Finder Series 2: Cage in the Finder

December 7, 2011

Ayano Yamane – Be Beautiful – 2005 – 7+ volumes

Here’s an interesting experiment for you. The Finder series was one of the first BL manga I ever read. I bought all three of the Be Beautiful volumes when the third one was released. I read the first one and was traumatized. There’s a lot of rough non-con, and the characters aren’t very likable. Plus, bondage, which I think affected my delicate sensibilities of the time. I never read the second and third volume. Since then, I have read dozens more BL volumes than I care to admit, among them A Fallen Saint’s Kiss. I think there are few BL books that can be as shocking, sexually, as that volume, so I thought I would give the Finder Series another chance now that I know more about how BL works.

I already reviewed volume one, but yes, my tastes have changed quite a bit over the years. The non-con and bondage still isn’t something I want to see, but now it reads much less awkward than it did before. Unfortunately, Takaba is the type of uke that falls in love with his tormentor, and while I hate that convention, it does make it easier to read. Takaba never really protests what Asami is doing to him, and by the end of the second volume, it’s implied that Takaba wants everything that Asami gives. The strained and stoic silences between them do read full of anticipation now, where as before I missed that element and was dreading the inevitable moment when Asami would lay hands on Takaba again. I hate myself a little, but I like the strained relationship between Asami and Takaba, and I like all the criminal intrigues the two find themselves involved in independent from one another.

Unfortunately, this volume leaves Takaba behind and focuses primarily on Fei Long, a villain that kidnapped Takaba in volume one. There’s some implied history between Fei Long and Asami, and this volume goes about telling it. The story this time is much more about Fei Long’s criminal family and his standing in it, rather than a romance, and the romantic elements between Fei Long and Asami are stunted and quickly quashed as soon as they spring up at the end. Yamane said she didn’t really want a romance between the two to detract from the story, but unfortunately I wasn’t as interested in the story of Fei Long.

But, on the other hand, we did learn a little bit more about Asami. He’s a stoic, mysterious man, and this volume doesn’t really change that. Nor is the story really about him. It doesn’t really attempt to shed light on his character, either. All the same, it was a little fun seeing a slightly different side of him.

There is a short chapter in the beginning when Asami happens across Takaba in one of his clubs. Takaba is being used by the police without his knowledge, and Asami kindly points the fact out to him while the two have rough sex. There’s also some sort of gun deal going on, I don’t know. It’s not really important.

While I was disappointed that the bulk of the volume was a Fei Long story, I loved the unrelated short story in the back. It’s a follow-up to one of the one shot stories in volume one. Two classmates find out that their rich and powerful fathers might be engaged in a gay relationship. The first story had the two boys follow their fathers to a nice hotel, only to engage in a rather steamy night together themselves. The second story picks up again, when one of the sons is sick and the other mentions it to his father, the father uses it as a pretext to go over to their house. The fathers get to business downstairs while the sons experiment upstairs again. There’s something about stories like this, with hilariously unlikely premises, that I love every time. Plus, the two sons relationship isn’t really romantic at the moment, they both seem to be giving in to impulses. Even funnier, the title is something along the lines of “It’s in the DNA.”

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