April 9, 2012
Gido Amagakure – JManga – 2012 – 1 volume
Another digital volume of BL, this time from JManga. They’ve posted a few new ones over the past month or so, and while the selection isn’t nearly as good as eManga, or maybe even SuBLime, there’s still some interesting stuff posted over there. This one had Yazuka in it, so I was all about that.
Kotaro is set to inherit his Grandfather’s yakuza gang, and since he was young, he’s wanted nothing more than to be one of the honorable members of the gang. He’s well-liked because of his silly and outgoing nature, plus he grew up with all the men that work for his grandfather. Kotaro is also obsessed with the idea of manliness. He watches yakuza movies over and over again, and strives to do his best every day to be a man among men. And that’s how he became completely obsessed with florist Toraji after witnessing him stop a robbery in a particularly manly way.
Kotaro makes for a silly fixture in Toraji’s flower shop, and he doesn’t know how to go about making friends with the older man. When he starts to grow close, he realizes a friendship may be harder than he thought, since Kotaro seems to have a genuine hatred for yakuza. Things are complicated further when Kotaro realizes… well, he may actually be in love with the super-manly Toraji.
I loved this book! It was mostly a cute, hand-hold-y romance (with one physical scene at the end), and it was very, very funny. It’s hard not to root for Kotaro, who is a wonderful combination of really outgoing and slightly socially awkward. He doesn’t quite realize when he’s doing something strange, and it only makes him more endearing to those around him. And when he realizes he’s fallen in love with Toraji, he tries as hard as he can to go from big brother (in yakuza gangs, “big brother” is a term of respect, and Kotaro has always wanted a manly big brother to look up to) to… something else, though he seems unsure as to what. There’s a little bit of drama, as there usually is in this type of book, but almost all of it gets turned around and turned into a funny situation by the end of the chapter.
With the prevalence of bishounen character types in BL books, I especially liked the way Kotaro idolized manly qualities. Neither Kotaro nor Toraji was burly man of the year, exactly, but I appreciated the story was about that. Plus, as someone who sits and obsesses over Judge Dredd comics and Clint Eastwood movies, I could totally sympathize with Kotaro’s tastes.
I liked the art a lot, too. It has a very contemporary feel to it, very slick and nice-looking character designs and fashions. Again, neither of the characters are terribly manly, but I did appreciate the fact that her character designs look a bit different than the usual bland styles you find in BL.
If you like your BL funny and sweet, you have to check this out. I don’t think I could have been more happy with it. It even overrode my dislike of couples with huge age gaps! Kotaro is a recent high school graduate, and it’s never stated how old Toraji is, but he makes it sound like he’s much older. Doesn’t matter, though, because I want Kotaro to get his way. He doesn’t even want his way in a dirty way. He just wants Toraji to be his yakuza big brother. He wants to love him. And he shoves full speed ahead to get him. It’s great.