrying a boy! And not just any boy, but his classmate Aoi Uno, who doesn’t seem to be at all fazed by the news of their engagement. With their attitudes at odds, are Shinji and Aoi headed for a lifetime of unhappily ever after?

Review: Wow, got to say this was a weird one. Not in a bad way, more of a “How the hell is this possible?” kind of way. This volume of Mr. Flower Bride, is actually quite a good read, besides from the fact that the bride looks more like a girl, than he does a guy.

Shinji just learned that his sister-in-law is about to give birth to a boy. This is bad news for Shinji because he has to marry a man! Why you may ask? To keep a family tradition of protecting their future heir. Shinji’s dad promised to find him the most beautiful man-bride in the clan. But this doesn’t make Shinji feel any better. So when his friend Aoi surprised him as his bride, Shinji was shocked. He didn’t want to marry Aoi because at times he thought that Aoi was beautiful. Aoi was not fazed about the news of the engagement, because he was already in love with Shinji, and was trying his hardest to be picked as Shinji’s bride.

Shinji and Aoi ends up getting married. They were moved to the Hanare, where traditionally newlyweds go to give birth to babies. But in this case, it’s highly impossible for those two to conceive. lol. As time goes by, Shinji finds himself falling in love with Aoi. A lot of obstacles such as his little sister and Aoi’s childhood friend gets in their way.

Mr. Flower Bride, also has a few short stories after the main one. My favourite one is called “Even if it Costs Me My Life,” which is about a bodyguard who is trying to protect his master from people who are after his father’s company.

In “If I Can See You Anytime,” I was a bit confused on whether this was a Yaoi story, or was it straight. The author never mentions whether Natsuiro was a guy or a girl. I’m just going to assume he’s a guy since this is a Yaoi anthology. lol.

Lily Hoshino, is famous for her art. I’ve got to admit that it’s very pleasing to the eyes. Another thing that she is famous for is also for her really girly ukes. If it wasn’t mention in the story that Aoi was a man, I swear I would have confused him for a chestless girl. He’s just that girly… The only thing I’ve got to complain about is the fact that sometimes the art confuses me on what’s happening. Like how I mention before about not realizing if the person is a girl or a guy. Anyhow, besides that, the lines were drawn clearly, and the character designs were nice to look at.

Final Thoughts: Despite the weirdness of the plot, I’ve enjoyed reading this story a lot! I’ve Mr. Flower Groom in my TBR pile, so I’m hoping for some more development in the plot. It’s one of those reads that are nice to read when you are in a mood for a Yaoi. It has plot, the main characters are pleasing to the eyes, and the sex scenes are kept to a minimal. I’m definitely more interested in the rest of Lily Hoshino’s manga that are currently liscensed. On a side note, I like it how Yen Press is really expanding it’s genres by publishing some Yaoi!

Overall Grade: B

Junjo Romantica vol. 1

Junjo Romantica Vol. 1What’s on the back: Misaki is struggling to pass his college entrance exams, and has taken up a tutor: the cool and sexy Akihiko Usami, who also happens to be a famous boys’ love novelist. At first, Misaki is disgusted by Akihiko, but slowly, Misaki realizes he may be develping feelings for the older man. And so begins the bumpy relationship of his odd couple, filled with comedy and pure romance.

Review: I decided to throw another Yaoi review at you guys. Junjo Romantica is one of the most popular in terms of Yaoi. The recent release of volume 10 even landed on the New York Times Graphic Novel Top 10 list. I was late  getting into Junjo Romantica, but I can see why it’s so popular.

In Author’s Pet (my last review), The main story was about an author and a student. Junjo Romantica, has that too, but a lot more steamier. Misaki is barely prepared to pass his college entrance exams, so his older brother recruits his friend to help tutor Misaki. Akihiko is an author of explicit boys love novels, accepted Misaki brother’s offer and became his tutor. Misaki soon discovered Akihiko’s profession and felt uncomfortable. But as time passes on, even though Akihiko is always up to mischief, Misaki finds himself falling in love with him.

Junjo Romantica consists of two story arcs within one volume. The second of arc is called Junjo Egoist. The great thing about this manga is that even though there are two separate stories in this volume, they somehow intertwine. Hiro was heartbroken by his first love. He was crying at the park when he met up with Nowaki, who tried to make him feel better. He later asks Hiro to help tutor him, but in truth, he just wanted to spend time with him. They both ended up with romantic feelings for each other. At first Hiro was confused of his feelings for Nowaki, because his first love still lingers. It seems like his first love is a hurdle he has to overcome.

The majority of BL manga has no plot, just a lot of sex scenes. How women write these stuff…I have no idea. But Junjo Romantica, actually has a story. I’m entertained throughout the pages of this volume. Honestly when I picked up this manga, I just wanted to see what the hype was. Even during a convention, if you don’t get it fast enough, they sell out pretty quickly. But after reading this volume, I can see why it’s so popular. The story is solid and you feel like you want to grow with the characters in the story. As of right now, my favourite character is Akihiko, whose persona I find very compelling.

