I Shall Never Return 1
January 17, 2009
This is another Deux series I thought I’d try. This one won me over by being advertised as “classic” and also because it seemed like it had an overly-angsty story. The two boys are in high school (or at least one is, he’s a senior, the other one has dropped out), but I was kind of hoping for Let Dai levels of DRAMA, so I thought I’d try it.
The beginning is a bit… messy. The story’s sense of time and place is so far very bad. The story opens on a scene between the main couple while they were still in junior high. This cuts inexplicably to when the boys are older, and there is apparently something unfriendly between them. Ritsuro goes back home, and then to school. Somewhere in the middle of this scene, the helpful text “four years later” appears. I thought we were getting another jump forward in time, which wasn’t the case. It took me a good chunk of reading before I got the timeframe straight in my head.
It also took me a long time to get events straight: Ritsuro presently hates Ken because Ken seems to sleep with all his girlfriends. The two have been friends for a long time, and apparently slept together unexpectedly when they were 13 and Ken’s parents got a divorce. Even though Ritsuro says he hates Ken, he seems to hang out with him a lot, and eventually the two hook up. Everything from there is straightforward, but their relationship doesn’t seem like it will be full of smooth sailing.
It is drama-tastic, though. Ritsuro has Ken, and he also has a girlfriend that seems to love him despite the fact she hopped into bed with Ken so easily. It takes a little bit of time for Ritsuro and Ken to hook up, but it is of course VERY PASSIONATE when they do, and all that. Then they fight and break up and get back together a lot, and it’s only the first volume! Ken is jealous of Ritsuro’s girlfriend, and Ritsuro is jealous of a guy who implies heavily that he and Ken were an item in the past.
Ken prostitutes himself, but gives this up when he starts dating Ritsuro for real. This will probably come back to haunt him later, though, and already has. Ritsuro, knowing this about him, seems to act surprised whenever he considers the possibility of other people having sex with Ken.
While the story is technically about high school students, and is mildly disturbing as a result given the prostitution angle and the fact sometimes Ken winds up bound and gagged, school doesn’t seem that important. It only comes up a few times towards the end of the volume, and a lot of time is spent with the characters at their jobs and stuff.
There are some rough patches, but the relationship between Ken and Ritsuro may very well be the most drama-tastic I’ve ever seen. It’s not nearly as good as Let Dai, but it has more drama if only because the two are constantly on the verge of breaking up and making up. It also touches on some relationship issues I haven’t run across in other BL titles, such as whether or not the boys love each other or simply lust after each other. The drama and angst go a long way in making me want to read more, but it does have its disturbing moments, and the storytelling could use a bit of fine tuning.
It is quite wonderful, though, as far as disturbing BL goes. I can see how it would be considered a classic.