Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Moon and the Sandals, vols. 1 & 2

by Fumi Yoshinaga

It bears repeating, Fumi Yoshinaga is possibly the greatest boys-love manga creator ever! (Previous posts here.)

This beautifully drawn series is mostly about a developing student-teacher relationship, with the student as the aggressor, and with some appeareances by the teacher's ex. The story doesn't dwell much on the questionable ethics of the relationship, but neither does it make that transgressive element the main focus of the eroticism and romance — this sort of complexity and ambiguity is characteristc of the author's work, and is often missing from other yaoi. While I quite enjoyed the first, the second volume seemed kind of sketchy and forced, but then it was nice, too, to see indications of the characters coming out at work and to parents in the later chapters of their relationship.

Truly Kindly
Lovers in the Night

by Fumi Yoshinaga

Ordered both of these through the interlibrary loan service, and it turned out Truly Kindly had to come from the Library of Congress and would have to be in-library-use only. It's a wide-ranging collection of vignettes with different characters, with some nice sexy bits and also thoughtful exploration of many aspects of relationships between men. It includes different historical periods and cultures, interracial dating, coming out later in life after being married, relationship violence, and more. Very, very good all around.

Lovers in the Night expands the story of Claude and Antoine, a master and servant tale set in 18th century France and introduced in Truly Kindly. Over all I liked it less, found the characters less sympathetic and the story more trite. On the other hand, how much can one complain about a book in which, on the second page, a character narrates, "After he ejaculated in my mouth, he brought me to the mansion of an aristocrat"?

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