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review 2017-10-22 01:54
Hot Steamy Glasses (manga) by Tatsumi Kaiya, translated by Sachiko Sato
Hot Steamy Glasses (Yaoi) - Tatsumi Kaiya

Hot Steamy Glasses features two stories, although the second one is extremely short, more of an extra than anything. Most of the volume is devoted to the story of Takeo and Fumi. Takeo is the president of a successful I.T. company. He’s been in love with his friend Fumi for the past 17 years. He lives in hope that, despite being heterosexual, Fumi will one day agree to live with him and go on a date with him. Fumi’s younger brother, Shogo, is doubtful of this but does want something to change: either for Fumi to finally give Takeo a chance or for Takeo to move on and fall in love with someone who isn’t quite so mean to him.

Takeo’s an otaku, specifically one who’s into moe characters (romanized here as “moeh”), and Fumi isn’t shy about expressing his annoyance and disgust. Still, Takeo persists and does what he can to appeal to Fumi and make him happy.

I picked this one up after reading a review that described it as sweet and said that it contained surprisingly little sex. I hoped that this meant it’d be non-rapey.

Although Hot Steamy Glasses had quite a few amusing conversations and lines, it didn’t turn out to be the sweet and fun romance I’d hoped for. The first chapter was written from the perspective of Shogo, Fumi’s younger brother, and I was immediately convinced that the real romance would be between Takeo and Shogo. Shogo would finally convince Takeo to stop chasing after his brother, who’d repeatedly told Takeo that he wasn’t interested and who, to top it off, was also a bit of a jerk. Shogo would give Takeo a shoulder to cry on, and gradually the two of them would fall in love. That story would have been so much better than what actually happened.

The first half of the volume was okay, even after I realized, to my dismay, that Fumi really was the person the author planned to pair Takeo off with. The chapter where Fumi got sick had some nice funny moments, and I particularly liked Reiko, the secretary Takeo sent to take care of Fumi after he had to go back to work.

The volume took a sudden turn for the worse when Fumi finally agreed to be Takeo’s boyfriend. For one thing, Fumi’s change of heart came practically out of nowhere. He’d spent 17 years telling Takeo “no,” and here he was, changing his mind because of a few comments from Shogo and because Takeo reeeally loved him. Never mind that he’d repeatedly said he wasn’t gay and that Takeo had shown some tendencies towards controlling behavior, asking Fumi to quit his job and move in with him so that he could take care of him. Fumi’s response to Takeo telling him to quit his job was one of the few times I cheered for Fumi.

For another, there was the issue of sex. It strained my suspension of disbelief that Fumi had more of a problem with the lack of sex in their relationship than with the idea of having sex with a man for the first time. Again, he’d spent his entire life up to this point believing himself to be heterosexual, and there were no prior signs that he was interested in Takeo or other men. Even so, the only thing that bugged him was that his and Takeo’s relationship wasn’t much different after they officially became boyfriends than it was before. They didn’t really go out on dates, they didn’t kiss, and they didn’t have sex.

And boy did the lack of sex bother him. That’s when the volume got slightly rapey. Fumi decided that the two of them were finally going to have sex, and that was that: “Even if he resists, I’m gonna force him!” Thankfully, Fumi was gone when he got home, or it might have gone from slightly rapey to “this includes rape.”

Or maybe not. Their first sex scene was very sudden, and also initiated by Takeo. There was none of the awkwardness I would have expected, considering. Just BOOM, sex. Even Fumi found himself wondering why Takeo was so skillful and confident considering that he was probably a virgin.

Okay, let’s go back to the “Fumi really wants sex and isn’t getting any” stuff for a bit, so I can talk about something else that bugged me. I’m sure it was completely unintentional on the author’s part, but this part of the volume became a bit acephobic. As Fumi tried to feel his way around how to handle this part of their relationship, his frustrated thoughts included statements like “What is he, still a middle school student…?” and “I’m almost thirty years old! ‘Going together’ = ‘sex’ - I’m sure I’m not mistaken on that point.”

The implication was pretty clear: if Takeo really hadn’t been interested in having sex, Fumi couldn’t have handled it. And then the volume might have included rape instead of, say, the two of them talking through their differing needs and maybe breaking up if they couldn’t figure out a resolution that would work for both of them. The last time I had to deal with crap like this was in a book actually featuring an asexual character. This wasn’t quite as bad as that, but I still really could have done without it.

The volume’s ending was the one thing I’d agree was sweet. It took place several years after the events of the bulk of the story, showing how things were working out for Takeo, Fumi, Shogo, and Reiko. That said, it couldn’t make up for Takeo and Fumi’s shoddily constructed “romance.”

