Ze 6

May 3, 2012

Yuki Shimizu – DMP / 801 Media – 2010 – 12 volumes

801 recently announced they’d be publishing the second half of this series. I’m going to do it. I’m a little scared, but I’m going to do it. A little fear is a healthy way to approach any 801 book, and I’ve heard… uh, scary things about the second half of this series. I hated a lot of stuff in the first half, but I really liked volumes 5-6.

The first half of this book is the second half of Ryuusei and Moriya’s story. I like the casual-yet-intense vibe of their present-day relationship, and I really enjoyed the first half of their lengthy flashback, where they lived together as roommates before their relationship developed. While this sounds only polite, the relationships in Ze are master/servant-based, and with the kami-sama existing only to… heal their masters through mucus membrane contact, the romance is mostly in the dominance, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not, mostly because normally BL takes this to a scary extreme (Genma and Himi are a good example), but if there’s no non-con, it can be fun.

Ryuusei and Moriya’s story follows a crime-ish plot here, where a young boy gets attacked when Ryuusei doesn’t walk him all the way home, and a guilty Ryuusei tries everything he can to find the killer. The solution involves Ryuusei and Moriya growing closer, kotodama, and lots of injuries. I liked Ryuusei and Moriya a lot more than the cookie-cutter characters in the other couples featured, so I was a lot more into this story than the others. And again, I really enjoyed the way their relationship developed slowly, and that the two seem to respect each others boundaries. There’s no non-con, and the master-servant dynamic is handled strangely in their case. It really was good.

The second half of the book is short chapters about the other couples in the series. Raizou and Kon, mostly, but there’s also a Konoe and Kotoha story. The problem with these stories… hm. My taste runs to older couples, which Ryuusei and Moriya are, so it was hard to switch back to the younger ones. Especially Konoe and Kotoha. I like that couple, in theory, since the kami-sama is the one in power in that relationship. I think. But damn is Kotoha drawn to look young. I don’t think he actually is, I think he’s in his early 20s. Extra creep points since Konoe is drawn to look like a slightly scruffy 20-year-old… but technically isn’t, since he isn’t actually a real person? I don’t know? You see some of my problems with this series. I’d like to not have to think about it, but again, Kotoha and Kon are both drawn… yeah. But other than that, they’re cute short stories, heavy on the smut and light on some of the creepier things in this series, character designs aside.

Again, I’m a little shocked I liked the Ryuusei/Moriya story as much as I did. Dark, melancholy, reluctant, no non-con, older couple… all the stuff for me is in there. I’m… hoping some of the couples introduced in the second half of the series are like this. Maybe this is a trend. I’m going to tell myself that.

3 Responses to “Ze 6”

  1. Keep telling yourself that; I hope it’s true . . . I would like to think nothing can get as bad as Genma and Himi, and I hope there will be other stories more like Ryuusei and Moriya, but I suspect Waki’s story will be pretty bad, and Kotoha’s would have to be amazingly terrible for him to have turned out the way he did . . .

    I find myself wondering if this is a general trend in long-form yaoi series: one couple can’t carry a long series, so you end up with a few couples in parallel (Junjo Romantica, Kizuna, Embracing Love to some degree) or a series of vaguely related couples (Love Mode and this series). I wonder why this is when so many shoujo series seem to be able to maintain a single main couple through a long run.

    Or maybe it’s a particular type of long yaoi series where the writer is trying to appeal to multiple audience preferences and there are other series that haven’t made it over where there’s one main couple (and other secondary characters). I think I might prefer the latter because my problem with these multi-couple “series” like ZE where the baton is passed from one couple to the next is that often the majority of the “romances” aren’t even vaguely appealing to me. ZE is definitely following that trend for me . . .

  2. Connie Says:

    I’d have to agree with you. I just read Yebisu Celebrities, which follows the same pattern, and Love Pistols too. It’s strange, I never thought about that as a type of story until you brought it up just now. You’re right, though. I’m not sure what it is about these, but I usually have one couple that I like a lot, and I just can’t get into the rest, or they’re downright creepy like Ze. It’s interesting that they’d try to appeal to multiple audiences when the majority of other BL books I’ve read are so much about focusing on a couple of characteristics that only appeals to certain tastes. I wonder if rotating couples helps keep the longer series fresh in the anthology magazines, where the one-volume series is king. But the demographics can’t be that different, there has to be readers that would enjoy a BL book in the style of a shoujo or josei manga. Then again, I think josei may have a lot of one-shots and short series, too. There must be a reason.

    It is annoying, though. I would wonder if the short length and varied couples in long series has to do with the sex, which happens quickly in BL, as opposed to shoujo which can take its time getting the couple together. Except… that’s just not the case with something like Kizuna, or Junjou Romantica. Both of those would probably be fine (and in the case of Junjou Romantica, maybe better) without the secondary couples.

    There are a handful of longer BL series that are just romances, like Zetsuai/Bronze… and they work. And there are a few classic series. I’m not quite sure why there aren’t more. More puzzling, almost none of these have been translated into English. I wonder if the same thing that keeps them rare in Japan prevents English-language companies from giving them a chance.

  3. I agree with you. Moriya and Ryuusei are my favorite pairing. Their part of the story has a refreshing, charming storyline.

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