Archive for the 'Love Mode' Category

21st Oct 2008

Love Mode 11

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

We’ve come to the end. As I said in my last review, I’m happy to finally have all of Love Mode in my hot little hands. Yet, I’m kind of sad, because I won’t have it to look forward to. I’m happy to say that the last volume was charming, sad, sweet, and full of what makes Love Mode one of my all time favorite series.

This volume is mostly a flashback. We go back in time to where Aoe was traveling the world, trying to escape his troubles with his family. While in England, he runs into an oddly dressed street performer who fleeces him out of his money. Aoe then runs into Takamiya, who uses him to fend off an amorous suitor. Now, keep in mind that at this point Aoe doesn’t know Takamiya at all. This is all making Aoe very cranky and the hotel he was planning on staying at losing his reservation just feeds the flames of the level of crankiness.

So, Aoe’s miserable and has no place to go. To make up for using him as a human shield, Takamiya invites Aoe to come and stay with him. Aoe, seeing no other recourse, accepts. Much to his surprise, Takamiya’s roommate is the street performer who made off with his money. Shiki is Takamiya’s uncle as well as his roommate and the atmosphere of welcome and relaxation they have in their house starts to thaw out Aoe. Shiki gets under Aoe’s skin, so much so that he and Aoe develop a relationship. One of the only healthy ones that Aoe has ever had.

Of course, this bliss can’t last for long and their peace is shattered when Aoe hears that his father was killed in a plane crash, leaving Aoe as the head of the family.

Like all Love Mode stories, this one broke my heart. I really couldn’t ask for more in a volume. As much as I would like more of this series, I’m happy that they ended it so well and left me wanting more of it. If you’re not already a fan, this series should definitely be on your must-buy list!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Love Mode, Shimizu, Yuki | 1 Comment »

17th Aug 2008

Love Mode 10

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I’m almost sad that this will be the next to the last volume of Love Mode. While I will be happy to own all of it, I’m really going to miss the anticipation of waiting for the next volume to come out, the joy of getting it out of the plastic wrap and then curling up in bed with the characters.

There are a lot of series out there that I enjoy and look forward to reading and reviewing, but none of them strike the same chord as Love Mode. For me, manga just does not get much better than this. No matter how much angst Yuki Shimizu throws at me, I know that there is going to be a blissfully happy ending for the characters.

This time around, we have the story of Jin and the violet-eyed prince. I really think that this was just an excuse for Shimizu to draw some faux Arabian-style outfits and throw in some cousin-sex, but I’m still going to enjoy it. So, there’s the violet-eyed prince, Shareef, who hires Jin to fuck him silly as way to make him too dirty to enter the priesthood. Also, as an introduction to male-male sex, as Shareef is in love with his cousin, Fai.

Fai is not happy with this turn of events and wants to keep Shareef pure, but eventually sees the light and ends up being madly in love with his cousin as well. This leaves poor Jin behind. That’s okay, though. We get his happy ending in another story.

After that, we have a return to our main couples. There’s a story about Izumi and Takamiya, where shadows from Takamiya’s past are causing Izumi to question Takamiya’s feelings for him. Then there’s more in the saga of Aoe and Naoya. First, Naoya gets tricked with a box of those dastardly special aphrodisiac chocolates. Then, their love is tested once again after Naoya’s grandfather passes away and Naoya is called to comfort the young heir.

You know, once the last volume comes out, I think it’s going to be high time I sit and re-read all of these and just enjoy what made me fall in love with this genre in the first place.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Love Mode, Shimizu, Yuki | 1 Comment »

05th Jun 2008

Love Mode 9

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I’m never disappointed when I have a volume of Love Mode. It always manage to leave me happy and satisfied. It’s enough to make my bitter, jaded heart want to find romance and a happy ending. Almost. Really. Don’t think some sappy manga is going to change my outlook on life. I’ll still be the same bitter bitch I always am, just with a few softer, blunter edges.

Last time, we had poor Haruomi being stabbed by a psychopath after he tried to save a kidnapped Kiichi. Things end up working out for our young heroes and a romance is starting to blossom, but the Aoe family machinations won’t leave them in peace for long.

Haruomi gets the reunion he’s been waiting for with his long lost twin brother, Tien, but it’s not the happy reunion we’ve all been hoping for. No, Tien is out for his brother’s blood and has plans to kidnap Kiichi.

