Saki Aida / Yugi Yamada – DMP / Digital Manga Guild – 2011 – 1 volume

This was, I think, one of the first of the DMG titles on eManga. I read it some time ago as a matter of necessity. I loved Yugi Yamada’s Spring Fever (and, as it turns out, most of her other titles, too), and I really enjoyed the S novels by Saki Aida. So this was a winning combination for me.

It’s sort of a yakuza story, but not really, in the same way Faraway Places wasn’t really yakuza BL. Kyousuke is former yakuza, and the dramatic ending is yakuza-flavored, but otherwise it doesn’t really have much to do with gangs. The story starts in prison, where Kyousuke is serving out a sentence related to his former yakuza activities. There, he meets the young Shuuya, who openly offers his body to the other prisoners. Kyousuke tries to stay clear of him, thinking that he’s nothing but bad news that will wind up keeping him in prison longer. But Kyousuke can’t help himself, and he winds up getting into a fight standing up for Shuuya. Before leaving prison, Kyousuke basically makes it clear that he plans on straightening out and putting his entire criminal life behind him, including Shuuya.

Fast forward, and Kyousuke owns a bar and has completely left the yakuza. One night, he finds Shuuya on the street, beaten to a pulp after a confrontation with a jealous yakuza over a woman. Kyousuke takes Shuuya in, and… you know where things go from here.

It’s an interesting read because Kyousuke is quite remote. Part of that is because he’s holding a torch for another man (though not in any serious way), and the other part may just be that he can’t quite shake the notion that he picked up in prison about Shuuya being bad news. Either way, he’s a simple man, and he has no problem giving Shuuya the help he needs in life, but isn’t easy to sway emotionally. Shuuya is fairly open about the fact he is attracted to Kyousuke, but the latter isn’t biting. Shuuya does try to better himself after Kyousuke rejects him, and Kyousuke finds himself drawn to him more and more, but continuously rejects him until the Big Drama at the end, which involves a former prison mate and yakuza drug dealer. The romance develops slowly, and takes its time, and I always like a story that works to make me believe the characters fell in love.

It’s a fairly simple, uncomplicated story, and unfortunately it doesn’t really stand out in a crowd of BL books as it follows the rules of the genre a little too closely. Basically, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a book like this. But having said that, it’s still very good. Odds are if you’re picking this up digitally, you’re a BL fan that likes a slightly melodramatic story, and you probably won’t be disappointed with it. It definitely scratched my itch for a quick and very decent BL read.