The only thing that bothers me about this manga, is it’s art. At times certain panels looks too rough. The art itself is very sketchy looking and sometimes I have a hard time figuring out what’s going on because the author drew it too rough. Nevertheless, the art doesn’t really bother the story, it’s just my own pet peeves.

Final Thoughts: As of right now, Junjo romantica is climbing it’s way to the top of my favourite BL series list. I haven’t read too much of it, but I have the next 8 volumes in my TBR pile, so I’m looking foward to the character’s developments in the future. I also think that Junjo Romantica is a good starting point for people who are trying to get into the Yaoi scene.

Overall Grade: B+

Author’s Pet (Yaoi)

Author's PetWhat’s on the back: He didn’t mean to accidentally injure a man at the train station, but now he’s stuck playing slave to the cranky (and gorgeou) author Tsubaki while his broken body mends…and it doesn’t look like the sickbed will stay cold for long, the worst part? Yuuta has to type out Tsubaki’s latest novel, word-for-steamy-word, and he’s fighting to keep his new-found, illicit feelings to himself! Will real life and fantasy finally merge, or will master and servant keep searching for their storybook ending?

Review: For months, I’ve been staring at this manga. When I decided to get it the first time, I missed my chance, since all of the copies at the local comic store was sold out. A couple of months later though, I picked it up at a convention. The reason why I wanted to pick up this manga though is solely because of the cover art! The front and back of the cover page, is just too kawaii! I wasn’t interested in the story itself, for me, it was all about the cover. lol. But to my surprise, the stories weren’t half bad. They were just filled with a lot of fluff.

All of the stories in Author’s Pet is actually quite cute. The main story is about a boy who acidently hurt the arms of a famous/very good looking author and is forced to help him type his new novel. But little did he know, the author is writing a steamy love story that includes a lot of PG 18 scenes. I actually laughed out loud at his situation because while the author was saying naughty stuff out loud, the boy is trembling in embarassment.

In To Keep a Cat, A young man picks up a guy who is beaten off the street. He tends to his wounds, like he would for an animal since he’s a veterinarian.He also offers a place for him to stay. It turns out, the young man actually don’t like people, and perfers the company of cats oppose to humans. Stuff occurs, and the guy who was beaten starts to fall for the young man. But what is he to do, when the guy he loves hates people?

My favourite of all the stories though was called ” Love Battle in the Dorms.” The story itself, was very cute, but a lot of things happened that made me go “how did that happen?” There was a scene in the story where one guy pokes a hole through the wall to spy on the guy he likes. How the hell does that happen? Regardless of the ridiculous stuff that occurred, it gave me a  lot of “lol” moments.

As I mentioned before, the reason why I picked up this manga was because of the artwork on the cover. But the inside is totally different from what it is on the outside. The art is a little bit more sketchy, and somehow it reminds me of Honey and Clover, but to the extreme. It’s not ugly to look at, it’s just more rough looking.

Final Thoughts: If your looking for something on the more fluffier side, definitely pick it up. Into Drama? Don’t pick it up. Author’s Pet is definitely a relaxing read to pass time.

Overall Grade: B

Hey Sensei! (yaoi)

heysensei-cvrSummary: Straight-laced Math teacher Isa is shocked by this proposition, but quickly regains enough composure to give the offending studnet Homura, a good whipping. Undaunted, the brazen Homura continues to shower sexual advances upon the hapless Isa every chance he gets. Sensible and ration as the discipline he teaches, Isa calmly dismisses and rebuffs the student’s passionate display. But when Isa glimpses sincerity in Homura’s eyes and realizes that his pupil’s confession of love is true, his cool demeanor begins to falter and he is  inevitably drawn to a young man ten years his junior. Teacher and student, classroom and bedroom, schooling and seduction…a tale as bitter-swee as the forbidden fruit, partake of it in Hey, Sensei.

Review: Hey, Sensei, was one of those manga I picked up because of the cover. Two beautiful men, how can I say no to it? The story itself is a little taboo, but is oftened used as a plot in many manga. I don’t know if I agree with a Teacher/Student relationship, but if it’s love, I can’t deny it from happening. The weird thing about this relationship is that, Isa, who is Homura’s Math teacher, use to date his older sister. It was after dating her, that he realized that he wasn’t into women. When he was still dating the sister, He would spend a lot of time at her house, which is where he met Homura as a young boy. It was later when Homura was a high school student, that he met Isa again, but by then, he was a teacher.

Throughout the story, Isa was concerned that Homura only thought of him as a passing fling. But as the story progresses, Isa learns to break through the age barrier, and realize that Homura was very truthful about his love for him.