It seems that after Haruomi sold himself to the Aoe family to pay for his brother’s medical care, the neighbor he entrusted with the money skipped town, leaving Tien to fend for himself. This has made Tien pretty bitter and understandably so. It’s going to be Kiichi’s innate goodness that breaks through Tien’s anger.

Yup, so very happy with Love Mode now. How long am I going to have to wait for the next release though!? I get impatient with series like this, but at the same time I really don’t want them to end. I know we’re nearing the end and I’m going to really miss having a new volume to look forward to.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Love Mode, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on Love Mode 9

24th May 2008

Love Mode 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

This is another series that I’m having a very hard time not fangirling over. Like many fans, I had first gotten hooked on Love Mode through scanlations and was slightly apprehensive as to how they were going to bring this series over for a North American release.

I’m happy to report that it’s just as endearing in this release as I found it through the scans. Nice clean translation, nice binding with no ugly printing on the inside covers. The only thing that would have made it better would be if they had included a dust cover.

For those out there who don’t already know, Love Mode is a set of stories revolving around a set of couples, loosely connected by a male escort club/service. In volume one, we’re introduced to Izumi Sakashita and Takamiya Katsura. A case of mistaken identity throws these two together. Affections grow and by the end of the book they’re an established couple.

The art is a little rough in the first book, but does improve over time. The only thing that I really found laughable was the case of the amazing, disappearing cock that haunted almost all of the sex scenes in this book. That’s not anything I can find fault with BLU for, it was that way in the original. I can’t wait for volume two to be released. This series just makes me grin like a giddy school girl.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Love Mode, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on Love Mode 1

24th May 2008

Love Mode 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I love the books about Reiji and Naoya. My two favorite characters in Love Mode. I swear this is one of the few series that will actually make me tear up in places.

Now that Takamiya and Izumi are off building their relationship, Aoe Reiji’s at loose ends. Enter in Naoya, a boy with the worst luck ever. Anything that can go wrong for this poor boy can and does. On the night that Reiji meets him, Naoya’s been hit on the head with a flower pot, taken to the hospital and then finds that his apartment has burnt down. May I also mention that Naoya’s an orphan whose parents were killed in a tragic car crash and has to support himself?

So not suprisingly Naoya’s got some issues. Who better to take care of him than a gruff, seemingly morally corrupt business man with more money than God?

This is a very slow building relationship. Not only do both characters have issues, but Naoya’s only thirteen. Nothing much is going to happen between these two until Naoya gets to be a little bit older.

Then we have a Christmas story about Takamiya and Izumi. Izumi’s still having a hard time coming to terms with his feelings for Takamiya. He just can’t get the words out. Christmas is a night to spend with your lover, but when Takamiya invites him over, Izumi gets uncomfortable and blows him off. Things do end happily, but the boys need to go through quite a bit of angst before we get there.

BLU keeps on doing a great job with a series that should really be in every BL fan’s collection.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Love Mode, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on Love Mode 2

24th May 2008

Love Mode 3

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

You know, at some point we’re going to need a chart to keep track of all of the characters in Love Mode. Who’s sleeping with whom, who’s angsting/lusting over whom, who’s related and who’s friends with whom. Because you know after this it just starts to get more and more confusing.

In this installment, we get Izumi – remember Izumi from volume one? – who’s taking some time off away from Blue Boy to get some much needed rest and Arashi who starts off helping out next door, and ends up moving in. It’s a rocky road for these two – isn’t that how it always is? – and we get to delve into Izumi’s past and find out exactly why he joined Blue Boy. It’s heavy on the angst, and utterly addicting. You know it’s all going to end well, but it’s a hell of a ride getting there.

This book also includes a little one shot showing off Reiji and Nanoya’s first Christmas together. This also includes the first appearance of the cat that Nanoya ends up adopting and never fails to make me squeal. I swear that kitten is the cutest damn thing in the book. There are times when I ignore the boys and focus solely on the cuteness that is that damn kitten. It’s a damn sweet story on its own. But damn. Kitten for the win on cuteness.

I guess really the only thing I have to complain about is that they’re not releasing Love Mode nearly fast enough to keep me happy. I don’t want to have to wait months for the next installment. I want more angsty/happy/sexy goodness now.

