24th Mar 2011

Crimson Snow

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I haven’t been reviewing much manga lately because there hasn’t been much that has caught my interest. Oh, Kizuna has been coming out, and I’ve been loving it, but we already have reviews for it. Same with the Finder Series. I just don’t want to force myself to read a manga, then come here and spew out a few paragraphs about how much it bored me to tears – which only makes you all bored while reading it.

Thankfully, I found this release, which helped to remind me that this genre does have a few gems.

I was having an e-mail conversation with a friend of mine a week or so ago after we had traded some US released gay comics. Comics written for gay men, by gay men. He was telling me how much he enjoyed them, and asked me if I had any other recommendations. I had to tell him that aside from some great GLoBL by writers like Tina Anderson, my only other recommendations were for translated Japanese BL.

His main complaint with the genre was the oft complained about ‘chicks-with-dicks’ phenomenon. And, I have to kind of agree with him. It’s part of what got me so burnt out on the genre. I like men. I like men together. If I want to read about a guy and a girl together, I’ll go and hit some of my extensive het smut collection.

Thankfully, this release has two fully male characters. While the characters are not afraid to show emotion, they are MEN. Now, I don’t equate tears with the girlification of men in my manga, I equate shojou flowers and simpering looks with the girlification of men in my manga.

Feh. Enough ranting. Okay, back to reviewing. There’s Yakuza gangster, Kazuma, who is rescued by a young tea ceremony master, Yukihiro. Despite the two men coming from completely different backgrounds, they find they are much more alike than they would have ever thought, and find a kind of peace with each other.

It’s gorgeously drawn, pulls at the few remaining heartstrings I have, and made me smile. What else could one ask for in a manga?

One Response to “Crimson Snow”

  1. Julie Says:

    “Now, I don’t equate tears with the girlification of men in my manga, I equate shojou flowers and simpering looks with the girlification of men in my manga.”

    Uh, what? It’s not like contact with flowers causes men’s balls to drop off; a guy surrounded by roses is still a guy. The one thing I like most about BL, which Western m/m overwhelmingly doesn’t do, is that it has a relaxed attitude to gender traits and the writers and characters aren’t paranoid that doing something that is stereotypically coded as feminine will cause them to become “OMG not really men”. I *hate* the “chicks-with-dicks” complaint: saying that a man is actually a woman because he acts feminine or looks feminine is flagrantly femiphobic and sexist.

    I agree that the art on Crimson Snow was quite gorgeous, but the stories seemed a little bland and failed to grab me. I think it was Hori’s first book, so I hope her writing will catch up to her art; when that happens she will be fantastic.