The volume ends with a short unrelated manga, “Young Love Graffiti.” Naomi fell in love with his tutor, Aki, when he was in junior high, but he didn’t realize it at the time and they both went their separate ways. He was excited to reconnect with Aki when they were both invited to the same wedding reception, but their relationship since then hasn’t been nearly as wonderful as Naomi could have wished. Naomi worries that he’s more in love with Aki than Aki is with him.

This story was so forgettable that I had to reread it before writing this review. It accomplished little more than adding to the volume’s page count, and I’ll probably forget it again in a few hours.

All in all, Hot Steamy Glasses wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be, and the artwork didn’t do much to make up for the story’s deficiencies - many of the male characters looked alike, and characters’ expressions could have been better.

Extras:

The volume includes a 2-page manga-style afterword by the author. The afterword was a little funny. Kaiya’s editor noticed that both of the stories contained characters with the same family name, and both of those characters looked kind of similar, so Kaiya came up with a quickie explanation that relied on both of the stories being set in the same world.

 

Rating Note:

 

I struggled with rating this. Parts of my review make this sound like a 1-star read, but I didn't hate it enough for that. I finally settled on 2 stars. Either way, it's going on my "offload to free up shelf space" pile.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-01-01 00:00
Honey Darling (Yaoi Manga)
Honey Darling (Yaoi Manga) - Norikazu Akira I enjoyed this. A quaint story about a vet and 2 cats. This may not be for everyone, but I enjoy the back and forth between the characters. Often the little things are overlooked, and this is another one that slides under the radar.

This is one that I happened across in my search. I am glad I gave it a go.
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review 2016-11-07 15:06
水の春 [Mizu no Haru] - Kaname Kurosawa,黒沢 要

Cute, although not as much as I wanted. The summary is misleading, the boys were far from awkward. I liked Sunahara's father's story more, how he falls in love with his editor and all the years they are together. At the beginning it makes the reader think that Sunahara is the lover of his stepdad (thank God it was just made-up!). All cute and clean.

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review 2016-10-12 15:42
One of the best manga I've read so far
Twittering Birds Never Fly vol.1 (Yaoi Manga) - Kou Yoneda

Amazing. This is the real thing.



I wanted to read this series because of a bunch of reasons:

1. The title is poetical and beautiful. It stuck and couldn't forget about it ever since.
2. The covers are suggestive and artsy.
3. Kou Yoneda's style agrees with me.
4. Shady environment: the Japanese mafia.
5. One of the MCs is impotent. The other one is a masochist. I wanted to see how the hell this would be sorted out.

Yes, I kind of expected this to epically explode in my very face, yet it didn't.

So...

Yashiro is yakuza. He's also an teasing irreverent masochist who has been secretly pinning his best (and only) friend from high school.

Doumeki is an ex-con, and an ex-police officer, who intercedes in one of Yashiro's 'scenes'. He's also impotent. Nothing can scratch his imperturbable armor. Or does it?

Yashiro takes him as his bodyguard (although he finds other uses in him) and loves provoking him in all ways he can think of. Sexually mostly, and the non-answer he receives from Doumeki only spurs him on even more.

Strangely enough, there is a compelling atmosphere in this story. The characterization is incredible, and their attachment to each other may be deeper than it seems at first. Even when they are unable to meet in the middle.

Or are they?

*****

Read in Manga Rock.

Volume 5: 23-?
Volume 4: chapters 17-22
Volume 3: chapters 13-16.5
Volume 2: chapters 4-12
Volume 1: chapters 1.1-3.5

 

(spoiler show)



*****

Volumes in the series:

Twittering Birds Never Fly, Vol.1 by Kou Yoneda Twittering Birds Never Fly, Vol.2 by Kou Yoneda 囀る鳥は羽ばたかない 3 Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai 3 by Kou Yoneda 囀る鳥は羽ばたかない(4) 初回限定版小冊子付 (Twittering Birds Never Fly, #4) by ヨネダコウ

Prequels:

漂えど沈まず、されど泣きもせず Tadayoedo Shizumazu Saredo Naki Mo Sezu by Kou Yoneda Don't Stay Gold by Kou Yoneda

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review 2016-02-21 01:39
His Favorite (manga, vol. 2) by Suzuki Tanaka, translated by Ivana Bloom
His Favorite, Vol. 2 - Suzuki Tanaka,Ivana Bloom

One half of this volume is devoted to the main story, and the other half is mostly a couple completely unrelated shorts. I never know how to handle stuff like this, but I suppose I'll treat the shorts like extras.

