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review 2018-02-11 22:38
A Love Song for the Miserable (one-shot manga) by Yukimura, translated by Sachiko Sato
A Love Song for the Miserable (Yaoi) - Yukimura

All Asada wants is to transfer to his company's Events Planning Division and hopefully start implementing some of his ideas to make their events better and more exciting. However, his request for a transfer is turned down. On the plus side, his horrible day at work leads to him meeting Nao, the son of the owner of a cake shop. Nao convinces Asada to be his taste tester, and the two men become friends.

Unfortunately, their relationship sours when Nao tells Asada that he plans to go to France to study to be a patissier. Asada reacts badly, and he and Nao don't meet or even speak to each other again until three years later, when Asada finally achieves his goal of joining the Events Planning Division and must get a new patissier to participate in the division's upcoming sweets fair. The patissier he's been assigned to negotiate with is Nao.

This was an impulse buy. It was on sale and at least one review of it stated that it was sweet and didn't have much in the way of sex scenes. I crossed my fingers and hoped that meant it was genuinely sweet and didn't include rape-y moments. The last time I took a similar chance I ended up with Tatsumi Kaiya's Hot Steamy Glasses, which didn't fit my definition of "sweet" and included a main character who considered resorting to rape because he was feeling sexually frustrated.

Thankfully, A Love Song for the Miserable was genuinely good. Yukimura paid a fair amount of attention to the nonsexual aspects of Nao and Asada's relationship. As far as rape-y aspects went, there was one instance when it looked like things were going faster than Asada could handle, but then Nao backed off.

The volume was primarily devoted to Asada gradually realizing the true nature of his feelings for Nao (for most of those three years he told himself he loved Nao like a brother) and then worrying that someone would notice how he felt. He was afraid that Nao would either react negatively if he knew or at the very least unambiguously reject him.

It wasn't until fairly late in the volume that Asada realized there was another element in play in his feelings for Nao: envy. From Asada's perspective, Nao had found his path in life and had then managed to move forward, whereas very little had changed in Asada's own life.

I really liked watching how things worked out between Asada and Nao. It's too bad the volume wasn't a bit longer - it would have been nice to see a little more of Asada and Nao after they became an official couple, and the whole issue of Asada's career concerns didn't seem to truly be resolved (okay, so he's happy with his job now, but why?). A couple shorts, one showing Asada and Nao a few years down the line and one with Nao's boss and her husband, would have also been lovely. That said, I really enjoyed this and could see myself rereading it in the future. Sadly, I don't think any of Yukimura's other works have officially been translated into English. I'd love to read more.

 

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

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text 2018-02-10 17:19
Reading progress update: I've read 182 out of 182 pages.
A Love Song for the Miserable (Yaoi) - Yukimura

Oh, this was good. It was an impulse purchase. It was on sale, and I read a review that said it was very sweet and didn't have much in the way of sex scenes. Of course, the last time I bought something that was described that way, I ended up with Hot Steamy Glasses and its poorly developed romance and near-rape.

 

A Long Song for the Miserable was, thankfully, genuinely good. My primary complaint is that it needed more pages devoted to Nao and Asada after they officially became a couple. Not a huge issue, though, since the epilogue and earlier pages showing their budding friendship were really nice.

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review 2017-12-04 14:46
Your past is always coming back to you
Vinland Saga 9 - Makoto Yukimura

Seriously, if you love Manga, Vikings, historical fiction, Europe....you have to read this Series. 

 

This is about Thorfinn, son of one of the greatest Viking warriors and his journey through war, friendship and growing up and is set in 11th century Europe.

 

I absolutely love this series and I don't usually read historical fiction but this story is incredible. There are 9 Volumes out in English so far and I'm already excited about the next volume which I have no clue when it will come out in book form. Speaking of the books. The quality of those hardbacks are absolutely stunning and definitely a good collection to show off on your bookshelves. 

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review 2016-11-17 12:40
Hagar the Horrible it isn't
Vinland Saga 1 - Makoto Yukimura

For the past several days I've been dealing with a disrupted sleep cycle: I fall asleep earlier than normal, only to snap awake at around 2 or 3 AM. To try to go back to sleep I try some of my "comfort" reads, which are favorite novels that I enjoy rereading. At this point, however, I've run through the ones I'm up for right now.

 

This is what brought me to Vinland Saga. I had recently received it as a gift from a former student who thought that I would enjoy it. Sure enough, once I started it I shot through the book is less than an hour, including the time it took for me to adjust to the manga style of reading (i.e., left to right). It's a great adventure tale about Thorfinn, a teenaged Viking who at the start of the series is seeking vengeance against a pirate named Askeladd who killed his father, Thor. Most of this volume consists of an extended flashback in which we learn about Thor, his past, and why Askeladd kills him. There's a nice mix of plot, character development, and action, all of which makes for a work that simultaneously hearkens to the adventure films of golden-age Hollywood while invoking modern themes of suffering and loss. It;s a great start to the series, one that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys reading good historical fiction.

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review 2014-08-03 00:00
Vinland Saga, Omnibus 3
Vinland Saga, Omnibus 3 - Makoto Yukimur... Vinland Saga, Omnibus 3 - Makoto Yukimura 5 stars.

Holy CRAP! this is such a good series. Brutal, bloody, utterly engrossing. I don't even like most of the characters, and I still keep coming back for more!
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