Tyrant Falls in Love 1

August 4, 2010

Hinako Takanaga – June – 2010 – 6+ volumes

I reviewed this over at Manga Village, so you can check it out over there.

EDIT: Actually, turns out that the review went down with the old Comics Village site. It was one of the few I had saved on my computer, so I’m going to paste it here under a cut since I’ve recently taken an interest in this series again. A very serious, obsessive interest. Because I love it now. I’m sorry.

There were some good things and some bad things here. I liked the characters a lot, but it makes use of some of my least favorite BL plot devices, which takes what could be an interesting story and makes it work against the characters. But it was good enough that I’m going to keep reading, and I did pick up the 4-volume prequel a few days ago, so there’s that too. I’m hoping the characters are just as good in that prequel as they were in this one.

I had no idea that Hinako Takanaga was so prolific. I’ve missed every single one of her releases in English, and there’s been quite a few. Along with Challengers, I’ve got the Little Butterfly omnibus on preorder too.

EDIT: I really do think reading Challengers is necessary to enjoying this work. The beginnings of what’s going on between Morinaga and Souichi are told in that series, and it is important how infinitely patient Morinaga is with Souichi before he does what he does in the first chapter here (read: a really horrible assault). Also, that Souichi really is an angry, violent, insensitive jerk that everybody except his little sister is afraid of. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a lot easier to forgive Morinaga the awful rape after all the things both Souichi and Morinaga say and do in Challengers. And it’s hard for me to believe that, with a scene like that starting the series off, I grew to absolutely love it as much as I did.

University study Tetsuhiro Morinaga has been in love with his homophobic, violent and tyrannical sempai Souichi Tatsumi for more than four years now. Even though he’s told Tatsumi how he feels and even managed to steal a kiss, expecting anything more seems like nothing more than the stuff of dreams… That is until the long-oppressed Morinaga gets his biggest chance ever. Might his unendingly unrequited love finally be returned?
You know, I read a lot of boys’ love and yaoi manga, and one thing I’ll never get used to is the non-consensual sex that happens so frequently.  I take issue with it every time, and it’s a stumbling block even for otherwise great series like Gerard and Jacques.  With an entertaining opening, it was hard for me to take that this series used non-con as the catalyst almost immediately.
But that aside, this book was good in a lot of other ways.  It’s a follow-up to Challengers (released by DramaQueen), but this series follows a different set of characters.  The foul-mouthed gay-basher Tatsumi steals the show, and makes for an unlikely romantic interest.  Nothing seems to please him, and he even yells and complains all the way through the sex scenes, when most victims of non-con simply take it in these series.
I was a little disappointed that a character like him was somewhat wasted here, since there could be a really great story built up around relieving him of his prejudices.  Non-con isn’t the way to start that story, though, and he unfortunately… begins to pine after Morinaga after he disappears at a certain point in the book.  Happily, he’s not head-over-heels, or a total convert, but there’s at least one sappy scene that I didn’t want just yet.
I also like the setting, and the fact that the characters are adults, which are things I prefer when reading yaoi manga.  The art is also quite good, especially for a BL series, with great anatomy, crisp thin lines and just enough detail. 
The series is five volumes long, and with so much condensed in the first book, part of me wonders if there’s four volumes of material left, but on the other hand, I do very much want to see how Tatsumi develops a soft side.  A great character is really all it takes to hook me in one of these series.

Falls into a lot of BL plot traps, but with an entertaining main character, but an entertaining love interest makes the book stand out.  Definitely worth a look for yaoi fans.

6 Responses to “Tyrant Falls in Love 1”

  1. P-chan Says:

    XD I LOVE The Tyrant Falls in Love. It’s one of those that’s a guilty pleasure. I don’t go shouting my love from the rooftops, but I’ll definitely buy a new volume. The one that greatly saddened me though is that people that START with Tyrant will be somewhat lost. Since Tyrant is less of a spinoff and more of a sequel (case in point: Morinaga and Tatsumi’s story begins in Challengers and merely carries on into The Tyrant Falls in Love).

    Beyond that, although Tyrant has lots and lots of sex, Challengers is tamer than FAKE (in fact the farthest they get is kissing if I remember correctly). Little Butterfly is probably my favorite manga by Takanaga and is a very very sweet short story about two guys in (middle?) school. But, yeah, read Challengers before reading more of The Tyrant Falls in Love.

  2. Connie Says:

    Yeah, I did go back and pick up Challengers, just to see how connected they were. I knew it was tamer since DramaQueen had it in their 16+ line instead of 18+, but I suspect it will shed more light on Tatsumi, which can’t be a bad thing. Somehow, as much love as I heard for this series over the years, I never knew it was a prequel to Challengers, or I would have picked those volumes up before starting.

    Was there another book that tied into these as well, or did I only imagine I read that somewhere?

  3. P-chan Says:

    No, Challangers talks about why Tatsumi hates gays, how he met Morinaga, and the beginnings and trials of their relationship years before Tyrant starts (in fact, most of that is FLASHBACKS in Challangers). That being said, I found Challengers pretty adorable. I thought it was terrible that their past was not even mentioned in Tyrant.

    There are a series of Doujinshi in which Tatsumi and Morinaga are furries, but it nothing to do with the series and could actually detract from it since Morinaga is a lot less sympathetic in it and the series invests a lot in how much you like Morinaga in spite of the things he does.

    Morinaga can be sympathetic and the story is mostly told from his point of view, but he’s also a terrible person who rapes and blackmails the person he loves the most in the world. Tyrant does a pretty good job of juggling those two sides of him, but the dounjinshi doesn’t have the backstory and character development to carry it.

  4. Connie Says:

    I’m surprised it goes into so much detail about the darker side of Morinaga. Usually those qualities are glossed over in the BL books I’ve read. It’s nice that the story addresses both the good and bad. It is strange that none of the past is alluded to in Tyrant, it seems to read pretty well as a standalone, and I’m surprised that the two are so close character-wise.

    I’m… kind of curious about those doujinshi. It never occurs to me to check for doujinshi that the creators made for their own series, but I know it’s out there (Yoshinaga’s famous Antique Bakery doujinshi, and I know there is at least one for Bronze that is supposedly an ending for the series). Furry doujinshi is not something I would have expected, though.

  5. P-chan Says:

    Well, it’s as dark as you can expect for a comedy. But I did like the fact that Morinaga is a lot more developed than the usual rape-seme. (Another good example was Junjou Romantica but I really don’t like the art for that series and the sex scenes are very disturbing [Usagi’s fingers sometimes look thicker than Misaki’s thighs for some reason], and it doesn’t touch on the rape issue until farther into the series and only briefly at that).

    Still, it’s nice that authors are showing more awareness of how disturbing rape is. How far we’ve fallen since those distant days of After Us, Savage God . . . But then again maybe not – Yu Watase’s very graphic (and absolutely GORGEOUS art-wise) yaoi manga Sakura Gari takes a pretty hard look at rape (and lots of other issues that she’s probably always wanted to, but couldn’t because she was writing for 14-16 year old girls).

    On the doujinshi – I say furry, but they’re only as fury as a conventional BL magazine will allow. For example: they have ears and tales and I think teeth, and beyond they they obviously SEE each other as actual animals (i might be mistaken but I think we sometimes see chibi-versions of their animal-selves, though certainly not when they’re . . . busy.

  6. Connie Says:

    Hm, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Sakura Gari. I find myself intrigued by Watase’s later work, especially considering the difference between Fushigi Yugi and Genbu Kaiden. I’d love to see her tackle some darker issues, stuff that she clearly skirts in some of her earlier work but wants badly to address.

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