The main story starts off with Yoshida and the other less popular (and less attractive) guys in his class being forced to act as cheerleaders in the upcoming school sports matches. After the sports stuff is over, Yoshida learns that Sato is modeling for one of the school's art students. Then Yoshida encounters a friend from junior high at his current school.

I thought the first part was kind of cruel of the other students, although Yoshida's friends, at least, tried to embrace their roles as cheerleaders. The art modeling stuff was okay, although I wasn't a fan of Sato's hypocrisy. He agreed to be an art model and found the idea of Yoshida possibly becoming jealous appealing, but then he got mad when Yoshida agreed to be an art model too. On the plus side, Yoshida showed that he still had a spine by continuing to be an art model even though Sato told him to quit.

The best part of this volume, though, was the last part of the main story, which featured a secondary romance between Torachin, Yoshida's perpetually scary-looking friend, and Yamanaka.

In the first volume, Yamanaka was the second most popular guy at school. He was determined to be more popular with the girls than Sato, and he was the only one who noticed that Sato and Yoshida seemed to have become a couple. He then proceeded to take things too far by trying to kiss Yoshida. Sato's response, after saving Yamanaka, was to completely and utterly destroy his reputation by spreading nasty rumors about him (readers were never told the specifics of those rumors).

Yamanaka was left with a bone-deep terror of Sato. He also no longer had any friends, at least until Torachin, another outcast due to his scary looks, took pity on him and tried to befriend him. Then both of the guys started to become interested in being more than just friends.

This was the cute mismatched romance I had been hoping for from Sato and Yoshida. Neither Torachin nor Yamanaka knew that their feelings were returned, and so both of them went to Yoshida for advice. Torachin was worried about how Yoshida would react when he admitted that he was attracted to another guy (he didn't know about Yoshida and Sato), and Yamanaka knew he'd been pretty good with the ladies back before Sato spread those rumors about him, but he wasn't sure how to move forward when the person he was attracted to was another guy. There was a sweet flashback to a scene early on in Torachin and Yamanaka's friendship, and I loved that Yamanaka's thoughts of Torachin had little sparkles in them. I hope that this isn't the last readers get to see of this pair.

All in all, this volume was much better than the first. Sato didn't try to mess with Yoshida quite so often, and, although he still displayed some jealousy issues, I was pleased to see that there wasn't a single jealous comment when Yoshida told Sato they couldn't walk home together because Torachin wanted to talk to him about something. Considering Sato's past behavior, that was actually extremely surprising.

Extras:

 

- The first short manga was called “A Turtle's Love Is Eternal.” For some reason it made me think of CLAMP. The setup was a little confusing, although I didn't realize how much I'd missed until I got to the second short. Anyway, it starred Shiro Kazama, a school Discipline Committee member, Masami Kaito, and Chiaki Komiyama. I had assumed that Chiaki and Kaito were also both Discipline Committee members, based on the dialogue, but they were actually known rule-breakers Shiro had been told to keep a closer eye on. In retrospect, their lack of armbands should have clued me in. At any rate, it was fairly obvious that Kaito had a secret crush on Shiro, although Shiro didn't realize what was going on until after he spotted Kaito secretly dealing with a local snapping turtle problem. This story was okay, but maybe a little too cute for me.

 

- The second short manga, “Love or Bust,” starred the same characters as the first one. This time around, Kaito was being pursued by Tetsuya Honjo, a known rule-breaker who was in trouble for not only breaking the school's dress code by wearing a black uniform (the school's uniforms are white), but also for trying to force other students to wear black uniforms too. This story also made it clearer that Chiaki is actually transgender (or possibly just enjoys cross-dressing? I wasn't sure). Although this is a boys' school, she prefers to wear a girls' uniform. Her uniform breaks the rules, but it's usually tolerated, unlike Honjo's actions, because it's not like she's trying to force other students to wear girls' uniforms too. I enjoyed this short more than the first one.

 

- A 3-page His Favorite short featuring the art student who wanted Yoshida to model for him. It was...weird.

 

- A one-page postscript written by the author, with a reading-related illustration that makes me smile every time I see it.

 

- A full-page color illustration of Yoshida and Sato. I like this one, although the setup looks more like a guy teasing his younger brother than like two guys on a date.

 

Rating Note:

 

I feel like I may be rating this volume too highly, maybe focusing a bit too much on my love of the Torachin/Yamanaka secondary romance. The bulk of the volume is probably more like 3 stars. But I liked that secondary romance a lot.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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