Castle Mango 1
August 28, 2012
Narise Konohara / Muku Ogura – DMP/June – 2012 – 2 volumes
You know, I’ve never been to a convention before, but part of me has always wondered what Yaoi-Con must be like. The 2012 convention is coming up in October, and I just realized I won’t be able to go again this year, but it sounds like it’ll be a fun time. Jo Chen will be there, and I love her work (I only realized right before I read it that In These Words was illustrated by her). Check it out, if you are so inclined.
Despite the fact that the Cold trilogy gave me the creeps, About Love was so good that I will continue to pick up everything by Narise Konohara, and I’m happy to have the chance. Castle Mango is, happily, another endeavor exactly like About Love. It’s slow-paced and sensitive, and very, very romantic. About Love is probably the better book, but Castle Mango is still pretty awesome.
There’s a lot of novelty in the premise, to be sure. Shiro lives and works at a love hotel that his family has built and taken care of for years. It’s a luxury endeavor with elaborately themed rooms, and when the story opens, there’s a film crew shooting a pornographic video in one.
The story is mostly about Shiro and Togame, the director of the films that are shot at Castle Mango. The films are straight porn, but Togame himself is gay. He does something to offend Shiro the first time they meet, so they initially hate each other. But Togame gets along well with Shiro’s younger brother, which Shiro doesn’t like. In an attempt to keep him away, Shiro tricks him into thinking that they’ve slept together, so Togame does the honorable thing and begins to date him.
And it goes from there. Shiro isn’t gay, and Togame isn’t really the amorous type. The relationship is horribly awkward initially, and the story captures it perfectly. Shiro wants Togame away from his little brother because he views all homosexuals as predators, so it was interesting to see his attitude soften as he got to know Togame. Even better is the fact that Togame is so low-key about the relationship. He doesn’t touch or even try any physical affection towards Shiro, knowing that Shiro wouldn’t like it. Shiro is the one that initiates anything like that, and they only barely get to kissing by the end of this volume.
There should be one more volume of this… I don’t see it scheduled yet, but hopefully June will release it soon! There’s still some backstory for Togame. Interestingly, it seems like Togame figures out Shiro’s ploy to keep him away from Shiro’s younger brother, but isn’t that bothered by it. It’s interesting, too, that there won’t be any drama surrounding that. But I’ll be looking forward to seeing how things play out between the two. It really is refreshing to see such a slow, thoughtful romance as this in BL. It’s not the absolute best, but it’s still pretty great.