Kudos once again to BLU for preserving the integrity of the original series. It’s rare that I find a series just as endearing in the North American release as I do in the original Japanese. Love Mode is one of those rare series.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Love Mode, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on Love Mode 3

24th May 2008

Love Mode 4

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

With every book in this series that gets released, my love for the series grows. More Reiji and Naoya angst this time, centering around the death of Naoya’s parents. It seems that one of Naoya’s father’s underlings at his company was embezzling thousands of yen from the company. He worked up a scheme to kill Naoya’s father to keep his crime from being discovered.

He also makes an attempt on Naoya’s life, which ends with Reiji showing a bit of what he feels for Naoya. You know that Reiji wants Naoya and it’s only the few scruples that he has left that is keeping him from screwing that boy blind.

Poor Naoya. I don’t think there’s another character in manga who gets beat on as much as he does. As soon as something good comes into his life he gets smacked down to dwell in his own angst. If the writing wasn’t so endearing, it would start to get silly after a while.

As always, much love for the cat. I swear, sometimes when I’m having a really bad day it’s the panels with the cat that pick me up more than the storylines about the boys.

I think I say this every time I review a copy of Love Mode, but really if you haven’t checked out this series yet, you really should. The art does leave a bit to be desired, but the storylines and the characterization will just suck you in.

I hope that the licensing issues with Love Mode and Love Pistols will get worked out quickly. We need more of this series and we need it fast.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Love Mode, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on Love Mode 4

24th May 2008

Love Mode 5

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I always forget just how much I utterly adore Love Mode. I don’t know why because it’s one of the best series that I’ve ever read. It’s got the perfect mix of angst, romance and drama without ever dragging itself down in its own self-importance. Maybe it’s a good thing that I forget about how much I love it, that way I’m always in for a real treat when I sit down to read it.

Aoe and Naoya have settled down into a comfortable routine. Things are going well and starting to heat up a bit. Naoya falls asleep on Aoe’s bed just to roll himself in Aoe’s scent. The feelings are growing and Aoe’s struggling with the fact that he’s set himself up as Naoya’s guardian.

As is the norm for Naoya, once things seem to start to get good for him, something has to come and fuck everything up royally. Naoya’s grandfather is still alive and looking for a heir to his business empire. He makes Naoya an offer he can’t refuse. Come and live with him or he will expose Aoe’s dealings with Blue Boy and the fact that Blue Boy is really nothing more than an escort service.

Naoya, not wanting anything to happen to his Aoe, agrees. Aoe tries once to stop him, asking Naoya if this is what he really wants, but Naoya pulls the brave and selfless bullshit and leaves Aoe without telling him about dear old grandfather’s offer.

Yes, so now everyone is miserable, except for grandfather, who was pretty damn cranky to begin with, so he doesn’t count. Turns out that grandfather had adopted an heir before he found out that Naoya was still alive and the little guy isn’t too pleased about being turned out in favor of a legitimate blood heir. Not that he’s old enough to realize that this means he isn’t going to inherit, he’s just upset that his father has found someone to replace him.

As is par for the course with Love Mode, everyone is miserable and then suddenly everything works out. You’re left with a feeling of giddy happiness at the end. That is the glory of Love Mode. BLU had better get on releasing a new volume pretty damn quick. I want this feeling back again and quickly.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Love Mode, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on Love Mode 5

24th May 2008

Love Mode 6

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Reiji and Naoya just make me happy. They really do. Naoya is still so innocent, sweet and in awe with everything in the world, and Reiji is so not that. We start off with Kiichi, Reiji’s older brother, taking Naoya out for a shopping trip and doing his best to spoil Naoya rotten and drive Reiji insane. While shopping, Naoya and Kiichi run into some robbers at the store they’re in and get taken hostage.

Kiichi saves Naoya and we get hints into his past when the robbers’ plot is foiled. Not by the police, but by two completely new characters. Kiichi always seems to have more going on than he reveals. There’s a connection between him and their renegade rescuers that I hope will be explored in future releases. Of course then there’s some Reiji and Naoya lovin’, which always makes me a very happy girl. Reiji isn’t too happy about Naoya being in danger and him almost losing him. Happy-monkey sex ensues.

