Ai Hasukawa – June – 2008 – 2 volumes
I read the second volume of this series a year or so ago, and I liked it well enough to pick up the first. It’s the type of BL that I enjoy: a relationship between two professional men with no non-con in sight.
Unfortunately, it also sticks very strictly to the most basic yaoi plot, and I wound up enjoying it far less than I thought I might. Okumura is an entrepreneur and something of a playboy who hires Yamashiro to remodel his Italian restaurant. He teases Yamashiro, who resists at first, then decides to tease right back. Okumura is obviously the forward one, where Yamashiro is a prickly tsundere. There is resistance, Yamashiro asks him not to mix work and pleasure, then they get together, only to have doubts again. Nothing you haven’t seen before.
One interesting thing about it is that, despite the fact Okumura is more forward, the two seem to share the same level in the relationship. Yamashiro isn’t shy and submissive, and doesn’t allow himself to be pushed around by Okumura. It’s something you rarely see in light reading like this, and it’s a shame it wasn’t developed further.
The bed scenes are few and relatively chaste. They do sleep together, and there’s no secret about what’s going on, but they don’t last as long, nor are they anywhere near as graphic, as the usual yaoi story. Mostly you’re reading for the romance. The characters are interesting… but unfortunately they aren’t really developed that well, and they lack chemistry. It’s not bad, just a little bland.
There’s a creepy, creepy older/younger story in the back to make up for all the normalcy in the regular volume. Not creepy in any particularly graphic way (not even close), but creepy in that those two are even a couple. Yikes.
Maybe my tastes in BL have matured since I read the other volume of this series. It is the type of story I like… but there are so many other things out there to read. I wouldn’t mind seeing a later series from the same author, though, in hopes she sticks with the same themes and just develops characters a little better.
I reviewed this for the weekly Manga Minis column at Manga Recon, so you can check out the review over there.
More BL books, but I’ve been pretty happy with what I’ve read lately. This volume was extremely by-the-book plot-wise, but in a good way, and was enjoyable because of it. Also, it featured yet another older couple, which I tend to prefer to the high school stories. I liked it well enough that I’ll probably go buy the first volume now, actually.