I actually enjoyed the second story in this volume very much. Unbreakable bones is about two friends who knew each other when they were younger. One grew up to be a cop, the other was a deliquent/highschool dropout who is working at a noodle shop. Apparently, Manabu (cop) has always admired, and viewed Yuji as a big brother. But because Yuji felt that they both grew up differently, He told Manabu to stop living in the past and move on with his life. He later on regretted telling Manabu that, and explained to him that when he was younger he was sent to a deliquent hall. Manabu didn’t care because he believes that everyone changes when they grow up. He then explained  to Yuji, that he grew up to be gay, and he never stopped loving him.

Conclusion: I actually liked this manga very much. Most of the time, I’m turned off by Yaoi that is only sex based. In Hey, Sensei, there was more of a story then there was senseless sex. I especially enjoyed the second story and found it to be quite sweet. If you’re looking for something that is a good read, and you don’t mind the controversy of a student/teacher relationship, then by all means picked up this book.

Overall Grade: B

Just Around the Corner (Yaoi)

justaroundthecorner

Summary: Kiriya, reeling over a break-up, wonders if life is worth living, Yuuya wallows in his own self-pity after receiving news that his career as a pianist is over. In the middle of a busy intersection, Yuuya witnesses a despondent stranger walk into oncoming traffic, and pulls Kiriya to safety. Is this life-saving meeting fate or mere coincidence? As Kiriya and Yuuya bond through their shared unhappiness, a physical relation develops. Can the two heal each other’s wounds? Or will desire grown from raw emotion only end up hurting them more?

Review: The reason why I decided to buy this manga was because of the fact that I saw the word pianist in the summary. I’m not going to lie, any manga or books that I see that has to do with piano or music, I tend to pick up. The reason for this is because I also play the piano. But boy was I duped! There were barely any piano scenes at all in this manga! Nevertheless, It was definitely a good read.

One night, as Yuuya was walking on a sidewalk, his shoulder accidentally brushes Kiriya, who was crying because of his recent break up. As Kiriya was about to walk into oncoming traffic, Yuuya pulls him to safety. Afterwards they spent a hot “night” together. After this event, every weekend Yuuya and Kiriya would spend time together doing what they do….best. Lol. One day Kiriya confesses that his friend hooked him up with a temporary job and because of that he will be seeing less of Yuuya.

The next morning, Yuuya wakes up and goes to high school to realize that Kiriya’s new temporary job was his math teacher! Kiriya being furious at the fact that Yuuya lied to him about his age, started to ignore him. He also believe that their huge age difference wouldn’t work for their relationship. But after constantly begging to get back together, Yuuya and Kiriya then embark on a second chance. But their happiness was short lived because, later on a teacher catches them in an intimate hug, and fires Kiriya. Two months after being locked in a bird’s cage, Yuuya finally meets Kiriya again. Kiriya then told him that the only way that they can get back together, is that Yuuya has to become a man. One year later, Yuuya got into a University where Kiriya is teaching at. Yuuya, who fulfilled Kiriya’s condition, finally got back together with Kiriya and lived happily ever after.

 

Conclusion: At first, I wasn’t expecting a teacher + student relationship, I mean they never even mention anything in the summary! So I was surprised by that bit. The sex was tasteful, and no human organs could be seen (which I was relieved). All in all, this was an excellent read!

Overall Grade: B+

Sea View (yaoi)

seaview21Summary: Kei’s Grandfather is a well-known architect, and the young boy cherishes every letter from his beloved relative….until the notes suddenly stop. Now, Kei must visit his grandfather’s distant island home and solve the mystery for himself! Upon arriving, he meets the shy and aloof Michiru, a serious student at the school where Kei’s grandfather once taught. Michiru may have the answers to Kei’s burning questions…but will he cooperate? Can these two young men follow the clues and find their vanished hero?

Review: In atempt to tackle the yaoi genre one book at a time, Sea View was my first stop and I have to admit, I enjoyed reading it.  Sea View consists of two stories that focuses not on the romance of two men, but rather their relationship with each other.

Sea View, the title story, was probably my favourite of the two. Kei who missed his grandfather, and wondered what happened when his grandfather stopped sending notes, went to school on the island where his grandfather lived in order to find him. He then meets Michiru, a reclusive brilliant architect student who seems to know more about Kei’s grandfather dissappearance then he lets on. The story continues with Kei finding out the truth about his grandfather’s disappearance and the role that Michiru played in it.

Thou of the Blossoms, the second story, was a bit more slow than the first, but nevertheless, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. The basis permises of the story is about a photographer who wished to take pictures of a famous garden, and the person who owns the garden. 

Conclusion:  This is a great manga for those who are trying to enter the Yaoi scene. With not much romance or sex scenes between two men, it focuses more on the relationship between each other. I will definitely be on the look out for more Yaoi mangas like these.

Overall Grade: B+