Then we have this unbelievably heartbreaking story from Reiji’s past. This is the story that I felt was surely going to keep Love Mode from getting released in this country because of the age of Reiji’s client. The story is that Reiji is assigned a super VIP to spend time with. He’s to cater to the VIP’s every whim. He wasn’t expecting the VIP to be a very young man. I’m talking about fourteen or fifteen years old. Now BLU sidestepped the age issue by not letting there be any details about the character’s age be revealed, so in the US release, he could have been a young looking eighteen-year-old. It’s a beautiful story and sheds light on why Reiji is the way he is, but it’s sad as all hell, just be warned.

Love Mode just keeps getting better and better, this is the last volume I had scanlations for, so everything after this is going to be brand new to me. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. I don’t know how the series could get any better than it already is, but I have full faith that it’s going to become even more endearing.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Love Mode, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on Love Mode 6

24th May 2008

Love Mode 7

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

It’s always a happy day when the postman brings me a new volume of Love Mode. I’m even more excited with this release and the volumes to follow, because volume six is where I stopped reading the scanlations. This is now all new to me!

In this volume, we’re introduced to some more of the hosts at the BB, rather than sticking with the characters we already know. Aoe’s on some forced relaxation, thanks to brother-dear’s scheming, and poor Naoe’s being used as bait.

While I have to admit that I missed the usual cast of characters, the stories are so well written that I can’t really complain about any of them.

First, there’s Ian and Rin. Ian’s a supermodel and Rin has taken over Izumi’s old place as number one at the club. All Ian wants is attention from Rin, but Rin seems to want nothing to do with the brash foreigner. Seems that Ian got on Rin’s bad side the first time they met and Rin’s been alternately trying to get closer to Ian and pushing him away ever since. Ian’s got an exclusive contract with Rin, but he’s left wanting since Rin’s not putting out.

Then there’s Katsuki and Jin. Katsuki’s a young playboy and Jin is BB’s number two host. Katsuki’s intrigued by Jin, enough that he’s willing to give up the hetero, pampered-pet lifestyle he’s been leading to become a host and get closer to Jin. These two are fairly explosive together.

The whole volume left me feeling just kind of warm, happy and in the mood to sit down and re-read all my other volumes of Love Mode, just to keep the warm and happy feeling going. You know, there are a lot of series out there that I truly love, but I have to say that this one really is my all-time favorite.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Love Mode, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on Love Mode 7

24th May 2008

Love Mode 8

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Ever wonder what happened to the Aoe brothers in their formative years to make them into the men that we know and live now? Well, even if you didn’t, play along like you did because this is going to be an angsty, but fun trip in the Wayback Machine.

We start off with twin brothers, Tien Lee and Tien Shue. They’ve been abandoned by their mother and left to fend for themselves, which they have been doing by acts of petty thievery. Tien Lee, the younger twin, has less respect for the law than his brother. When Tien Shue wants them to play it safe and only take what they need, Tien Lee keeps reaching out for bigger and more risky targets.

One night, he reaches too far and steals a bag from someone in the yakuza. He finds it’s filled with drugs. Tien Lee wants to go out and sell it, while Tien Shue argues caution and wants his brother to try and return the drugs. When Tien Lee goes out to try and cash in on his windfall, he runs into the gang he stole from and manages to get shot.

Tien Shue needs to find money to get a doctor to put his brother back together and then enough cash to convince the doctor to keep his mouth shut. During this time, a man comes and makes him an offer. Go with him, follow the man’s every whim and he would fork over enough money to save his brother and pay off the doctor. Seeing no other option, Tien Shue goes along with the man’s offer, leaving behind his beloved brother and even his name.

Now, Aoe Shogo has none of the kindness or even the humanity of his sons. His first order for his new toy is to either put on a bestiality show or get a full-body tattoo and fuck the male clients of B&B. This is only stopped when Shogo’s son, Kiichi, comes in with the corpse of a puppy that he adopted and Aoe killed. See, told you he was really a not-nice guy.

Shogo decides that his new toy would better serve as a protector for his son. So, instead of using him at B&B, he gives Tien Shue the name of the dead dog and makes him Kiichi’s new bodyguard. He’s got more up his sleeve though, don’t think he’s doing this out of any concern for his son.

You know, it’s overblown and completely out there, but in the context of Love Mode, it all seems to work. Proving once again just why this is one of my all-time favorite series.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Love Mode, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on Love Mode 8