Archive for the '♦♦♦♦♦' Category

05th Nov 2010

Kizuna Deluxe Edition 1 / Finder 1: Target in the Finder

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I’m not going to re-hash reviews that we’ve already written. For the most part, the content of these releases are the same as when they first came out in the US. No, I’m going to try and justify me purchasing a THIRD volume of each of these releases to have in my collection.

You see, I never thought these series would get released in the US. So, I went and imported the original Japanese versions. I couldn’t read them, but I could look at the purdy pictures. And, at least when it comes to the smut scenes, how much translation do you really need?

Then Be-Beautiful brought the series over. YAY. Aside from the fact that the censored Kizuna, and I found some of the translations to be slightly stilted. I was still happy to have them in my collection.

After Be-Beautiful went under, I (like most of you) was hoping that another company would pick up the series and release them. Well, June has, and did a fantastic job with it. All of the problems that I had with the original US releases have been taken care of. THEY LEFT THE MASA AND KAI KISS IN. The bit that we were all scratching our heads over when it first came out as to just why anyone would censor something so sweetly innocent. A childish peck does not shota make, my darlings, and I think we all realize that.

The other nice thing that June did, was to combine volumes one and two of Kizuna in the same release. So, if you haven’t picked up this series yet, here’s a great way of doing it and possibly saving yourself some space/money.

So, now I have three versions of the same series hanging out in my apartment. And, I’m finding it very hard to let go of any of them. There’s got to be some kind of twelve step program for this. Anyone got the number for Dr. Drew?

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Finder Series, Kizuna, Kodaka, Kazuma, Yamane, Ayano | 4 Comments »

17th Sep 2010

The Tyrant Falls in Love 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I have been waiting for this one! I had adored these characters when we were introduced to them in the Challengers series, and was very disappointed when I learned that DQ wasn’t going to be able to publish the sequel, The Tyrant Falls in Love. Then DMP came to the rescue, and bought the license, so we have the wonder and absurdity that makes this series so damn great. And, by damn great, I mean morally reprehensible and fantastically pervy.

Tatsumi is the older brother of the sweet Tomoe Tatsumi, whom we met in Challengers, and ran off with the ‘gay’ Kurokawa. Tatsumi has never forgiven Kurokawa for corrupting his sweet and innocent younger brother, and this manafests in him hating all ‘gays’, including his assistant, Morinaga. Now, Morinaga, has confessed his love for Tatsumi, to his face – and survived it.

So, for five years, Morinaga has been in love with this homicidal, fanatical, lunatic, and appears to be happy to suffer in silence, until one of his friends gives him an aphrodisiac to try on Tatsumi. Morinaga is horrified by the thought, and hides the bottle away, never planning on using it.

Of course, this being a BL manga, a night of drinking (set off by the news that Tomoe is going to marry his beloved Kurokawa, and Morinaga’s refusal to let Tatsumi blow the USA to smithereens) leads to Tatsumi downing the whole bottle, and Morinaga having to sleep with him – for purely medical reasons, of course.

Now, as you might have guessed, this does not endear Morinaga to Tatsumi the next morning. Yet, Tatsmui can’t quite bring himself to hate Morinaga. He even finds himself worrying about Morinaga when he drops off the face of the earth for a few weeks.

It’s a manga that I have far too much fun reading, and if the release of the second volume gets delayed, I am going to be a very cranky Cyn, indeed.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Takanaga, Hinako, Tyrant Falls in Love, The | 2 Comments »

16th May 2010

In the Walnut 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Toko Kawai is my favorite mangaka. There are other artists working currently who may be more graphic, but when it comes to telling a story that brings a tear to my eye, and makes me fall in love with the characters, it’s she’s key.

In the Walnut is the name of an art gallery owned, rather reluctantly, by Tanizaki. He specializes in restoring and selling art, no questions asked. His methods may be a bit unethical at times, but under his rough exterior, his heart is pure. This being Toko Kawai and a BL manga, we should expect no less. His boyfriend, Nakai, is an aspiring filmmaker, who has made filming Tanizaki his life’s work.

