July 25, 2010
Sanami Matoh – Tokyopop – 2004 – 7 volumes
How is the climax to one of the most classic boys’ love stories we’ve seen in English? Well, pretty great. Especially considering how gag-heavy and tease-y the first couple volumes were. In fact, all that teasing has finally paid off in a big way, so this volume was quite satisfying as the last in a series I really grew fond of.
I was certainly caught up in the romance, but let’s not forget this series actually has a plot, too. The final case is pretty heavy, and involves watching over the wife of the man who killed Ryo’s parents. She’s informing and needs police protection, but keeps slipping out to meet with a lover (this involves some of the suspension-of-disbelief policework that we were conditioned to in the early volumes). Things build, murders happen, and souls are bared. It’s a good case, and I’m glad that Fake has come this far in terms of storytelling.
One of the other important things about the case is that it has an opportunity to be every bit as romantic as the Ryo and Dee parts. It makes you feel bad for one of the bad guys, and in one of his final scenes, he really wrings every drop of tragic romance out of the storyline. It goes nicely with what’s happening between the two main characters, especially when the spotlight is stolen by this serious stuff most of the volume.
Then there’s the Dee and Ryo parts. They were amazing. Having to wait ’til the end to get what I wanted definitely made it that much better. The consummation during the main storyline felt right, even though it happened at a time when Ryo was emotionally vulnerable. It is the norm for that type of character to get taken advantage of, but he’s the one who sought out Dee. Dee even had to ask the make sure. The aftermath was great too, not only the reactions from other characters (sadly, neither Bikky nor Carol gets to weigh in), but just seeing how both of them take it. Ryo takes it far better than I would have thought, but Dee will be Dee.
The main story ends, and there’s a short story at the end that is pure, undiluted fanservice. As much as I liked it (it did tie up some loose ends relationship-wise), it was almost too BL for Fake. Dee and Ryo are both older men, and they’re both police officers, but seeing them like that just turns them into 2-dimensional yaoi characters for me, even after everything they’ve been through. Also, I don’t know why, but seeing them naked really bothered me, too. It was like taking the mask off a superhero. You want to see it the whole time you’re reading, but then when you do, it takes all the magic out of it because he’s just a regular person underneath. Bah.
Having said that, I would not have had that short chapter any other way. It was the perfect note to end on, and the way the main story leaves off, Fake desperately needed some fanservice to send all us happy fangirls on our way. Plus… the Fake dialogue. I mean, it’s there through the whole series, but there’s something magical about that garbage being spewed in the bedroom. Magical and oh-so-right. That dialogue is terrible, but then again, so is Fake, and it just wouldn’t be the same without it. I would have enjoyed it far less if Dee had straighter lines.
In the end: two very happy fangirl thumbs up. I never in a million years thought that would be the case, because I loathed those first couple volumes. But I think I was just missing the joke. It took me a while, but I finally got it, and I’m much happier for it in the end.
Now, if we’re going to keep talking about classic BL, someone desperately needs to license Zetsuai/Bronze. Not a comedy. Not even close. But melodramatic to the point of being hilarious, and this is coming from someone who loves melodramatic BL. Also, super sexy and some of the most classic BL you can find.