November 15, 2015
Shiuko Kano – DMP/801 Media – 2007 – 1 volume
This is from the depths of my read-but-not-reviewed pile. I’ve been fiending for good BL one-shots lately. This was not it, unfortunately, though I did like that it contained adult couples.
Affair contains four short stories. The first is about two young men who met on their high school baseball team, but haven’t seen each other in several years. One is a surly playboy, formerly a star pitcher who had a shot at being a professional player until he got a girl pregnant and quit school. The other is a fairly average guy. The playboy begins to mooch off the average guy when they meet on the street one day, though everything the playboy does is pretty aggravating. He steals food, he doesn’t appear to contribute anything, and he seems to constantly make Mr. Average feel terrible. They aren’t even really a couple, as Playboy is still seeing a number of women. Mr. Average and Playboy had some trysts in high school, but ultimately Playboy had more of them. He also didn’t really take practice or anything else about baseball seriously, and admits in the present he likes Mr. Average because he looks after Playboy like a mother. Eventually this all works out, of course, and there’s reasons for what Playboy does (?) but this relationship wasn’t very functional, and I didn’t enjoy it. The only amusing twist was that Mr. Average is the seme in the end.
The next story had a similarly abusive couple, and an incestuous one to boot. The Spoiled Son of a mob boss treats his half-brother terribly. Noble Son does everything for him, including self-mutilation, to save the spoiled son from terrible retribution at the hands of a rival family. Spoiled Son also, inexplicably, asks Noble Son for sexual favors, and seems to enjoy analyzing the performance, rather than actually getting off on it. Spoiled Son begins sleeping around with some sleazeballs to get back at Noble Son and others in the family, which causes this big story about Noble Son and Spoiled Son to come out that humbles Spoiled Son and makes Noble Son look even more noble. I didn’t like this one at all. Once again, the characters weren’t likable, the relationship was dysfunctional, and… you know, incest.
The third story was better, though shorter. A man with all the luck in the world accidentally wins at company mahjong, which gets him fired. The man who asked him to play covers for him and begs the punishment in his place, but Mr. Lucky says he can pay him back by letting him crash at his place while he finds another job. Mr. Lucky treats self-proclaimed Mr. Unlucky very well. There’s more mahjong, they hook up, it’s all very cute. Most importantly, they are decent people that treat each other well.
The last couple is in college, and one is the driving instructor for the other (I don’t know how this works in Japan). They hook up after complications. I didn’t like it quite as well as the mahjong story, but it was cute.
Hmm… there are a few other Shiuko Kano books in English. I tried the first volume of Punch Up! and it wasn’t my thing. Apparently Play Boy Blues is good, but it was published by the long-dead Be Beautiful. I also seriously considered Kiss All the Boys by Deux some time ago, but I think there was an age thing that creeped me out a little. But… they sound good, and I’d probably try her again (maybe the rest of Punch Up!?). I always like older couples, but this just wasn’t for me.