The back-story on how these two got together is pretty interesting. Nakai was looking for a subject to film for his senior project. He saw Tanizaki and loved the way he looked through the viewfinder. Tanizaki really wanted nothing to do with being filmed, but agreed to do it under one condition, that Nakai sleep with him.

Yeah. Told you he was a pretty unethical guy. Nakai isn’t that into it at first, but grows to enjoy their encounters, and finds that he loves filming Tanizaki while they’re intimate.

His senior project, featuring just Tanizaki is a hit, and Tanizaki gets more fame than he ever wanted.

They break up, go through heartbreak (because this wouldn’t be a BL manga without a good dollop of angst) and only get back together after Nakai shows his true feelings by releasing a film that is just composed of Tanizaki’s face during intercourse.

But, that’s all in the past. The bulk of the manga revolves around the art gallery, and the clients that come in to see Tanizaki, and how he manages to make them happy, even through his illegal means.

I don’t know if Toko Kawai is everyone’s cup of tea. She’s more of a quiet artist, instead of being in your face like some of the other artists I really enjoy. The only other artist that I find comparable is Est Em, who manages to pull together the same magic of heart rendering stories, and happy endings that are laced with enough sadness to make them ring true.

Buy this one. Buy it now. It will restore your love for the genre.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, In the Walnut, Kawai, Toko | 1 Comment »

11th Feb 2010

How to Capture a Martini

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I adore Makoto Tateno. I know going in that there’s going to be a boat load of angst, there’s going to be boys screwing madly and there’s going to be a happy ending.

She doesn’t tend to stray from this format, and I’m not complaining. Reading her is like escaping into a romance novel. It’s sweet fluff, that doesn’t leave you feeling bloated afterwards. By all rights, I should be looking for something with more substance – but, there are times when you just want something that you know is going to have a happy ending.

While in High School, Naoyuki fell in love with his sempai, Shinobu. Naoyuki was convinced that they were going to be together, forever, and was making plans to follow Shinobu to college. They had agreed to meet after Shinobu’s graduation, so Naoyuki could give him a gift. Shinobu never showed.

Years later, Naoyuki has moved on. He’s got a girlfriend, but he’s never really forgotten Shinobu. While going to bars one night, he and his girlfriend run into a bartender that looks familiar. It’s Shinobu. Problem is that Shinobu has no interest in Naoyuki, and is not too pleased to have this blast from his past.

To make things even more problematic, Shinobu has been acting the whore, and sleeping with any male that shows interest to him.

Now, we all know that in the world of BL, this means that Shinobu is hiding his pain and that he’s still in love with Naoyuki, right? God, I love BL tropes. They make for such fun angst.

So, now Naoyuki has to fight to get Shinobu to recognize that what they have is real, and get him back.

It’s fun. It’s decidedly romantic, and it’s just what I want to read when I’m having a bad day.
Just like everything else that Tateno has ever released. I know that it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but when I’m in the mood for it, it hits a home run.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, How To Capture A Martini, Tateno, Makoto | 2 Comments »

30th Oct 2009

Age Called Blue

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Rock star boys always make me happy. Throw in the angst that Est Em is known for, and I’m madly in love. Manga doesn’t get much better than this. I need to remember that when I get burnt out on the genre that reading Est Em is a surefire way of reminding myself why I like this damn genre in the first place.

We start off with the story of Nick and Billy, a singer and a guitarist. They’re being torn apart by addictions and their attraction to each other. They’re no good together, but they’re even worse apart. When the band starts to take off, Nick’s free-wheeling ways wear thin on the other band members, but Billy can’t see himself without Nick at his side.

It all manages to make me happy and break my heart at the same time–something Est Em has always been able to do. I go into her releases knowing that I’m going to end up crying, but look forward to them anyway.

Do not miss this one. Rob your piggy banks, put off buying something else this week, but pick up this release. It will bring you back to your first days of reading scanlations–the first thrill of the wonderful combination of angst and boys in love–that got you into this genre in the first place!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Age Called Blue, est em | 2 Comments »

19th Oct 2009

ZE 3

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Yuki Shimizu isn’t on the top of most people’s list of favorite manga artists. Heck, she don’t even get on my top ten list most of the time. That’s a shame because the art is amazing and the stories always suck me in.

