Archive for the 'Duo Brand' Category

30th Aug 2010

Isle of Forbidden Love

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Duo Brand makes me happy. Boys in traditional Japanese outfits make me happy. Time traveling cops who fall in love with boys in traditional gear make me happy. So, all around, this release made me very happy.

Aki, is a Jittemochi, or a commoner with the authority to make arrests on behalf of the local police force, living in feudal Edo. While researching a murder, he spies a familiar face. It’s the man who rescued him from drowning twelve years ago – Yet the man won’t admit to it. And, this mystery man keeps showing up at murder scenes, and can explain the mysterious burned holes (bullet holes) in the bodies that Aki keeps finding.

Kuga is a modern day detective with a secret, and a fascination with Aki that can only lead to trouble.

It’s BL done in the best style, which Duo Brand seems to have mastered. Continuing to sing this releases’s praises will just lead to me either spoiling the release for you, or me repeating myself, so we’re going to keep this one short and sweet. Buy this one. It’s too much fun to leave mouldering at the store.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Duo Brand, Isle of Forbidden Love | 1 Comment »

28th Dec 2008

Shards of Affection

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I love Duo Brand. The art is gorgeous and the stories, while not always being graphic, are always full of great emotions and interesting plot twists. It may be a generic love story that she’s telling, but she always makes it seem fresh and interesting. This is something that I greatly appreciate because after reviewing manga for this long, the banal stories just seem to blend together and make me cranky. It’s so nice to have something that sparkles and makes me excited about writing reviews.

This release opens up with the story of a priest and his assistant charged with exorcising demons. The priest has a sword that helps him in his exorcisms, but they still leave him feeling weak and drained. His assistant, and his lover, wants him to take more care and to make sure he protects himself.

Don’t worry too much about the priest; see, there’s something that they don’t know yet and this is the thread that ties all of the stories together. Inside the sword is a spirit that isn’t going to let any harm come to the priest. In fact, there’s a whole brotherhood of spirits, living in swords, fighting and loving amongst themselves in the downtime they have between doing the jobs that they were forged to do.

The rest of the stories follow in the same vein, showcasing Duo Brand’s stoic semes and gorgeously vulnerable ukes. While I’m not always fond of the stereotypes being so well defined, there’s something about her characters that makes me accept it–even look forward to it.

Now, I vaguely remember reading scanlations of this a long time ago and thinking what a cute idea it was. June has kept the sweetness that I remember from the scanlations and has improved upon it. It’s actually pretty amazing how far June has come from their first releases with their fairly painful translations. While I still think they release too many school-boy romance titles, I’m pretty pleased with them as a publisher. I’m hoping that we get more Duo Brand stuff released here and soon. We need more quality stuff like this!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Duo Brand, Shards of Affection | 1 Comment »

27th May 2008

Crimson Wind

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Finally! The sequel to White Guardian. I’m hoping that someday there will be more stories in this universe because this book just left me wanting more. It also reinforced the fact that Sei is amazingly awesome and that Touri is a complete asshole.

This release focuses on how a very young Sei is seduced by Touri. I know that Touri shows some real emotions at the end, but he tricks Sei into bed at first, and I really can’t get over that, nor can I really get over my dislike of his character that carried over from White Guardian. What can I say, I hold a grudge.

There’s also a very sweet little side story about a magistrate who falls for a lost outlander. Not only is he an outlander, but the countries are in the midst of a bitter war and our poor magistrate must choose between his feelings and his honor and duty to his country.

Duo Brand have a deft touch with the angst, always peppering it with doses of humor, so that you can’t take it too seriously. You can just hang on and go for the ride, loving and hating the characters as you go.

The art is stellar and the presentation is top notch. Drama Queen always has the best production values. Every time I get one of their releases I’m always pleased with the presentation and the translation. I’m really looking forward to some of the things that they said were going to be released in the coming year. I’m almost scared to think about what one of the other companies would do with these titles.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Crimson Wind, Duo Brand | Comments Off on Crimson Wind

22nd May 2008

White Guardian

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Gorgeous art, knights, princes and royal intrigue. Color me a happy girl. There is so damn much to love in this book that it’s hard to find a place to get started. We’ve got the Crown Prince Linth. He’s snuck away on a naval vessel hoping to find someone who will be able to help him restore his kingdom. The kingdom of Landa has been completely mismanaged by his father, the King, you see. Linth wants to end the corruption and restore Landa’s glory.

When he was younger, Linth used to look up to the General Sei. Sei was courageous, trustworthy and just all-around good guy. After years of faithful service to the Crown, one day Sei just turned away and left the kingdom for the sea. Never to return. Linth is determined to find Sei and bring him back to the kingdom to help him restore order.

One problem. Sei isn’t the man he was when he left the kingdom. Sei’s got a bit of a deathwish and really doesn’t care what happens to him. He’s become dissociated and callous.

Now is it any surprise that after a pitched battle at sea where Sei saves Linth’s life that he takes him on the floor of his cabin? Or that once Linth’s recovered he reveals who he is and gets Sei to return with him to his kingdom to guard him and keep him in his bed?

Everything’s hunky dory once they get back to the kingdom except for the fact that Sei had left a lover behind when he pulled his little disappearing act, and the lover isn’t too pleased with the fact that Sei’s taken up with the prince.

Touri is one of Linth’s noblemen and shares Linth’s views that under his father’s rule the kingdom is going to hell in a handbasket. But there’s that whole jealousy thing and Touri does some very, very bad things because of it.

It all works out well in the end and leaves you wanting more.

I can’t sing the praises of this release enough. Yes, some of it is slightly silly and you’ve got your completely unrealistic BL plotlines, but, on a whole, it’s addicting. Just the kind of thing you want to curl up and read when you’re having a rotten day and you want to be reminded that there is good and love and honor and pretty boys fucking in the world.

It looks like there’s going to be another release set in this world coming out at some point. Crimson Wind looks to be the story of how Sei and Touri got together. I’m very much looking forward to that. Hell, I’m very much hoping that Drama Queen brings over more works by Duo Brand. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a book this much.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Duo Brand, White Guardian | Comments Off on White Guardian