Prime Minister’s Secret Diplomacy

November 17, 2011

Youka Nitta – 801 Media – 2008 – 1+ volume

I will be forever crushed that we won’t get to see Embracing Love in English. But I am thankful that the Japanese publishers still allow us some Youka Nitta. I liked what I read of her series Otodama, and I picked this up solely because it was on sale and I wanted to read something else by her.

But I forgot a good 801 Media rule of thumb: If it’s over a year old and still available everywhere, it’s probably not a great book. This came out in 2008 and has had more than enough time to sell out, yet still it hangs out in large quantities.

The Prime Minister’s Secret Diplomacy isn’t a bad book. The book itself has a great presentations, with illustrations printed on the inside covers that carry over onto the jacket, something I haven’t seen before. It’s also obviously a well-researched piece, and Nitta puts a lot of work into developing the diplomatic setting for the couple.

But that’s the problem. There’s a little too much detail for my taste, and I literally fell asleep about twenty pages in, while the characters were still debating points of diplomatic protocol and the seme (unusually, this book had a very dominant uke) was still elaborating on the finer points of his future partner’s diplomatic prowess. Worse still, I think these are Japanese diplomats in Thailand, who deal with lots of influence from the Chinese. I am so far removed from that situation I couldn’t even begin to enter the dense conversations they were having about the politics involved.

And that’s sort of a problem. Nobody that wants to read a comic about Japanese diplomacy is going to pick up one where, pardon me, the diplomats fuck each other. On the flip side, the audience that picks this up as a quick erotica read don’t want to sit and puzzle through the dense diplomatic negotiations. They want to get to the part where the diplomats fuck each other.

Nitta mentions in the end notes that she put a lot of work into setting the diplomatic tone, and how that was the most important thing for her in this series, and that it works better for the uke here than the seme. She’s right, and as I said, she does a good job including all those details. Her art is also very good, and I enjoyed her very masculine character designs for this series.

But it’s not until the end of the book that the romance becomes the center of the story, and by the time things get really good, the book ends. I know there’s a second volume (it doesn’t bode well that 801 hasn’t released it), but I don’t know if it continues on from there. The romantic plot is mostly tied up in the fact that the uke is engaged to the seme’s sister, and the uke tries to push the seme into splitting up his sister and lover.

The romance is fairly good by the end, but the characters are almost completely inaccessible before that, so it’s a little bit of a chore until the very end. There are other Youka Nitta books out there, even in English, and I would probably give those a try instead if you were planning on dipping your toes in the water. This isn’t a bad book, but it’s probably not what you’re looking for, either.

One Response to “Prime Minister’s Secret Diplomacy”

  1. Hm, I totally WOULDN’T AGREE about this review for this manga. I just think it’s personally up to the person who reads yaoi. Whether that person likes to read SERIOUS PLOTS in YAOI manga, OR just YAOI manga where all is about FEELINGS without much taking on plot and its cause.

    Personally, ‘SECRET DIPLOMACY’ IS MY FAVORITE YAOI Manga in Top 5. And Favorite one by Nitta Youka!
    The Characters are done to comprehend and fight but also having passionate and luring love which takes them deeper into the core of themself and also core of Political struggles, history of Uke who isn’t just simply good politician by chance and deep roots of corrupted politics!
    Having one detailed plot about outgoings on Political grounds, and main characters as one of most important Politicians and as seme and uke love story… Greatly done by Nitta Youka.
    And for me IT WAS INTERESTING. I always like to read if plot is good about all details and info to learn something new.
    As I like Japan and Asia and having russian roots in my blood, that was absolutely stunning and interesting plot and direction of storygoing!
    I bet EVERYONE who likes suspense, and serious plots always wanted some Good Hardboiled Yaoi manga about Politics and people there..
    The story is pretty much going perfectly, revolving around dominant but fragile uke who isn’t simply one of the best diplomats by chance… And firstly straight and stubborn younger seme..
    For ‘checking’ up whether uke deserves his sister’s hand in marriage and out of personal despair and not undertanding his urges in feelings they started that dangerous but unbereably addictive relationship..80q1
    later *MFG I SOO LOVE THOSE CHAPTERS >* when seme’s sister comes and those three are having ‘screentime’ in chapters it’s really confusing for seme who loves his sister but is starting to feel like abandoning her for strong addiction and love he felt for uke, and uke for him but since he is realllly proud-spirited and sarcatic manipulator – so won’t acknowledge that easily…

    and then we have TURN IN 2 VOLUME STARTS DANGEROOUS GAME! … seme started to question about uke ‘why politics?’ since he has perfect features and beauty for models and other professions.. there goes ‘no’ answer to go barking on his theritory from uke… but seme started to take upper hand in relationship and opened dirty secret of political grounds which was the history and only choice of uke…
    so trapped and kidnapped by oposers political mafia seme finds no way out.. uke starts to take attacking measures and …
    and that's why I don't like such reviews who don't bring out value of this great manga by Nitta Youka, and just toss over 801 readers. x..x

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