Yugi Yamada – DMP/June – 2010 – 1 volume
I was reorganizing my books yesterday, and I realized I have about 30 BL books I can’t shelve because I need to review them. Not to mention all the digital ones I still need to get to (I’m sorry, est em!). Among the to-review pile is basically everything Yugi Yamada in English. I’m starting here because this was on top of the pile.
I like Yugi Yamada because she has a great sense of humor, and it touches all her work. This one is no exception. It’s not just that she can write a silly character that doesn’t go too far over the top. She can. She’s also got a great sense of timing for gags, and knows how to wring all the humor out of social situations. She’s very funny, and I appreciate it immensely.
Having said that, this book is very strange, both in the context of other work by her (which will always, always be Close the Last Door for me), and in the context of BL in general. It starts off in creepy territory, with a childhood pair aged. Abe used to be… some sort of juvenile caretaker to Sendo, the son of a Very Important Man. Both were children, but they hadn’t seen each other in years until Abe is called upon when Sendo disappears from school.
There’s a bit of a mystery element, where you have to untangle the relationships between all the characters. There’s Abe (a pretty typical bespectacled stoic uke type) and Sendo, of course. But there’s Sendo’s roommate Shinji, who seems to like Abe, and Shinji’s sister Yukie, who may be in a relationship with Sendo. And Sendo’s cousin, the PI Terasawa, who seems to be in on the whole thing but isn’t telling. It’s clear that Sendo likes Abe (very, very clear by the number of bed scenes), but there’s huge complications and a lot of tension between Shinji and Sendo when Shinji starts putting the moves on Abe. It also looks like Shinji may have feelings for Sendo that Abe is interfering with, and there’s also an apparent stalker that Yukie and Terasawa are fending off…
The romantic dynamic is slightly different since Sendo is the younger member of the main couple, and he’s the rough, unshaven seme to the older Abe’s meek protests. But then again, past reuniting and working out some differences in personality, there isn’t really much romance since Sendo is pretty dead set on the fact that he’s going to hook up with Abe if Abe keeps hanging around. Which he does. I never doubted where that part was going, but the unclear motives of the other characters did keep me guessing.
And I did love watching the plot unfold. It’s not much, but it’s a lot of fun when a BL book can have something interesting going for it, and the mystery along with the humor made this a really great read. Not so much romantic, but a really nice quirky break in the usual steady stream of BL romances. Highly recommended, along with everything else Yugi Yamada has in English. Seriously.