March 8, 2012
Kazuma Kodaka – DMP/June – 2012 – 11 volumes
this is an omnibus containing vols 9-10
Every volume of this series makes me love it a little more, and I already liked it quite a bit. Part of my problem is that I usually skim the big omnibuses and read the Kei and Ranmaru parts first, then I read the whole thing through, then again, and then I remember how much I liked the first story in the first volume, and get that out and wind up reading the whole thing. This is how you know I’m some sort of addict.
It just keeps giving me reasons to love it, too. I’m not the biggest fan of Kai and Masa, but even I thought their story in this volume was really, really cute. Part of that is that Kai has started acting more mature, so I’m less creeped out by him and Masa now. And I’m a little predisposed to liking Masa, since I’m a sucker for such manly characters in these stories. Plus, Masa’s a genuinely good guy, so it’s hard not to like him a little bit. Their storyline here started… more or less resolved, actually, based on their reactions to one another, which I thought was a little strange given where they left off last time. But another couple is featured (a fellow classmate of Kai’s who is also a yakuza’s son, and also in love with one of the men), and Masa and Kai get closer as that story plays out, eventually ending with… well, the deed. Which was a little funny, actually, I was not expecting that.
The story focusing on a new couple (and another gay yakuza couple) was a little strange, I thought, this late in the game, but I still liked it quite a bit. It’s a good story, and the climax involves Masanori playing a mean, slightly out-of-character trick on another yakuza boss. That alone was worth the tangent.
Kai is super-fixated on sex through most of the book, and while it is a little funny when he and Masa finally hooked up, it wasn’t nearly as hilarious as the constant conversations he had with Kei and Ranmaru about it. That was never not funny, and I loved that even Ranmaru was begging him to stop by the end of the volume.
The second half of the book is about Kei and Ranmaru, and what their plans for the future are. This ties into the first half, since some advice Ranmaru gives Kai was about how he pictured himself with Masa after college. Kei and Ranmaru’s story involves some father necromancy when Ranmaru’s father steps back into the picture, a storyline about whether the couple wants to move into Ranmaru’s family house and dojo, and the question of their relationship and how the people around them perceive it.
It’s that last point that has more or less cemented Kizuna as one of my permanent favorites. BL books so rarely deal with the question of sexuality, it’s always interesting to me when it comes up. The reactions to the news are a little too happily-ever-after to be believable, but there’s still lots of good stuff here. Kei and Ranmaru’s worries are quite realistic, and the way the topic comes up with various family members is also pretty believable. Even the fact that everyone is okay with it… while it is unlike Kizuna to dodge a drama bullet, it’s hard to say that the acceptance doesn’t make sense in the context of the story and characters. I mean… they’ve been together for years at this point, so it’s not like it could be that shocking to anyone close to them.
Plus, I’m never disappointed with a story that has Kei and Ranmaru in it. They’re one of the most couple-y and believable pairs in any of the BL books I’ve read, which is strange considering all the dramatic storylines that make up the series. They read like two normal people despite the Zetsuai-like car crash that “permanently” paralyzes Ranmaru at the beginning, the acquaintance rape storyline, the yakuza ties, and the fact that Kei is tortured and shot at one point. Part of this is probably because they don’t really fall into the stereotypical seme/uke personality types. It may just be because Kizuna predates those modern BL types, but I do like just how much power Ranmaru wields over the needier Kei, who seems to have the ability to charm the pants off anybody but Ranmaru. That Ranmaru can stoically punch him in the face when he tries to pour on the charm is an endless source of amusement to me.
I was expecting this volume five omnibus to be the last, but apparently the last volume of the series is being released as its own book sometime soon. There’s no release date set, but I literally cannot wait. I don’t even think it will be that exciting (I’m pretty sure it’s probably just going to be about Kei coming out of the closet to his father, and setting up what the two of them will do with the rest of their lives… probably run the Samejima dojo together), but I still am dying to read it.