Yellow 2 (omnibus ed.)

September 3, 2011

Makoto Tateno – June – 2010 – 4 volumes
this is an omnibus containing vols 3-4

Yellow episode 2 #3 just came out, and in that spirit, I thought I should finish off the first series. I liked the first omnibus well enough. It was a nice mix of action and romance, and that’s more or less what I’m looking for when I pick up a book like this.

Yellow’s a little better than the average book, though. The characters are fleshed out a little more, and Taki’s constant rejection of Goh only serves to heighten the romance. And it truly is 50/50 on action and romance. There are better love stories, and there are better crime-themed stories, but rarely are the two mixed as well as they are in Yellow.

Having said that, I didn’t enjoy this omnibus as much as the last. It’s all about Taki’s past, but the plot keeps getting increasingly improbable throughout the volume. You see, Taki’s parents are an internationally-wanted assassin duo. This is pretty bizarre, and the fact that they are apparently Golgo 13 makes it even harder to believe. But Taki left them the night he found out and they forced him to commit a terrible act.

But they re-enter Taki’s life, and he can’t even admit his past to Goh. Once they crack the first murder the duo performs, the assassins turn their guns on Goh until Taki agrees to move back in with them.

This is where it starts to get ridiculous. Taki doesn’t tell Goh what’s going on, even as he basically accepts Goh as his lover. Even in confinement, he’s able to slip Goh enough hints to thwart the duo’s next attempt. And in one of the lamest rescues ever, Goh has sex with Taki until the assassins blow the door off the room. I finally threw the book down when one of the key traumas in the plot is undone. It was ridiculous. The ending was too happy and too picture-perfect. And it started getting a little too formulaic towards the end… the romance between Taki and Goh became less believable the closer they got, which is a shame.

A couple of the one-shot chapters at the end of the book got it right, though. It was disappointing to see how well those were written in contrast to the ending of the main series.

Still, it wasn’t without its good moments. I liked it less as the volume wore on, but the romance between Taki and Goh is still pretty solid, and that was mainly what I was interested in.

There’s also an interesting plot point in that one of the assassins is a male-to-female transsexual. He fell in love with Taki after the duo took him in, and this man’s advances was another factor that made Taki flee (and it’s implied that it made Taki hate homosexuals as well). Getting rejected because he was a man broke his heart, so he got a sex change and put some time between his old self and Taki before re-appearing as a woman. It’s an interesting plot twist, but not much is done with this character, unfortunately. I feel bad for him.

Unfortunately, this was also one of the borderline NOT OKAY points of the book. The man’s age is left ambiguous, and his old self is mostly faceless, so he only looks a few years older than Taki. But the fact remains that he was a functioning assassin the entire time he was raising Taki, and Taki considers him a “parent,” though not in the biological sense, of course. Make of that what you will.

In the end, Yellow is a solid read, and definitely one of the better BL books out there. But I was disappointed with the second half, addictive as the first half was. That’s not to say it’s irredeemable, but still. If you’re a BL fan, the first omnibus is definitely worth picking up, but keep in mind that the ending is a little weak.

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