Embracing Love Omnibus 1

November 9, 2014

Youka Nitta – SuBLime – 2013 – 7 volumes

I was surprised to see this!  I didn’t think the Japanese publisher would ever agree to another edition after all the negative publicity about Nitta’s artwork.  I guess the compromise was the removal of the chapter splash page illustrations.  They’re beautiful, but I’d rather have the whole thing.

This is coming out very slowly, and unfortunately, I’ve already read these two volumes from Be Beautiful, so there wasn’t anything new here for me.  That’s okay, because this story is still utterly addictive.  Two adult film actors audition opposite each other for the lead role in a gay art film.  The winner is Iwaki, the older and more experienced of the two, and he winds up playing the submissive to the story’s writer, who turns out to be a gay man who prefers dressing like a woman.  The relationship between Iwaki and Katou doesn’t stop there though, as Katou is cast as the star in the drama version of the popular movie, called Embracing Love.  Katou, the younger and up-and-coming actor, creates controversy when he begins to blatantly lie about a relationship between himself and Iwaki in order to stir up media coverage for their drama.  Sullen, reluctant Iwaki is only having sex with Katou to punish him at first, but the two slowly fall in love.  The deep, passionate kind of love that you only see in the likes of Kizuna and this series.  Except this series is way more depressing and dramatic than Kizuna ever dreamed of being.  Which is saying something, because Kizuna is pretty damn depressing and dramatic most of the time.

Lots of short stories in these first couple volumes here.  Lots of “should we, shouldn’t we” indecisions between Iwaki and Katou, mostly from Iwaki, who feels like he’s mostly being drug along for a ride by Katou.  He loves him passionately after the first couple stories though, and Katou reveals that he’s always had a crush on Iwaki.  Stories about fans with crushes on Katou, trysts at work, bad publicity between the two, and family troubles fill up the volume.

Embracing Love does some clever things initially.  I loved that the main characters were porn stars, as that’s just not something you see very often.  That theme is dropped after the first couple chapters.  Well, mostly.  It’s used as a depression crutch, mostly for Iwaki, who often stresses that he will never be taken seriously as an actor because of his background, that his family disowned him because of his adult career, blah blah blah.  It’s also implied that, because they’re both sex experts, that the dominant and submissive roles are interchangeable in their relationship.  Sadly, this goes out the window after the second chapter, since Iwaki is the unsure one and is mostly submissive.  I hope it comes back later, though.

I’m not giving this series a very flattering description, but if you’re a BL fan, you can tell that this has all the good stuff in it.  Believe me when I say you want those depressing crutches.  You want unsure will-they-won’t-they characters if they are very good.  And believe me, Iwaki and Katou are very, very good together in their torrid, sudden relationship (the only part that bothered me was how quickly they hooked up).  You want the thousand bad things happening to them in every chapter, because that’s what makes an AWESOME boy’s love series.

If Kizuna was your thing, please do yourself a favor and pick this up.  It’s really one of the best.  I suspect many won’t be fans of the older art style (and, sadly, the older characters, which is the only type of BL I read for the most part anymore), but there are many of us that were waiting patiently for years and expecting this never to come out.  I am SO HAPPY you have no idea.  Volumes 3-4 come out in March, and I am so ready for them.

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