Her work isn’t as flashy nor as graphic as some of the artists and that’s the only reason I can think of why people aren’t clamoring over her work. I just know that every time I get done reading one of her releases, I’m happy and left counting the days until the next volume will be mailed to me.

This series isn’t quite as crack-like as Love Mode, the series that Shiumizu is really well known for, but I’m finding it to be just as addictive as my beloved Love Mode.

In this volume, we’re exploring what happens to a kami-sama when their kotodama-sama dies. Normally, the kami-sama chooses to die as well–reverting to a blank state. In the case of Himi, when his master passed away, his sense of obligation forces him to become a kami-sama for his old masters estranged son, Genma.

Gema has a different way of showing his affection than his father did. The physicality of Gema’s affection is something foreign to Himi. At first, Himi wants nothing to do with this brutish new master, but, of course, he starts to see the good in Genma and begins to fall for him.

I’m happy to see backgrounds for more of the Mitou family. I’m happy to have this series in print and in English. I can’t sing the praises of this one highly enough. It’s just wonderful on all levels.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Shimizu, Yuki, ZE | 2 Comments »

23rd Aug 2009

Games With Me 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Before I start this review, I want to point out that Games With Me 1 is only available for Kindle right now. I think with enough interest though, a hardcopy will become available. So, if you’ve read this already, spread the word, do a review, do something, to get this great GloBL manga published!

I think Games With Me is great. This is Tina Anderson and Lynsley Brito I’m talking about. No one should be surprised. As to why Games is great: The atmosphere is just right. It plays out like a movie with quick-moving scenes with intriguing characters.

We are first introduced to Dr. George Callahan. George is a Civil War veteran/surgeon running from his past. He takes care of the men and women in the brothels of San Francisco’s Chinatown. When not making the rounds, George is smoking opium. George is no angel, but he’s a good man.

While working, George comes across the beautiful Jun. Jun is a mentally-handicapped Chinese prostitute, but he’s more child-like than anything. After a couple of meetings, George begins to suspect he knew Jun when they were children. If they did, what is George supposed to do with Jun?

There is more to this story than I’m telling. I don’t want to spoil it, though! There are more great characters besides George and Jun. There are subplots which really give a depth to Games With Me. The sex scenes are not explicit, but actually further the story.

Anyway, I can’t praise this volume enough. When I first sat down to compose this review, I was too caught up in the story to write. For me, that is saying something.

Posted by Nikita | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Anderson, Tina, Brito, Lynsley, Games With Me | 6 Comments »

05th Jun 2009

True Colors

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I’ve truly enjoyed everything that I’ve read by Clare London and this is no exception. She’s got a way of having her characters angst that allows you to wallow in their misery without pushing it over the top. She’s also got a gift of making her characters just flawed enough to be real while still keeping it believable. Throw in sex scenes that are enough to scorch the type off the page and I am one happy, happy girl.

Zeke is an artist, who through some pretty nasty circumstances, is selling his gallery to Miles, an entrepreneur. Normally, artists and entrepreneurs don’t mix, but there’s something that draws these two together. Miles wants to see the artist that’s hiding behind Zeke’s troubled past and, though Zeke won’t admit to it, he’s looking for a way to let that artist out.

It’s a complicated web that ties the boys together. The supporting characters in this one are just as important as the main characters. Let me just say that I would give up something fairly vital to read a sequel and find out what happens to the main characters’ best friends. There seemed to be something brewing between the two of them–something that would be just as explosive as the chemistry between the two main characters if it was ever written out.

I can’t sing the praises of this one enough. It’s got everything I’m looking for in a m/m romance–characters that I can believe in, amazing chemistry, gorgeously written smut and a need to find out what’s going to happen–that will keep me up far past my bed time.

