Reviews written by MHnA
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An Unconventional Title
I wasn't all that avid a fan of Bara (I love the genre, just not the manga-kas who do it), and in the Bara manga world there are two things that reign supreme: tacky sex scenes and bad bromance. And, then I notice this manga and take a look into it.
It was, perhaps, the best decision I could make.
This story is between a coach and a former high-school student. Coach Kusakabe has recently lost his job, and his lover and has run out with nothing but the clothes on his back. His former student, Hanamura encounters him on the street and what starts as an unseemingly coincidental encounter turns out to be much, much more. Hanamura was part of the volleyball team that Kusakabe once coached, but it always baffled the older man (aside from Hanamura's poor skills) why the boy always stayed.
It's revealed to us down the road that Hanamura had feelings for his coach, and stuck with the game up until graduation to make his feelings realized. The two men bond while Hanamura brings Kusakabe food to eat, and eventually a place to shower and clean his clothes. Kusakabe falls for Hanamura, and finds out he liked him all along.
Overall, I found this to be the unconventional manga in the bunch, as it still held some YAOI-properties, while exploring openly into bara themes. It's good for people who don't quite like bara, but enjoy the real-man scheme. The anatomy was exceptional, and Uchida paid attention to even minor details. The plot could've used a bit more description, as we don't really see how Hanamura's interaction with his coach changed him, or what struggles he had to deal with liking a man like him for so long. But, it was a good read, and I recommend to others to read Uchida-sensei's works!
A Desperate Tale of Love
If there was any title I'd suggest more, it would be this one. Zetsuai (along with Bronze) are perhaps one of my most favorite Shonen-Ai/YAOI titles ever. Here we have Nanjo Koji, a mega rockstar, and Takuto Izumi, a soccer powerhouse. In this OVA, Izumi's point of view of Koji is explored. I admit, once I first saw this, I fell in love twice as hard for the story. Izumi has gone away to Italy to further his soccer career without telling Koji of it. Koji finds this unacceptable, figuring that this would sever the already unsteady relationship they have together. He gets into an accident that renders his voice useless. With Koji in a coma, Izumi is forced to struggle on what steps to take on next to either bring the relationship to a close, or keep on going. Overall this story was the epitome of what desperate love truly is. It's a must-watch for those who are suckers (like me) for romance.
Bridges The Gap
This anime was perhaps one of the first ones added in my collection. Mochizuki, the main character, is presented an ideal by his boss in whom he admires greatly. Honma, Mochizuki's sauve employer, tells him that in order to make it in the business world, he would have to put aside his scruples and "climb" the ladder by sleeping with him. Of course this is sexual harassment! But, Mochizuki is quite obedient to Honma (and has come to like him, as far as admiration goes) and would do anything to get there. He's well aware of his place in the business world, and decides to step up. Complications arise when other businessmen decide to have a piece of Mochizuki, too! If you're into BDSM, then this title may be the thing for you. Graphic-wise (sex) it's very tame, but is quite suggestive, so everyone wins.
A YAOI Title Worth The Watch
I've read the books along with watching the anime OVAs. They differ and vary in many aspects, but one thing is certain: Ai no Kusabi is one of the best yaoi-titles in the business. It's no wonder it's survived in the YAOI community for so long. The story is intriguing, and seeks out the relationship between a Blondie elite and a mongrel from the slums. This story conveys that two worlds, no matter how different, can co-exist with each other. Riki is a fiery young man who has caught the attention of Iason Mink, who perhaps seems cold and distant. He is, but Riki succeeds in riling the Blondie in every way possible. The only thing I wished would have happened was sticking to the plot, as Riki and Iason had more than just passionate moments. Iason's mentality was not fully explored, nor was Riki's relationship with his good friend Guy, but either way this was rather interesting to the very end. It's a must-watch.
Top 50 Reviewer
Worthy of Its Title
Although Season One had come to an end, Season 2 had done us a service by picking up where it was left off. Misaki and Usami's relationship is brought further into depth, something a lot YAOI OVAs (and even anime series) do not do. I've read the manga front to back, but watching it was quite an experience. And what's more is that Misaki and Usami's relationship was plausible. And the drama between his family and his picking Misaki to be his lover was a very interesting plot. In this season also we find that Nowaki is growing on his own, and being a bit more independent-minded, while Hiroki suddenly feels the tables have turned as he is being "left behind". Shinobu and Miyagi haven't quite pushed forward, but Miyagi finally takes the steps needed to further his relationship with Shinobu. What's more is crisp graphics and a great soundtrack to the show!
Overall, this is a must-see romance. I am a big fan, and I'm sure anyone who watches will come to enjoy it, too.
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