July 9, 2011
You Higashino – 801 Media – 2010 – 1 volume
So… this was the filthest book I’ve read in a long time. It takes a lot to shock me, and this juuuust about did it.
I picked this up because I had read a couple other BL volumes by You Higashino (Gay’s Anatomy, Sense and Sexuality), and wound up really liking her. Normally I don’t go for “geeky boyfriend”-type stories like this, but Higashino’s Sense and Sexuality was good enough that I’ll pretty much try anything from her from now on.
I normally do make an attempt to discuss the plot of these books, but this time… hm. Well, Morita is an otaku, who (apparently in an earlier installment of the series) reformed himself, and is now smoking hot with his otaku nature banished only to his imagination and his apartment. He’s dating Sakura, who seems somewhat insecure. Both are completely devoted to one another, but there’s usually wiggle room in relationships like that when it comes to BL one-shots like this. The first story is about how Morita gets so carried away with sexual fantasies whenever he sees Sakura that Sakura thinks his quiet and standoffish nature is because he isn’t interested anymore. This story is actually pretty good, and I loved that one of the points of contention is that Sakura took an unfortunate silence from Morita as a sign that he had no interest in Sakura’s personality, when in actuality Morita paused to debate how much to tell Sakura, as his knowledge extended well into creepy stalker territory.
This is, of course, resolved with lots and lots of sex.
Next, there’s another short story where Sakura mistakes Morita’s wandering attention for lack of interest, when in fact Morita is again getting carried away with dirty fantasies about Sakura. Sakura tries to capture Morita’s interest by inviting him over and playing out just about every naughty anime cliche there is (clumsy cooking, wardrobe malfunctions, glasses, shyness, et cetera).
This conflict is also resolved in sex. Also, stolen underwear.
The final story is about an anime character that really, really resembles Sakura. Morita lets his otaku nature get carried away about Rushu collectibles, and it drives Sakura away once again. This time, Rushu’s creator intervenes, and fixates on Sakura. Sakura is kidnapped and dressed as Rushu, which sets the stage for both a heroic rescue by Morita and a lengthy sex scene with Sakura tied up in a devil costume.
And yeah, there was a lot of sex.
The final story is very short, and is merely a lengthy fantasy that Morita has about having sex with Sakura under a kotatsu.
One of the things that makes the sex so much more shocking in this volume is that Morita and Sakura really do make a good couple (there’s no shy teasing, no testing the waters, and most importantly, no non-con). When a BL book can pull off a good couple, it makes the intimacy that much more… well, intimate, even if it is just sex without a whole lot of romance. And there is a LOT of sex in this book, most of it is quite… exotic, due to Morita’s otaku interests. There’s also Morita’s frequent fantasies, that engage in a lot of things that would otherwise be impossible. That he really does love Sakura THAT much makes these horrible fantasies, again, less terrible and more shocking in a horribly dirty sex way. That it’s also slightly tongue-in-cheek much of the time, and mixes is a little humor in, also makes it a lot more fun and way more readable than page after page of sex might be otherwise.
And… wow. Flipping through this book to write the review, I’m still a little shocked by how much sex is in here. It’s been an awful long time since I’ve read one of these that actually has page after page of sex. It’s usually not my thing, but again, I’m a sucker for good couples, and it’s great in this book. Also, no non-con at all! Not even the last story, kidnapping and all, crosses the non-con line.
About the only complaint I have is that Higashino’s character designs… they have really long faces, with eyes close to the top of their heads. It’s slightly off-putting.
I still think I prefer Sense and Sexuality to this book, but this just made me an even bigger Higashino fan. I’m really, really on the fence about an upcoming book in English, A Fallen Saint’s Kiss (it sounds like it goes into uncomfortable territory), but I’m more than willing to give it a try after this one.
There’s more Sakura/Morita stories out there if you have an iPad or eReader, a followup volume called Hyper Loving a Maniac available on Amazon. I’m dying to read a print edition.