Everything by this author is an instant buy for me. I can’t wait to see what she’s going to come up with next!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, London, Clare, True Colors | 2 Comments »

05th Jun 2009

Future Lovers 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed these two. They really are hysterical and sweet. More like a real couple than almost any other than I’ve seen in BL. Not that the world of BL has any thing to do with reality, but it’s sometimes nice to wave at reality as it goes sailing past.

Not much has changed with these two since we last left them. A year has passed and Kento is still ricocheting between adoration and embarrassment with his flamboyant lover, Akira. Akira, is still not quite sure of his place in Kento’s heart as he’s convinced that Kento is going to leave him for a woman and have fat, happy babies. Thus, making Kento’s grandparents very happy. There isn’t much that Kento can do to convince Akira of his sincerity except to love him stupid and just accept him for the special little snowflake that he is.

I sound dismissive of it, but it’s really very sweet and very well done. Even the arguments between the characters are handled very well. Keeping a sense of humor, but showcasing the emotions that are leading them to rip into each other.

I think my favorite part was the last chapter where the artist drew the characters living together as elderly men. Still bitching at each other, but still very much in love. I’m really hoping to find more works by this artist released over here as both her releases so far have been a total treat. Hell, I would welcome spending some more time with these characters!

This is one of those releases where I am going to tell you to run out and get it if you haven’t already added it to your collection. I just wish that more releases had this combination of art, charm and humor.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Future Lovers, Kunieda, Saika | 1 Comment »

27th May 2009

Without Sin

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

This was a pretty hot release for something that is supposed to be aimed for young adults. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but it didn’t read like the books that I was reading when I was a young teenager. Believe me, that’s a good thing. Tomas has managed to catch all of the intensity and emotions of a first love and pack it into words that had me remembering my first teenage fumblings.

When one first meets someone in high school, it’s all fumbling and groping and thwarted meetings. It’s super hyped-up emotions and being so horny that one thinks of screaming and falling in love in under a week. This book took all of that, set it at a Catholic boarding school and came up with something that’s truly special.

Jacob Smithson has a bit of a temper. He’s been kicked out of public school for fighting. As a last resort, his parents enroll him at a Catholic boarding school. Jacob, not being Catholic, doesn’t quite know what to make of going to mass and things of that nature, but he does see something that makes going to mass a bit more interesting. One of the altar boys looks like a fallen angel to Jacob and he’s determined to meet him.

Lucky for Jacob, the angelic altar boy, Avery, shares his fascination. Jacob and Avery are inseparable from the start. The problem lies in trying to find time and secrecy to be alone with each other and, for Jacob, staying out of trouble so he can stay in school with Avery.

When taunts from some of their schoolmates push Jacob too far, it looks like the boys will be separated permanently. The question is, will the intensity of their feelings be enough to get them through some serious struggles?

I’m so happy to have a title that I can recommend to some of our readers who may not be of age to read some of the other novels we’ve recommended. This is a gorgeous work and I’m so happy to have the chance to be able to spread the word about it!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Tomas, J., Without Sin | Comments Off on Without Sin

03rd May 2009

ZE 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Oh, sweet and gorgeous angst! You’re back! It’s funny because if you ask me who my favorite manga authors are, Yuki Shimizu is never one of the first ones that comes to mind. Yet, whenever I pick up one of her releases, I remember exactly why I adore her. That’s not even getting into the fact that this release plays on some of my all-time favorite themes. Namely, someone who’s not fully human trying to comprehend human emotions and finding out that even as someone who’s not fully human, they have the capacity to love.

So, Raizou and Kon are trying to figure out how their relationship is going to work now that Kon has accepted Raizou being his kotodama. Problem is that Raizou keeps treating Kon as a human and Kon doesn’t quite know how to deal with that. Throw in Kon’s healing ability only being able to work when his mucus membranes touch Raizou’s, the easiest way to do that is with a kiss, and you’ve got Raizou in a state of sexual frustration.

Kon’s ready and willing to let Raizou work off some steam with him, but Raizou wants more than just a quick grind. And, there’s the fact that Raizou’s hung like a horse. Something that freaks Kon out the first time he sees it.

It’s fun, it’s wonderfully silly and angsty and OMG!fantastic. I never get tired of her releases.

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